Jewish Light names new executive director

Scott Berzon

STAFF REPORT

Scott Berzon has been selected as the new executive director of the St. Louis Jewish Light, effective March 19.

For the past four years, Berzon, a St. Louis native, has been the director of the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival and the Jewish Arts and Soul Project. In those capacities, he has partnered with the Light on various projects. He lives in Ballwin, is married to wife Jamie, and is the father of three children. 

“I am delighted to join a team of newspaper professionals who are devoted to keeping the community engaged with local, Jewish content,” said Berzon, 42. “Like any news organization, the Light continues to evolve and I look forward to the exciting and challenging work we have ahead of us.”

After completing a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan, Berzon began a career in higher education publishing spanning more than 12 years. He has worked extensively in sales, sales management and marketing.  

Jewish Light Board Trustee Gianna Jacobson, who chaired the Light’s selection committee, explains:

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“Every news organization has its ‘eras,’ and the Jewish Light is no exception. When I joined the Light board 24 years ago, Bob Cohn was the editor-in-chief and Linda Mantle was the managing editor. They ran the operations of the newspaper together, and they were a dynamic team. Both were — and still are — passionate about journalism and about the St. Louis Jewish community, committed to the concept of an independent journalistic voice covering the community while simultaneously belonging to it. 

“When Bob decided to retire — which turned out to mean slow down a little bit since he is still editor-in-chief emeritus and remains a highly valued member of the Light’s operations — and Linda moved on, it was the end of one era. Since then, the organization has had two different publisher/CEOs — Andy Polin in the late 1990s and Larry Levin for eight years, until he stepped down at the end of 2016. I served on the search committee for the hiring of Polin and chaired it when we hired Levin, and each of them led the organization through complicated stages of growth.

“As chair of the Light’s latest search process, I am thrilled that the Light’s next era will be ably managed and led by Scott Berzon. Journalistically, the Light is on solid ground — as Editor Ellen Futterman is at the top of her game — and it would be difficult for anyone to keep up with her passion, enthusiasm and top-tier editorial excellence. Scott brings great leadership — cultivating an enormous base of volunteers and donors — from the Book Festival, along with experience in publishing sales, management and marketing from previous jobs.”

Light Board of Trustees President, Steve Gallant, amplified Jacobson’s comments, adding that he, too, is thrilled to have Berzon on board as executive director.  “His energy and enthusiasm are infectious and we expect that he is the right person to lead us into the future,” Gallant said.

Jacobson said Berzon was the unanimous selection of the search committee, and that together, he and Futterman promise to be a formidable team. 

“They represent a partnership that will enable the entire Jewish Light staff, along with the Board of Trustees and all of the Light’s readership, to move forward into the next era of Light’s existence with confidence,” she added. 

Starting March 19, Berzon will be able to be reached at 314-743-3672 and [email protected]