JAssociates to honor 2011 ‘Mitzvah Stars’

Andrew Goldfeder, Diane Maier and Jerry Ehrlich

JAssociates will honor its 2011 Mitzvah Stars with a luncheon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 19 at the Jewish Community Center Staenberg Family Complex.

This year’s Mitzvah Stars are Andrew Goldfeder, Diane Maier and Jerry Ehrlich.

Goldfeder, 27, is administrative assistant at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. The museum’s executive director, Jean Cavender, says Goldfeder has gone above and beyond in his commitment and service to the Jewish community. “When Andrew sat down for the interview, I recognized that he wasn’t looking for a job – he was looking to be deeply engaged in Jewish communal work in a non-profit setting.  He described wanting to do work that had some real meaning for him and have a positive impact on people’s lives,” she said.

Goldfeder coordinated the 2011 Jewish Federation Staff Campaign, has served on the Jewish Federation’s Young Professionals Division board and has been active with JProStl. Among other volunteer activities, Goldfeder is group leader of AZA Esperanto Chapter #2486, which conducts a variety of volunteer service projects.

Diane Maier is the immediate past president of St. Louis Chapter Hadassah.  She began her involvement with Hadassah while helping her friend, Suzy Esstman, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Maier helped Esstman start “Walk on Sunshine,” raising funds for Hadassah Hospital. Maier has served on the board of of Central Reform Congregation, where she currently serves on the Mitzvah Corp, helping with members needs during life cycle events.  She also chairs the “Caring Committee” in the Parkway schools.   Maier presently works as the JCC B’nai Brith coordinator and active adult coordinator. 

Judy Kramer, President of St. Louis Hadassah, describes Maier as the “human embodiment of tikkun olam.” “There is not a person, from whom she comes away, that she does not claim as a friend; and she will do whatever it takes to make sure that person is well-connected and aware of whatever is out there to make the world happier and healthier,” Kramer said.

Jerry Ehrlich is the executive director of the Cornerstone Center for Early Learning, located in the St. Louis historic Shaw neighborhood. The center provides children of all economic backgrounds with a caring, comprehensive and diverse early childhood education. 

Ehrlich is also the past executive director of the St. Louis Society for the Physically Disabled.  He still volunteers at the society, going out on outings with people with disabilities.  He also still keeps in touch with families as the Cystic Fibrosis Society, where he was also executive director.

Ehrlich is the past chair of St. Louis Senior Olympics where he has been a consistent volunteer since his days working at the Jewish Community Center as a physical education teacher. He also volunteers for the National Council of Jewish Women’s Back-to-School Store.  Since he speaks Spanish, he helps children who speak Spanish pick out clothes and school supplies. 

“Every family, group of friends and organization should be so fortunate to have a Jerry Ehrlich on their team,” said Nancy Weigley, program coordinator for the National Council of Jewish Women.

Ehrlich, whose parents were both Mitzvah Stars, has served on the board at the Central Reform Congregation and often volunteers at the Keyser School, where his wife teaches.  Other volunteer efforts include Ronald McDonald House and as master of ceremonies for the JCC Maccabi Youth games.

RSVPs for the Mitzvah Stars luncheon are requested by May 12 to Ericka Zoll at [email protected] or 314-432-3189.