EVENTS Bais Abe to mark ‘Bar Mitzvah of the Century’

Bais Abraham will celebrate 113 years as an active Orthodox congregation with a “Gala Brunch” at the City Museum, 701 North 15th Street on Feb. 24, 10:30 a.m.

The “Bar Mitzvah of the Century” will honor Lyla and Dr. Ed Puro who have been pillars of Bais Abraham and the wider Jewish community for over 30 years, raising five children in the congregation and still finding time to host myriad Shabbat meals and devote their time and energy to the community and its schools and institutions. A community service award will be presented to Ronit Sherwin the innovative co-founder and Executive Director of Nishmah: The St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project, and an active member and committee chair in the Bais Abraham community.


Bais Abraham offers community programming, deep Jewish learning, and opportunities for personal spiritual growth and connection, in addition to beautiful Shabbat, holiday, and weekday services. This past year, Bais Abraham featured workshops exploring the role of the arts in Jewish thought and life, and sponsored visits by Torah scholars, Rabbi Chaim Brovender, Aviva Zornberg, and Oshra Koren. The program will include a video history of Bais Abe narrated by Jim Kirchherr of KETC-TV, Channel 9. The video will trace Bais Abraham’s history from the few families who gathered to start the synagogue in 1894 on Seventh Street between Cole and Franklin, through its growth and movement west over the next century.

The video will highlight the near closure of Bais Abraham’s doors in 1960 as the synagogue had dwindled to only 14 members, to its move west to the loop neighborhood, across from what is now the Pageant Theater and its renaissance there to a burgeoning 250 members only three years later.

A goods and services silent auction featuring hotel stays, unique Jewish art, hand crafted jewelry and lots more will open the event. A journal will be published and distributed at the gala to honor the congregation and its honorees. Those wishing to place an ad or greeting in the journal or attend the brunch can call the synagogue at 314-721-3030 or email [email protected].

The “Bar Mitzvah of the Century” is co-chaired by Phyllis Shapiro and Mindee Fredman.