BSKI to honor Rabbi Skoff; Yo-Yo Ma at SLSO

About nine weeks ago, two Creve Coeur Paramedics whisked me from my home to the closest hospital, which was St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. In the emergency room I was diagnosed with a massive heart attack and, I am told, there was some doubt about my survival. Post haste I was moved to nearby St. John’s Mercy Heart Hospital where I had the great good fortune to be cared for by a tremendous staff of cardiologists, nephrologists, internists and nurses. I credit Dr. George Kichura, my chief cardiologist, with championing my recovery, both physically and psychologically.

For 20 days I was in the ICU, surrounded by my family, who never left me alone. My daughters Leslie and Lisa were at my side night and day, and since my toy poodle is a certified therapy dog, my family brought Lili, who spent many hours snuggled up to me on the bed. Lili became the pet of the hospital, occasionally visiting patients on several floors and playing with the doctors and nurses as she kept her eye on all the equipment above my bed.

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So now I am well, discharged by Dr. Kichura who tells me that there is nothing I cannot do. This is my initial attempt at writing a column and I wonder if the brain still works well enough to communicate with you. First, let me thank you for the hundreds of get-well cards and good wishes. I was both awed and touched by the response to my illness. What good friends you are in addition to being faithful readers.

GOOD NEWS -BAD NEWS! The Symphony Gala on Saturday, Oct. 24 is sold out but some standing room tickets are still available. The Gala, chaired by the incomparable Noemi Neidorff, sounds wonderful with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist to be followed by a glamorous dinner at the Coronado Ballroom. But think of the money you’ll save. SRO tickets for the 7 p.m. concert in Powell Symphony Hall are $50 each and 60 have been put aside by the box office. To purchase yours, call 314-534-1700.

RABBI BENSON SKOFF will celebrate his 50 years as rabbi and rabbi emeritus at Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel (BSKI) congregation on Saturday, Oct. 31 at the synagogue, 1107 East Linden. “This is a very special occasion and we are hoping that a lot of people from the community as well as our members will attend,” said Naomi Mazur Silvermintz. The daughter of the late Rabbi Jacob R. Mazur who was succeeded at BSKI by Rabbi Skoff, she will introduce the honoree. There will be a special Shabbat service in the morning to be followed by a Kiddush luncheon, both free and open to the public. Reservations must be made for the luncheon by calling 314-725-6230.

During his 50 years in St. Louis at BSKI Rabbi Skoff has officiated at thousands of weddings, and bar/bat mitzvahs, funerals and countless other events. Much loved by his congregation, the rabbi has also been involved in the community and has become known nationally and internationally for his expertise and wisdom regarding church-state relations. The community also knows him as the host of KMOV-TV/Channel 4’s weekly Sunday morning program, Confluence, and for his leadership in the Jewish and interfaith communities.

MEMORIES AND MELODIES Thursday, Nov. 19 is a fundraiser for Memory Care Home Solutions, a not-for-profit organization that exists to extend and improve quality time at home for families caring for a loved one with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Just as the diagnosis of these memory losses has grown, so has “Memories and Melodies,” now in its third year. I recall when Lisa Baron, Executive Director of Memory Care, called and asked me to include the information about a small, informal fundraiser for her organization. That was three years ago, and now 2009’s event is a full-blown wing ding honoring Dr. William A. Peck and chaired by Donna Wilkinson, the mastermind of fundraisers.

“Memories and Melodies” begins at 6 p.m. in the Starlight Room at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Unlike its predecessors, this will be a full sit-down evening with dinner, music and a live auction. Those of you familiar with the honoree, Bill Peck, know about his love of music and his ability as a pianist. Dr. Peck is Director of the Washington University Center for Health Policy and former Dean of the Washington University School of Medicine. He will be honored with Memory Care’s first Community Service Award. Tickets and sponsorships are available, beginning at $175 per person. To reserve your place call Binita Wright at 314-654-6247 or email [email protected]