B’nai Amoona honors impactful synagogue members

By Eric Berger, Associate Editor

On March 20, the Congregation B’nai Amoona Men’s Club will honor four people who are making a positive difference at the Conservative synagogue and in the wider community. 

The congregation will recognize winners of the Man of the Year, Youth of the Year and Medallion awards during its Men’s Club Shabbat service streaming online.

Mark Givarz will receive the Man of the Year award. Givarz served as president of the Men’s Club in 2007 and has led many club events, including its annual Chanukah dinner, according to the synagogue. He has also been an advocate for the club in the B’nai Amoona community. 

Givarz serves as an active floor gabbai (a person who assists in running the services) for Shabbat and the High Holidays.


After serving as club president, Givarz joined the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs Midwest Region Executive Board, where he led numerous committees and was chairman of the Midwest Region Retreat in 2012. In 2017, he became the region president. 

For the men’s club federation, Givarz served as the Program Fair chair at the its 2015 convention in Miami Beach and has been a long serving member of the Hearing Men’s Voices Committee. In 2019, Givarz became the secretary of the federation’s executive committee and has just completed his role as the co-chair of the federation’s annual Leadership Development Institute, which was held virtually in January 2021. Givarz will become the chair of the event in January 2022.

Leetal Cohn, a senior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, will receive the Youth of the Year award. 

Cohn has been involved in many different activities and organizations including serving for two years as captain of the Ladue Sparkle Effect, a cheer and dance team for students with and without disabilities that promotes friendship, inclusion, and spirit. 

Cohn has also been a captain of a Special Olympics team. She is an alum of Cultural Leadership youth development program and continues to be involved in social justice work, facilitating dialogue, and fighting anti-Semitism in St. Louis and elsewhere. 

Cohn is also a group leader in Jewish Community Relations Council’s Student to Student program, where Jewish students teach other high schoolers about Judaism. 

During the summer, Cohn has attended Herzl Camp for many years, where she has read Torah and led services, and she will be returning as a staff member this summer. 

Cohn has also read from the Megillah at B’nai Amoona and is involved in the Shomrei Amoonim volunteer program with her family. 

The Medallion Award winners are Madeleine Ryan and Charlie Rosenzweig.

Ryan is a senior at Parkway North High School, where she is captain of both the girls cross country and track team. Ryan is also the secretary and treasurer of the National Honors Society and a peer teacher in the Safe and Drug Free Program. 

Ryan attended the Meyer Kranzberg Learning Center from second to tenth grade and enjoyed helping as a madrichah(teen assistant) for each year of high school. 

Ryan is now also part of the Student to Student program. 

Rosenzweig is a senior at Parkway Central High School and a member of the varsity cross country and track teams. 

Rosenzweig is actively involved in National Honors Society, serving as chapter treasurer, and in Future Business Leaders of America, where he has competed at the at regional, state and national competitions. Rosenzweig also participated in Cultural Leadership program and served as a math tutor to students in algebra and geometry. 

At B’nai Amoona, Rosenzweig reads Torah and has been a member of the Yad Squad, a Torah reading program, since eighth grade. He is also a madrichat the Meyer Kranzberg Learning Center and will be on staff at Camp Ramot Amoona this summer.