JEWISH ST. LOUIS EVENTS ROUNDUP

COMPILED BY JILL KASSANDER

B’nai Amoona: The scholar-in-residence weekend offered participants a chance to prepare their hearts for the High Holy Days with Dr. Ron Wolfson. There was something for everyone with thoughts on how to transform a congregation into a sacred community to the special Selichot discussion on “103 Ways to be an Angel” and “Do God’s Work on Earth.” Wolfson also presented a special workshop for parents and teens to kick-off of the opening day of religious school. The weekend was presented by the Rabbi Bernard Lipnick Foundation for Conservative Judaism.

BSKI: The High Holiday season was ushered in with a special Selichot concert featuring baritone Daniel Gross and his wife, opera star, Lauren Skuce Gross. The musical program included Hebrew and Yiddish songs, Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock and Bruch’s Kol Nidre on the cello. Other featured performers included: Phyllis Hyken on piano, William Kass on cello and Rabbi Mordecai Miller on clarinet.

Chabad of Chesterfield: There were several ways families could participate in preparation for the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah. One delicious way was to learn how to make home-made challah from scratch. Chana’la Rubenfeld created an elegant braided golden loaf of challah while teaching the significance of this ancient Jewish tradition at the Trader Joe’s in Chesterfield. The organization’s shofar factory offered children and adults a chance to learn how to create, prepare and master the art of shofar blowing. Participants learned to measure, cut, sand and drill the ram horns into kosher shofars they got to take home. They are also learned the meaning and significance of the shofar, its history, its shape and its sounds.

H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy: Students will have a much more organized year thanks to a new school assignment book designed by Matt Cohen, Rhonda Donaldson and Aliza Gertzulin. The book features monthly school calendars including dates of special days and holidays, weekly calendars for writing in homework with space for both general and Judaic studies, 500 high frequency Hebrew words, 1,200 high frequency English words, maps, multiplication table, Periodic Table of Elements, units of measure and much more.

Kol Am: Participants enjoyed the first adult mini-course offered on Sunday mornings. A class on the Kabbalah was taught by Howard Schwartz, a National Jewish Book Award-winning author and professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the Haziza-Sokol Family Scholar in Residence.

NCJW: More than 45 women met to celebrate the over 30 years of service and leadership of Thelma Edelstein and Helen Gennari to the Wife-Widow-Woman program. The event also recognized their retirement and welcomed the newest program leaders, Carole Simon and Harriet Entin. The program has been in effect since 1979 when there were no programs or support groups for widows in the St. Louis area. There have been two groups each year since then, serving approximately 500 women.

Shaare Emeth: It was a great way to welcome in the Jewish new year: with good food, new friends, old friends and lots of cheer. The congregation’s Selichot dine-out was a new type of progressive dinner. Participants met for wine and cheese at the synagogue, chose from selected restaurants, had dinner and then returned to the synagogue for dessert and a Selichot service. Janne Burch and Debbie Kimberg coordinated the program.

Shaare Zedek: Family Life chair Rhona Lyons reported some wonderful new additions to the youth/family/children’s services. In mid-year they started a weekly e-mail with a short summary of the parsha. Thanks to an anonymous donor they are assembling a family service Siddur with all the prayers in Hebrew, English and transliteration to make the text as accessible as possible to the children and their families.

SSDS: Seventh grader Rebecca Kaiser is a semi-finalist in the National Science Fair. This is the first time in the school’s history a student has advanced to the national level although they have always had some students receive the Discovery Award at the Greater St. Louis Science Fair.

St. Louis Kollel: Participants enjoyed getting ready for the High Holidays with the first class in a three- part series High Flying Holidays. Rabbi Shaya Mintz presented a panoramic view of Rosh Hashanah to prepare for the upcoming holiday.

Temple Israel: Debbie Schultz has been awarded the Rabbi Howard M. Graver Creative Teacher Award for 2007. The award, supported by the St. Louis Central Agency for Jewish Education and the St. Louis Jewish Educators’ Council is given to a teacher or team of teachers for innovative, meaningful, and interesting programs or units successfully implemented in a religious school setting. Schultz was granted the award for her Ten Commandments curriculum written for her third-grade students.

Torah Prep School: There were several boys who went above and beyond over the summer. Boys receiving prizes for their summer hasmoda (diligence) include: Akiva Anton, Anshel Axelbaum, Haftali Kark, Shmuly Kent, Ephraim Mandelbaum, Yochanan Mandelbaum, Meir Nitsun, Tzvi Pentelnik, Rafi Perel and Baruch Usprich.

United Hebrew: Director of education Cheryl Whatley and early childhood education director Diane Deutsch reported the congregation was proudly represented by three of their staff members who served as presenters at the recent annual conference of the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education held at Washington University. Preschool teacher Lori Erickson taught an innovative workshop on teaching science Jewishly in early childhood settings. Family educator Rachel Persellin-Armoza led a class on using cultural arts to connect congregations to Israel, as well as leading nightly Israeli folk dancing. Artist-in-residence Rick Recht taught sessions on how to promote community events effectively as well as performing as one of the evening entertainers.

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