Crown Center holds annual open house

In 1967, when the National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis Section gave birth to The Delcrest, the group intended it to be no more than a safe and secure apartment building for seniors. That was it. Today, 42 years later, the Founding Mothers (of which I was one) can hardly recognize their offspring, now the Gladys and Henry Crown Center for Senior Living, a vibrant and vital home for more than 250 senior adults at 8350 Delcrest Drive. In addition to being a community center for those living in the University City neighborhood, Crown Center offers a variety of activities, amenities and Jewish programming. Residents enjoy transportation, meals, a computer center and library, health services and even a garden.

Do you sense that I kvell about Crown Center? You bet. From 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 7, I will be front and center at the Crown’s annual open house to which the community is invited. Residents are busily planting flowers, vegetables and herbs in the “backyard,” hoping to show off their gardening skills and to use the herbs in the kitchen’s food preparation. There will be a bell choir performance, a photo display called “A Day in the Life of Crown Center,” ice cream, activities for the kids, apartment tours and a resident/board/staff arts and crafts show. I am told that past president Les Borowsky has agreed to display several of his beautiful weavings.


Margie Jaffe, Marcia Pass and Fran Zambler represent the terrific triumvirate which has put together Dine out for the Cure, an absolute orgy of eating on Thursday, June 11 at over 200 local restaurants. Hosted by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a portion of the proceeds from the day at each restaurant will go towards finding the cures for breast cancer as each of the participating restaurants will donate a portion of the tab. The day of gluttony is to take place two days before the annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, an event that involves 60,000 runners who, with their friends and family, are requested to “eat and run”. Add all their meals to our lunches and dinners and the St. Louis affiliate will benefit immeasurably in its quest to fund education, screening, treatment and support programs. In addition, 25 percent of the funds will support a national research Grant program.

The list of participating restaurants is awesome and extends geographically from downtown St. Louis, west beyond Chesterfield, south past Afton and north to the North Pole. In between you may dine in Clayton, the Central West End, the Hill, Creve Coeur or wherever your taste leads you. There are the best burger joints, fine dining and seafood restaurants, cafeterias and you name it. For a complete listing of places to Dine Out for the Cure on June 11 visit

On May 5, Al Ukman was awarded the prestigious Senior Service Award by Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. Ukman, secretary of the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging Foundation, has a long history of volunteerism, starting many years ago at the Jewish Center for Aged. He chaired the Festival of Ages, a combined health/fun event co-sponsored by the JCA and Jewish Hospital. “Al Ukman is one incredible human being who wants to make a difference in the lives of other people. His volunteerism has kept many elderly people in their own homes and out of nursing homes,” said Alice Handelman, former president of Gateway Elder Services. Personally, I have a special interest in Al as we were confirmed together in the Middle Ages at Temple Israel.

At commencement on May 1, Marylen Mann, founder of OASIS and its Board Chairman, received a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. More than anyone I know, Marylen has contributed more to the intellectual well-being of literally thousands of seniors through OASIS, which she and Marjorie May created in 1982 at the old Famous-Barr in Clayton. Now a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the aging population through lifelong learning, health and civic engagement, OASIS serves more than 350,000 members age 50 and older through a network of centers in 25 U.S. cities. It is little wonder that Marylen has received many honors including the AARP Impact Award and Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University, both in 2006.

Arlen Chaleff asked me to put in a word for her team, Arlen’s Angels, which will participate in the seventh annual National Alliance on Mental Illness’s (NAMI) Walk for the Mind of America in Forest Park on this coming Saturday, May 30. Never mind Arlen’s Angels — just do it on your own by checking in at 8 a.m. at the Upper Muny parking lot. There is no walker registration fee but donations will be appreciated. Honorary Chair is SLSO’s Adam Crane, and if you read or saw The Soloist you will understand his interest in mental illness. For more information on the walk call NAMI at 314-962-4670 .

Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Stages St. Louis are back to enrich our summer season. Opening with Puccini’s beloved La Boheme and closing with a spectacular production of The Ghosts of Versailles, the season also includes Salome (translate sexy) and an early Mozart, Il Re Pastore. Add picnics on the lawn to the splendid voices, the great sets and costumes and the marvelous orchestra consisting of Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians. Before the performance you can enjoy a picnic, either brought from home or prepared there by Ces and Judy, and following the opera guests are invited to share a toast with members of the cast. To order picnics, call 314-0644 the day before your visit to Opera Theatre.

Little Shop of Horrors kicks off Stages St. Louis 2009 season at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood. This zany, black, fun-filled musical will run for 5 weeks to be followed by the big Broadway hit, The Drowsy Chaperone, Alice in Wonderland, and Guys and Dolls. Since its founding in 1987, Stages has grown and matured and has become an outstanding company for musical theater performance and education. For more information and to purchase tickets call 314-821-2407.