Block to hold scholarship banquet

BY MIKE SHERWIN, STAFF WRITER

Louis and Sarah Block Yeshiva High School will honor three individuals during its 29th annual scholarship banquet beginning on Sunday, April 22 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clayton.

The school will recognize guests of honor Dr. Joel and Debbie Garbow, and Robert A. Cohn, the Israel and Yetra Goldberg Community Service award recipient.

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Co-chaired by Albert and Chiffre Glassman and Sorelle Parker, the event will begin with a reception at 5 p.m. and an Israeli-style dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

Rabbi Gabriel Munk, the school’s principal, said the annual event is vital to the school’s scholarship fund.

“We give about $250,000 a year in scholarships and this dinner brings in about 50 percent of that,” Munk said.

About 40 percent of the school’s 70 students (with 36 students in the girls’ school and 34 in the boys’ school) receive a substantial scholarship to attend the school, Munk said.

“We have a policy in this school that no student is ever turned down for any reason. As long as he would like to be in this school, admission is not related to his background, skills, cognitive abilities, or what kind of Jew he is, and certainly not on his financial basis,” Munk said.

The guests of honor, Dr. Joel and Debbie Garbow, live in University City with their three daughters. Dr. Garbow is a research chemist (and a nationally recognized expert in the application of magnetic resonance methods) at the Washington University School of Medicine and his wife, Debbie, teaches first-grade at the Solomon Schechter Day School of St. Louis.

Munk said the Garbows were a natural choice to be named the guests of honor, because of their service to the school over the years, and because their youngest daughter will be graduating from Block Yeshiva this year.

Munk noted that Dr. Garbow has served as president of both Block Yeshiva, and of H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy, in addition to serving on Block’s executive board for a number of years.

“He is a very big supporter of the school, its policies, its philosophy and its mission,” Munk said. “He has contributed a lot to the school and he’s a really wonderful guy. He has integrity and honesty beyond belief and a lot of respect for what we do.”

Dr. Garbow said he has found much to love at the school. “I’ve watched my daughters grow up, attending Block, and I’ve seen what it did for them,” Dr. Garbow said. “It gave them a fabulous education in both general and Judaic studies. My wife and I both wanted to give back.”

Robert A. Cohn will be recognized as the recipient of the Israel and Yetra Goldberg Community Service award. Cohn, of Clayton, worked at the St. Louis Jewish Light from 1969 to 2004 as chief editor, then editor-in-chief/publisher.

Since his retirement, Cohn has continued with the Jewish Light as editor-in-chief emeritus, writing editorials, theater and book reviews, obituaries and news articles each week.

Munk said that Cohn’s name came up often in past years’ discussions of the award.

“He has always been a supporter of the school in his writings,” Munk said. “And we felt that he has gone beyond more than most people in bridging between the different factions of this community.”

Cohn said he felt honored to accept the award, particularly from an educational institution.

“Personally, I’m very grateful because Jewish education is of critical importance to me,” he said. Cohn has taught children at Shaare Emeth since 1962, which he said is in memory of his father, Harold Cohn, who died when Robert was 15. “I used to love talking to my dad about religious topics and history,” Cohn said.

Cohn also teaches adult education classes at Shaare Emeth, in memory of his mother, Lilian DeWoskin Cohn, and he teaches at the St. Louis Jewish Community High School, CAJE, the JCC, and a course at Washington University.

Tickets, at $130 per person, are still available for the banquet. To make a reservation, call 314-872-8701 or email [email protected]