Challah for Hunger hits roadblock; ‘Ageless’ Jewish St. Louisans

Some months ago this newspaper ran a story about industrious Washington University students who had started a local chapter of the national group, Challah for Hunger. The group would sell challahs on campus each week to raise money for the Harvey Kornblum Food Pantry and the American Jewish World Service’s Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund.

This year, the group had to suspend its challah selling activities because of a university health regulation mandating that no item cooked in a non-commercial kitchen be sold on campus. Understandably the university, like every adult I know, is concerned about public-health risks, which have been exacerbated by the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. So far the university reports that 50 students have been infected with the swine flu.


Hannah Rabinowitz, a Wash U. sophomore who is one of the founding members of Challah for Hunger, says last year her group was able to bake in the dormitory kitchens. “But this year, because of growing health concerns, the university has tightened its policies. No groups are allowed to do bake sales of any kind” unless the products are made in a commercial kitchen, she adds.

Rabinowitz says the group is hopeful that come fall 2010, it will be able to bake in the Hillel kitchens. But that still leaves the group without a home to bake during the current school year. And that’s where you come in.

If you know of a commercial kitchen near Washington U. that the group could use to bake its challahs this year, please email: [email protected]

* The Web site Gawker posted a speech prepared by the late William Safire for President Richard Nixon in case the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the moon. Titled “William Safire’s finest speech,” the speech is addressed to H.R. Haldeman and begins “In Event of Moon Disaster.” Thankfully, the speech wasn’t necessary, as Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong returned from the moon safe and sound.

Safire served as speechwriter for Nixon before moving on to become a conservative columnist for the New York Times from 1973 to 2005. He also wrote the “On Language” series looking at the English language. He died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 27. Here’s the link:

* Recently, a friend got her first book published at the age of 70. I was thrilled not only for her, but for myself as well. I’ve always wanted to write a book and have it be published – now I figure I have nearly 20 years to complete this goal.

More important though is the notion that it’s never too late to try something new. True, we have no choice about aging, but we can choose to remain vital and challenge ourselves at any age (even though sometimes we are really, really tired).

I got to thinking about this as I read a press release naming the 2009 Class of Ageless, Remarkable St. Louisans. This is something St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors has been doing since 2003; each year, another 20 local active agers, 75 years and older, are honored at a fundraiser for their contributions to the community and beyond.

This year’s class has several Jewish honorees, each of whom deserve notice and a shout out. They are:

— Edwin and Lenore Pepper, 75 & 76, respectively, the owners of St. Louis interior design firm Edwin Pepper Interiors. After more than four decades, the pair continues to work with clients each day to provide them with design solutions for their homes. Outside work, the Peppers are actively involved with the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Forest Park Forever, the American Cancer Society and Memory Home Care Solutions.

— Dr. Egon Schwarz, 87, a native Austrian who became a career professor of German at Harvard and Washington University after escaping from Hitler’s control as a teenager. Schwarz now travels worldwide as a visiting lecturer.

— Sydell Shayer, 78, who has been a member of the League of Women Voters for more than five decades. Serving as both state president and a national board member, she’s advocated for issues such as tax policy, the death penalty and the national popular vote. When she’s not working with the League, she serves as a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Jewish Congress, and as board vice president for the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Congratulations to them and the rest of the 2009 class.

They will be honored starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1 at a black-tie gala at the Chase Park Plaza costing $150 per person. Proceeds will enable the St. Andrew’s Charitable Foundation to maintain and expand its programs, which provide supportive services to low-income and at-risk seniors in the greater St. Louis area. Tickets can be purchased directly through St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors by calling (314) 726-0111.