'Women's Minyan' set for NJT stage

The third production in the New Jewish Theatre’s 10th Anniversary Season, Naomi Ragen’s Women’s Minyan, addresses some very sensitive issues within the ultra-Orthodox community. Ragen is a well-known American- born Israeli novelist and a popular guest at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival. This is her first play.

In it, Ragen turns her clear, compassionate gaze on some of the troubling issues in the ultra-Orthodox community while at the same time showing us the deep spiritual connection her characters have to their religion and to each other. Based on a true story, Ragen’s play, set in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Me’ah She’arim, is an attempt to convey to the outside world the truth, beauty, and conflict of that society. Women’s Minyan is the longest-running play ever to be presented at the Habimah Theatre of Tel Aviv. It premiered in Israel in 2002 and is still running. This is its second American production. The production runs Mar. 14 – April 1 with performances on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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Season and individual tickets are available by calling the box office at 314-442-3283 or in the Cultural Arts office of the JCC. Tickets are $18 – $25 for the production. For more information go to

Nishmah set to hold Passover celebration this month

Nishmah, the St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project, will hold its second annual Passover celebration on Mar. 25 at the Crowne Plaza in Clayton. “Join the Journey…A Nishmah Passover” will begin at 3 p.m. with a marketplace where kosher gourmet appetizers will be served. The program will start at 5 p.m. and conclude before 8 p.m. Mediterranean salads and desserts will be served during the program. The music of Yachad — the Traveling Tefillah Band — will be part of the event. The cost is $50 per person which includes a copy of the Nishmah Passover Journey Guidebook. Scholarships are available upon request. For more information call Ronit Sherwin at Nishmah at 314-862-2777.

Rabbi Naomi Levy will visit Shaare Emeth this month

Rabbi Naomi Levy will visit Congregation Shaare Emeth Mar. 16-18. Rabbi Levy is the founder and spiritual leader of Nashuva, a Jewish outreach organization in Los Angeles. Through Nashuva, she has been involved in drawing hundreds of disaffected Jews back to Judaism. The only charge for the weekend is an optional Shabbat dinner on Friday evening ($15 per adult; $8 per child 2 and older) and for the optional lunch on Saturday ($8). Please call the Temple at 314-569-0010 by Mar. 14 for meal reservations. launches Passover resource section

The St. Louis Jewish community website,, has launched a 2007 Passover Section to help the St. Louis community celebrate the Passover holiday (April 2 – April 10). The website has also stocked its (Kosher for Passover) e-Kitchen with recipes and information for the holiday.

‘Mini-Seder’ set for Mar. 19

Jewish Family & Children’s Service WINGS Program and Shaare Emeth Congregation, invite you to a Pre-Passover “Mini-Seder” on Monday, Mar. 19, at 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Shaare Emeth Congregation. Rabbi Anne Belford will lead an interactive Passover journey. There will be holiday foods and gifts for all. The cost is $4 per person or $7 per family. If this is a participant’s first WINGS event, they may attend free. Luncheon is catered by Reservations Kosher Catering. To register or for more information, please contact Sara Bromberg, WINGS Coordinator at 314-812-9366.

UH schedules seniors event

The next program for the United Hebrew Monday Seniors Group will be held on Monday, Mar. 26, at noon in the Jablon Youth Lounge. The featured entertainer will be guitarist Jan Marra. Prior to the program, participants will enjoy catering by Billy Sherman’s Deli. The cost to participate is $7.50 per person. To make reservations, send a check made payable to United Hebrew to Ken Schwartz by Wednesday, March 21. Call Ione at 314-434-5645.

Sharf to speak at university

Dr. Geula Sharf, Coordinator and Manager of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, Hadassah College Jerusalem, will be speaking at Saint Louis University on Monday, Mar. 19 at 5:30 p.m., discussing how Hadassah College Jerusalem educates its students in the field of environmental science.

She will also address how environmental practices impact business practices in Israel and how Hadassah College Jerusalem is partnering with the Israeli Government to ensure sound protocols are being taught to students who will be going on to participate in the implementation of environmental safeguards and standards. Dr. Sharf is a graduate of Technion with degrees in Chemistry and Education.

She has her masters and PhD degrees from the Graduate School of Applied Science and Technology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She worked as an atmospheric chemistry scientist for the Israel Union for Environmental Defense and as Head of the Air Quality Division in the Israel Ministry of Environment.

The program is co-sponsored by the JCRC Israel Business and Technology Committee (IBTEC), St. Louis University School of Public Health, and St. Louis Chapter Hadassah The event is open to the St. Louis community.

“We are pleased to be able to help bring the Israeli perspective on this important topic to the St. Louis community,” said Teree Farbstein, St. Louis Chapter Hadassah president.

The program will be held at St. Louis University in the Anheuser-Busch Institute, 1755 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63104 in the Third Floor Auditorium.

Free parking is available on Shaw Road, in the parking lot of the building which is one block south of I-44 on Grand. Take the elevator to the first floor reception area. There will be an informal reception at 5 p.m. preceding the program.

For questions or to register for the program, please call 314-991-0434.

Naomi Levy to visit temple

“Life Under Construction — Healing, Prayer and Wholeness” will be the weekend’s topic when Rabbi Naomi Levy visits Congregation Shaare Emeth Mar. 16-18. Rabbi Levy is the founder and spiritual leader of Nashuva, a Jewish outreach organization in Los Angeles. She is the author of To Begin Again (Knopf), and Talking to God, (Knopf). On Friday, Mar.16 at 5:15 p.m. – there will be an hor d’oerve nosh to welcome Shabbat followed by worship at 6 p.m. and Rabbi Levy’s D’var Torah. At 7:15 p.m., there will be a Shabbat dinner by reservation only followed by Levy’s talk “Life Under Construction” at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Mar. 17 at 9 a.m., there will be breakfast followed by a text study session with morning worship at 10:45 a.m. and a reservation-only lunch at noon. Rabbi Levy will speak on “Talking to God: How Prayer Can Heal Our Body and Soul” at 12:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Mar. 18, breakfast will be at 9 a.m. followed by Levy’s talk on “Spiritual Parenting and Grandparenting: Discovering Our Own Spiritual Strength as We Mentor Our Children.” Please call the temple at 314-569-0010 for meal reservations.

‘Songs From the Camps’ set to be presented

Congregation Shaare Emeth, in conjunction with the Chancel Choir of the First United Methodist Church, Webster Groves will present “Songs from the Camps” on Mar. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Stiffman Sanctuary at Shaare Emeth. The concert is free and open to the public. The featured wok in this concert, Holocaust Cantata, is based on writings of survivors and combines music with powerful prose. Written by prisoners while incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps, the songs and readings that make up the Cantata are now a part of the United States Holocaust Memorial archives. The words and music offer a haunting and emotionally-charged glimpse into the lives of those who sang them.

Cantor Seth Warner of Congregation Shaare Emeth will be a featured soloist. Poet Maria Szapszewicz, a Holocaust survivor will read and be available to sign her book, For the People I Love and Can’t Forget. Local clergy will participate in the readings, making the experience ecumenical. Rev. John Musgrade, Church of the Good Shepherd, Rabbi Jim Bennett, Congregation Shaare Emeth, Rev. Deter Heinzl, Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church, Mauri Peaco, Parkway United Church of Christ, Rev. Hari Smith, American Baptist, Retired, Monsignor Dennis Doerhoff, St. Monica’s Catholic Church, and the Rev. Carl Schenck, Manchester United Methodist Church are all part of the program.

Call 314-569-0010 for more information.

Hadassah program helps detect cancer

Hadassah’s CHECK IT OUT ® program for testicular health education premiered with instant success in the fall of 2006. The program, which is filling an important void in the health education of the St. Louis community, has been repeatedly requested by high school teachers who use the CHECK IT OUT ® breast health education program as part of their classroom curriculum. Testicular cancer is the leading cause of death, after accidents, of men in the 15-35 year old age group.

The testicular education program was developed with seed money from The Enterprise Rent-a-Car Foundation. Funding for the first year’s operating costs came from a grant provided by the St. Louis Men’s Group Against Cancer. Additional resources for the program have been provided by The Lance Armstrong Foundation and The Jason Struble Foundation. Though the first year’s goal for the program was to reach 500 young men, the program has been presented to over 700 participants in just the first school semester. The numbers of program requests and participants have verified the need for this education.

The program provides an interactive session which can range from 45 to 60 minutes in length and can be tailored to the specific needs of the school or group to whom it is presented. Through a PowerPoint presentation, young men learn about testicular cancer, its risk factors and warning signs. Following the PowerPoint, a video called, Jason’s Story is shown. The young man featured in the video is Jason Strubel, a Lafayette High School student and basketball player who succumbed to testicular cancer. The video features statements from Lafayette High School and University of Missouri basketball coaches about the importance of self-exam and early detection. At the end of the video there is a segment on the proper technique of testicular self-exam. Life-size testicular molds with lumps in them are used to practice the technique. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the maturity with which the young men have accepted the information and have been inspired by it. The video makes it very real,” says program coordinator, Susan Bosse.

Frequently a testicular cancer survivor concludes the presentation, sharing his own story and answering questions. Participants are given bags of educational materials including testicular exam shower cards, written information and mini-testicular models with lumps in them. The students are encouraged to share their education with family members and friends.

The CHECK IT OUT ® Testicular Health Education program is available at no cost to interested schools and groups. It can be scheduled by itself or in conjunction with a CHECK IT OUT ® Breast Health Education program. The program is seeking testicular cancer survivors and male volunteers who have an interest in speaking with the young men as program presenters.

Training will be provided.

To schedule a program or volunteer as a presenter contact program coordinator, Susan Bosse, at the Hadassah office at 314-991-0434 or [email protected]

Alzheimer’s disease study seeks volunteers at SLU

Saint Louis University is recruiting volunteers for a national study to test the safety and effectiveness of a medication that may halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s unique and different in that other medications provide symptomatic benefits but this medication has the potential of impacting the disease’s actual progression,” says George Grossberg, M.D., director of the division of geriatric psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and principal investigator for the study.

The medication targets gamma secretase, the vital enzyme that changes non-toxic amyloid plaque in the brain into toxic beta amyloid plaque.

Scientists believe amyloid-beta plaque is the key culprit that causes brain cells to die and people to develop Alzheimer’s disease, Grossberg says.

Adults who are older than 55 and in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease are eligible. They may continue to take medications already prescribed to treat their Alzheimer’s disease, such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Half of the study volunteers will receive the study medication and half a placebo.

For information or to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s disease research, call 314-268-5385.