Epstein Hebrew Academy plans annual scholarship banquet

H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy will celebrate its past, present and future at the school’s annual scholarship banquet Sunday, Jan 25. The event, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, will honor the memory of Merle Hartstein, z”l, celebrate the contributions of Rabbi Daniel Morris and welcome new EHA Head of School Rabbi Yaakov Green. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and appetizers, followed by a gourmet dinner, the evening’s program and the award presentations.

Hartstein will be posthumously presented with the Samuel Cherrick Community Service Award for her work supporting those in need on behalf of numerous organizations. Hartstein was recognized in 2011 as an “Unsung Hero” by the Jewish Light for her work in establishing and running the Barbara Mendelson Tomchei Shabbos Fund, which provides meals to the needy for Shabbat and Yom Tov, and the Rabbi Sholom Rivkin Maos Chitim/Tzedakah Fund, which provides kosher food and assistance for Passover. Hartstein was also a beloved special education teacher and owner of the Green Trails Book Shop, where she was known for her ability to match her customers with just the right book. A strong advocate for Jewish education, she was a longtime vocal supporter of EHA and was proud to have been among the first St. Louis families to send her children there. 

Through her many charitable efforts, Hartstein embodied the Torah concept of tikkun olam, bettering the world, selflessly committing herself to providing for others. She and her husband, Dr. Jack Hartstein, have three grown children and seven grandchildren. 

Longtime EHA teacher Rabbi Daniel Morris will be presented with the Distinguished Faculty Award. This year is his 21st teaching at the school, where he also leads the school choir and brings music and ruach to the weekly Early Childhood Shabbat assembly. Beloved inside and outside of the classroom, Morris is an outstanding teacher who leads by example and instills in each student a true love of learning and Torah. Morris has prepared dozens of students for their b’nei mitzvah and serves as a ba’al tefila at the U. City Shul. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership. Morris and his wife Malka are parents to seven children, all of whom attended or currently attend EHA.

The banquet will also be a formal opportunity to mark the installation of the school’s new Head of School, Rabbi Yaakov Green. Originally from Newton, Mass., and most recently from the Rosenblatt High School of the Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. Green holds a master’s of science degree in education. He and his wife, Elisheva, and their four children arrived in St. Louis this past August. 

Chaired by Bonnie Goldmeier and Batya Wertman, the banquet’s theme is “Stories of EHA.” The event will feature recollections of Epstein through the years and special video tributes to the honorees as the community looks to the future with excitement and optimism for the school. 

The community is invited to attend; the cost is $125 per person and RSVPs are required. All proceeds benefit the school’s scholarship fund. To learn more about Epstein or the upcoming banquet, visit eha.org or contact the school at 314-373-7534.