Jewish Light celebrates 60 years

Jewish Light celebrates 60 years


Milton Movitz, former shoe company executive and a longtime volunteer in Jewish community activities, was installed as president of the St. Louis Jewish Light Board of Trustees at its 44th annual meeting last Tuesday at the Jewish Community Center.

Movitz succeeded David Grebler who completed two years as president of the Jewish Light Board, at the meeting, which was attended by over 80 people. The meeting also celebrated the 60th anniversary of continuous publication of the Jewish community newspaper, which published its first edition as the St. Louis Light, in February 1947. The Jewish Light became an autonomous entity with its own board in l963. Diane Gallant and Barbara Rubin, members of the Jewish Light Board, served as co-chairs of the event.

In his remarks, outgoing Jewish Light Board President David Grebler took note of activities of the Jewish Light during the past two years which included, “for the past few months, the Light has been engaged in a strategic planning process,” which will continue into the next administration.

Grebler added, “Jews are a smalll minority of six million people in a country of 300 million. Weseek the truth, and seeking and respecting the truth is crucial, and we remain committed to the vigorous search for truth.”

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Grebler also expressed appreciation to retiring members of the Jewish Light Board, Ellen Bluestone, Jeff Bogard, Jim Greenstein and Dr. Kenneth Ludmerer. John Greenberg, immediate past president of the Light during Grebler’s term, becomes a life member of the Jewish Light Advisory Committee; he also served as chair of the Nominating Committee, and with the assistance of present board members installed new members of the Jewish Light Board of Trustees.

Those installed as new trustees are: Rebbetzin Paula Rivkin; Susan Fadem, Dr. Lewis Chartock, Jack Cohen, Paul Gallant, Kristi Meyers Gallop, Rabbi Daniel Plotkin of B’nai El, Mimi Pultman, and Susie Zimmerman. Greenberg congratulated the nine new board members and took note of their wide-ranging leadership experience in numerous Jewish and general community activities.

Installed as the new officers and committee chairs for the coming year were: Milton Movitz, president; Gianna Jacobson, first vice president; Jenny Wolkowitz, second vice president; Gary Kodner, third vice president; Jane Rubin, treasurer and Diane Gallant, secretary; Cynthia Kramer will chair the Editorial Committee, Paul Gallant will be Business Committee chair; Judy Pass will be Development Committee chair; John Greenberg will chair the Personnel Committee and David Grebler will chair the Nominating Committee.

Continuing a tradition that dates back to the founding of the Jewish Light Board, David Grebler presented Milton Movitz with the gavel, and received an engraved gavel and a bound volume of the issues of the Jewish Light published during his term of office.

In his remarks, Movitz said, “this is my third go-around as a member of the Jewish Light Board, and I never wanted to be president; I just wanted to help keep the place clean and play devil’s advocate; my background is as a butcher and a shoe man, but I am honored to have been asked to take on this task.”

He added, “I am so impressed with our new board members as we go forward into the future; it is truly a ‘royal flush’ of leadership.”

Michael N. Newmark, past president of the St. Louis Jewish Light Board of Trustees, offered remarks on the evolution of the Light from the original house organ of the Federation of 1947, to the autonomous publication with its own board back in 1963.

“Thanks to the vision of such people as Morrie Pearlmutter, Al Fleishman and my Dad, Mel Newmark, the St. Louis Jewish Light became re-born as an independent paper, which remained supportive of the Jewish commnity,” he said.

Newmark then presented each of the living past presidents of the Jewish Light Board in attendance with a copy of the front page of the first edition of the St. Louis Light from Feb. 20, l947, encased in lucite. Those in attendance were: Terry Bloomberg, Richard Flom, David Grebler, Philip A. Isserman, Linda Kraus, Michael N. Newmark, Richard W. Stein, Barbara Langsam Shuman and Vivian W. Zwick. Past presidents Yusef Hakimian, Marvin Schneider and Sanford Weiss were unable to attend.

The evening concluded with remarks by Lois Caplan, whose column has appeared in the St. Louis Jewish Light since 1963; along with editorial cartoonist Burt Dobinsky, she is the only contributor to the Light whose work began in the first year of the St. Louis Jewish Light as an autonomous publication.

In her remarks, Caplan said that she owns the gavel which was held by Alfred Fleishman, who was honorary president of the St. Louis Jewish Light , from 1997 until his passing in 2002. “It was Al Fleishman who called me back in 1963 to ask me to do a column in the St. Louis Jewish Light . He told me I knew more Jews, Catholics and Protestants than anyone he knew, and said, try it, you might like it. After almost 44 years, I guess I like it.”

Caplan recalled the different editors and publishers with whom she worked over the years, and discussed what each had contributed to her own role at the Jewish Light .

She recalled, “my first boss at the Light was Geoff Fisher, a rough, tough former sports writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Thanks to Geoff and Morris Silverman, I learned how to be concise and to keep my column within its 800-word limit.” She noted that Bob Cohn had changed the name of the column from “Women’s World” to just “Lois Caplan.

She also thanked the paper’s current CEO Andrew Polin and Editor David Baugher. “I am very impressed with your new leadership, and I look forward to another 44 years of writing.”

Rabbi Mark Fasman of Congregation Shaare Zedek, a member of the Jewish Light t board, offered the kiddush and hamotzi before the festive dessert buffet was served.