Block Yeshiva will honor Makovsky

BY KEREN DOUEK, STAFF WRITER

Don Makovsky, who has been involved in education for 52 years in positions ranging from teaching high school students to principal of a Sunday school and citywide Hebrew High School to running a bureau of Jewish education and finally as the executive director of Block Yeshiva High School for 25 years, will be honored at the Block Yeshiva High School 28th Annual Scholarship Dinner.

“Don Makovsky is a person who I think is as important as the St. Louis Arch,” said Rabbi Gabriel Munk, principal of Block. “He has been a part of everything that has gone on in the last 30 years in St. Louis, and he is the most prestigious educator.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The J


Originally from St. Louis, Makovsky was actually working in Kansas City when he got a call asking him to come work as the executive director for Block, and he says he was glad to move back to his hometown.

“People used to say when I am davening I’m not facing east to Jerusalem, I’m facing east to St. Louis,” Makovsky jokes.

Makovsky said since he has been with the school he has seen it double in size and secure “a very fine academic reputation.”

“We usually get about 30 to 33 percent of our students going to the top colleges in the U.S. every year,” he said. “Kids are going to yeshiva, and many are going a lot longer. The school has a strong Zionist bent.”

What is really unique about the school, according to Makovsky, is that it takes both Jewish and secular subjects as equally important, which he attributes to a “fine faculty in the school, both Judaically and in secular subjects.”

“They have very good teachers, and I think if you do that you have a lot of your problems licked,” he said. One obstacle Makovsky feels complicates this issue in the education field is that education does not tend to pay what other professions pay.

“You would see there are more people that would go into education, but because of the financial problems and competitive salaries you don’t see this happen. I think that the teachers who really give up their life to teach are performing a valuable service, more than people might realize, not only for them but for their families and for others. I think more people would enter if ending salaries were the beginning salaries. I personally think it is a wonderful profession; I couldn’t think of a better one, and there are many wonderful professions around.”

Makovsky is also the athletic director at Block, and says that has always been one of his hobbies. He said 71.5 percent of kids at Block voluntarily participate in a varsity sport of their choice.

At the dinner on Sunday, March 26 — which will take place at the Coronado Ballroom with a reception at 5:30 and dinner at 6 p.m. — Harvey Harris, who has spent years of leadership in the business and professional world and in the Jewish community, including a term as president of the Jewish Federation board, will be presented with the Israel and Yetra Goldberg Community Service Award, and David Makovsky, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and son of Don Makovsky, will speak about Israel and the Palestinians Between Two Elections.

For more information on the dinner contact Jeff Miller at 314-872-8701.

Keren Douek is a staff writer and can be reached at [email protected]

Sign up for Your Morning Light