JCRC installs new officers, honors leaders


The installation of attorney Gerald P. Greiman as the new president, tributes to attorney Leonard J. (Lenny) Frankel on the completion of his term as president, updates on issues, and awards to emerging leaders were highlights of the 71st annual meeting of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. A total of 175 members and guests of the JCRC, an umbrella organization of 18 Jewish organizations, attended the event held Wednesday, May 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clayton.

Frankel, an attorney and veteran volunteer leader, completed his two years as president of the JCRC. “I will be president of the JCRC for the next 15 minutes,” he joked, as he welcomed the leaders of the Jewish and interfaith communities to the annual meeting.

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“This is a historic time,” said Frankel. “Pope Benedict is in Israel attempting to build bridges between the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. We pray that the Pope achieves much success. His effort in that regard mirrors the work the JCRC performs on a daily basis.”

Batya Abramson-Goldstein, executive director of the JCRC, paid tribute to Frankel for his leadership. “It is my honor, on behalf of the JCRC, to thank you for your efforts,” she told Frankel and the crowd gathered. “They have been tireless. Your ability to see all sides of an issue (not surprisingly your ‘outside’ job involves mediation), your deep consideration and authentic humility, your wisdom, your compassion and your great store of experience have enriched the JCRC.”

Abramson-Goldstein presented Frankel with a tzedakah box with the inscription: “Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue.”

Terry Bloomberg, a past president of the JCRC and chair of its nominating committee, presented the slate of new officers and board members for the following year, including Gerald P. Greiman as president; Charles S. Elbert, Margaret Israel, John F. Kalishman, Phyllis W. Markus, Donn

Rubin, Sydell Shayer, Stephen W. Skrainka and Rabbi Jeffrey B. Stiffman, vice presidents; Andrew Rehfeld, secretary and Susan Mlynarczyk, treasurer.

Looking towards the future, Greiman said, “Promoting effective community relations and building a better world involves rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. It’s sometimes hard work. It’s important work. And that’s what the Jewish Community Relations Council is all about.”

Michael Newmark a past president of the JCRC, who with his wife Barbara established the JCRC Emerging Leader Award, presented the 2009 award to John F. Kalishman, a managing director of Harcourt Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor based in Clayton. He currently serves as vice president of the JCRC, prior to which he was an at-large member of the Council. He also serves as chair of the Investment Committee for the Jewish Community Foundation, and serves on the Federation’s Financial Policy and Nominating Committees. Kalishman, as the recipient of the JCRC Emerging Leadership Award, attended the Jewish Council of Public Affairs Annual Plenum, which discusses consensus positions on major domestic and overseas issues of concern to the Jewish community.

The Norman A. Stack Community Service Award, named after a late former executive director of the JCRC, was presented to Rev. Dr. Paul D. Reiter, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy of the Presbyterian Church USA. He was honored for his many years of interfaith leadership and work, including working with the JCRC on concerns raised when the Presbyterian Church USA in prior years had adopted resolutions calling on firms to divest from firms doing business in Israel.

Because Rev. Reiter was recovering from a recent illness and surgery, the award was accepted on his behalf by his wife, Andrea (Ande) Reiter, a gerontologist and geriatric consultant.