Kaleidoscope Israel chairs are announced


Kaleidoscope Israel, the St. Louis Jewish community’s year-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, has announced an “amazing spectrum of chairs to assure the success of all aspects of the event,” according to the overall chairs, Diane and Paul Gallant, their children Amy and Steve Gallant and grandchildren Richie and Tommy Gallant.

In the announcement, the Gallant family said it was “thrilled and excited to announce that the Honorary Chairman for Kaleidoscope Israel will be Michael Staenberg, the dynamic and generous chairman of the board of the Jewish Community Center, whose vision and leadership has assured the continued growth and vitality of the JCC. We are honored that Michael Staenberg has agreed to accept this important position.”

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In addition to Staenberg, other chairs announced by the Gallants are:

Sue Lesser has been named chair of the Yom Ha’Atzmaut Week at the JCC, which will be a major celebration of Israel’s Independence Day as well as a commemoration of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for the fallen members of the Israel Defense Forces.

“It is an honor for me to be part of Kaleidoscope Israel,” Lesser said. “Since many of us can’t be in Israel for its 60th anniversary, I am excited to be chairing the committee that will bring the celebration to the St. Louis Jewish community. On a personal level, I look forward to learning more about Israel and sharing this knowledge with my children.”

Sue Lesser has served in numerous leadership positions in both the Jewish and general communities, including the Gateway to Hope Program and Congregation Shaare Emeth. “Hers will be an immense responsibility coordinating the numerous facets of Yom Ha’Atzmaut Week at the JCC, and we are certain that, as always, she will do an outstanding job,” the Gallants said in their announcment.

Nancy and Al Siwak, along with their family members Gianna Jacobson and Todd Siwak, Stacy and Greg Siwak, Roger Siwak and Erin and Steve Schuver, will co-chair a major musical event featuring “an outstanding Israeli entertainer, who will be announced later.” “Nancy Siwak was the first woman President of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, just one example of the many outstanding leadership positions held by this terrific family,” the announcement said.

Speaking on behalf of her family, Nancy Siwak told the St. Louis Jewish Light, “We are all so happy to be able to help celebrate Israel at 60. It makes you realize just how young the Jewish State is, and we said ‘yes’ because of our love and enthusiasm for Israel. We also wanted to share that love and enthusiasm with our children and grandchildren, because we want them to know how fortunate we are to have this beautiful country and how much we support it. So, without a doubt, we had no hesitation. We’re happy to be able to help create excitement for Israel.”

Galia and Milton Movitz will co-chair the just-starting-to-be-planned closing event. Galia Movitz is past President of the former Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation and a current member of the newly formed Women’s Connection Board of Directors, and Milton Movitz currently is president of the St. Louis Jewish Light Board of Trustees. Milton Movitz said, “Galia is a Sabra, and so it is a personal as well as a community honor for us to serve as co-chairs of the culminating event.” Adds Galia Movitz, “Needless to say, as one who was born and grew up in the Jewish State of Israel, I am honored beyond words to serve with Milton in helping to assure the success of Kaleidoscope Israel.”

Other chairs for Kaleidoscope Israel include Gary Kodner, marketing and Ed Becker, accounting. “These outstanding and respected experts in the fields of accounting and graphic design will play an important overall role in putting this ambitious yearlong series of events together,” said the Gallants. Gary Kodner has designed the “original and distinctive logo and calendar” for Kaleidoscope Israel. “Ed Becker will contribute his considerable accounting expertise to assure that Kaleidoscope Israel operates in a fiscally responsible manner,” the Gallants said.

Gary Kodner told the Jewish Light, “It was very easy for me to get involved with Kaleidoscope Israel. I was approached by my good friends Diane and Paul Gallant, whom I have worked with before on many other successful projects. All it really took was a tap on my shoulder from Diane, for me to agree to get engaged with this special project. Before she even finished the sentence asking me to sign on, I said ‘yes’. Diane and Paul, and their entire wonderful family have put all of their efforts and resources in Kaleidoscope Israel, so I really wanted to be a part of it, and am glad to be on board. I think it’s going to be really cool for our community to do something like this wonderful year-long very exciting series of events.”

“I look forward to overseeing the Kaleidoscope Israel budget which will enable the various committees to generate the excitement that will provide an investment in both our community and in Israel that will impact us now and with future generations,” said Ed Becker.

For more information on Kaleidoscope Israel, please call Karen Rader at 314-442-3756, or go online at www.cajestl.org or www.jewishinstlouis.org. Kaleidoscope Israel is a project of the Central Agency for Jewish Education, and is being funded by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

The schedule for Kaleidoscope Israel can also be found at www.stljewishlight.com.