Jews in the news

Epstein Hebrew Academy middle school student Simcha Fremerman welcomes lower school student Yechiel Shulman during Epstein Hebrew Academy’s Baruch Habayim program. During the week of Parshas Vayeira (where Abraham displays his remarkable attribute of welcoming guests), EHA lower and middle school students were encouraged to reach out to each other with treats and special hand-made notes to learn this important lesson.

Block Yeshiva High School

In September, Avital Shulman, a senior at Block Yeshiva High School received an Award of Excellence from the LMI/D3 Technologies Institute in recognition of her outstanding research accomplishments during the STARS program. Dr. Kenneth Mares, director of the STARS program at University of Missouri-St. Louis, told the audience of Block students, faculty and Avital’s parents (Rabbi Moshe Shulman of Young Israel and his wife, Mrs. Baila Shulman) that she is the “best of the best”.

The same month, Rebecca Wilhelm, another Block senior, received the 2010 Outstanding Student Leaders Award from the St Louis County of Community Services and Washington University for her initiatives in promoting charitable acts of kindness within and without the Jewish community.

Rebecca spent the day at Washington University participating in leadership workshops and culminated the day at a ceremony and reception congratulating and honoring the Missouri Student Leaders. Wilhelm was among those recognized as a “Kohl’s Kid who Cares” finalist. And, we can’t forget that Block Yeshiva Girls School was one of the Jewish Light’s Unsung Heroes last Spring.

Covenant House

In October, Covenant/CHAI residents enjoyed learning board member Myrna Hershman‘s secrets for perfect challah baking. The program was part of Covenant/CHAI’s monthly program called “When Food is Love.” Participants had the chance to braid and bake their own challah loaves.

Epstein Hebrew Academy

Morah Chanie Winter reports in Epstein’s Daf Kesher newsletter that the school’s second grade students found an interesting way to blend their Torah and mathematics studies. The students measured the size of the school itself, and compared it to the size of the taivah that Noach built. “The students were engrossed in the mathematical calculations converting amot to feet, and then proceeded to measure, marvel, and envision an Ark of such magnitude,” wrote Winter. She noted that visiting guests from the Red Cross “happened to be outside observing the children and their obvious love of Torah. They were so impressed by your children that they actually came to my class to compliment the project and the children.”

Reform Jewish Academy

In the October air, approximately 80 RJA students, parents and teachers trekked down Spoede Road carrying backpacks, band instruments and a big responsibility. “We’re walking to school to reduce our carbon footprint,” said fourth grader Tamar Lerner. “Walking reminds us that we are partners with God in protecting the environment.”

Students- and teachers – walked about 1-2 miles depending on their route. Fourth grade teacher Sue Lapp walked from her home in Olivette to lead the procession. “It was a pleasure to make this possible for kids who care so much about making a difference,” she said. “We all feel so empowered this morning.”

Each October – when the story of Noah is read from the Torah – SMDS-RJA students participate in a city-wide Jewish Environmental Initiative program to raise awareness about climate change. At school, Project Noah includes book swaps, lessons on water conservation and nature walks. Parents exchange eco-friendly ideas, and if they are sending lunch, pack a trash-free meal.

“The week of Parshat Noah gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves why we are vigilant environmentalists year round,” says Cheryl Maayan, head of school.  

Solomon Schechter

Solomon Schechter’s weekly Shabbat Shalom newsletter reports its Kitah Aleph students took advantage of beautiful autumn weather to supplement students’ studies of nutrition with a visit to the pumpkin patch at Thies Farm. After riding on a tractor-driven wagon, students were treated to a tour of the fields where their guide picked fall vegetables. After checking out beets, radishes and other vegetables, students were able to enjoy the farm’s Pumpkinland Playground. The school thanked parents Lisa Ucko, Paulie Rose, Noga Shelleg, Rachel Persellin-Armoza and Bethney Levin for helping to drive and supervise students on the trip.

Temple Israel

Lisa Cohen and Jeri Bogard have joined the faculty of the Deutsch Early Childhood Center of Congregation Temple Israel as teachers in the Kids Morning Out program for children ages 6-18 months. The program is offered two mornings per week, Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to noon. The preschool is offering families a complimentary trial visit. Cohen has a degree in early childhood education from the University of Kansas, has taught preschool and has also worked for the Parkway Early Childhood Center. Bogard received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from the University of Illinois, and her master’s in social work from Washington University. She has worked at the Village Preschool and taught kindergarten at Glenridge Elementary School in Clayton.

United Hebrew

United Hebrew came up with a new way to wish its members a “sweet” New Year. Volunteers from the congregation hand-delivered small jars filled with apple-and-honey flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans to the home of each member family in the St. Louis area. Each gift came accompanied by a card signed by Rabbi Howard Kaplansky and UH President Edward M. Becker. With more than 1,300 member families – the jelly bean delivery was no small feat. Amy Stone, UH’s director of development, said more than 50 volunteers helped make the packages and deliver them to the congregation’s families.