‘Light’ to honor Jewish state legislators, David Lipman


St. Louis’s premier Jewish community news organization is shedding some “light” on its operations. For the first time ever, the St. Louis Jewish Light will open its annual meeting to the general public.

“This is a unique opportunity for the community to understand who the Light is and where we are going because we’ve never really done this before,” said Diane Gallant, chair of the upcoming event. “We’ve really expanded our thinking on this meeting. It’s not just that we’re installing the officers and the board. We’ve taken it a step beyond that and invited the community in.”


The event, set for May 21, will mark the installation of new trustees andnew officers including the new board president, Gianna Jacobson. Organizers hope that representatives from across the Jewish community will attend.

“We want to promote the paper’s visibility and bring the community in to understand what the Light is all about,” said outgoing president Milton Movitz, for whom the meeting will mark the completion of a two-year term leading the board.

The meeting also will be used to highlight the contributions of Missouri’s Jewish state legislators, Sen. Jeff Smith and Reps. Steve Brown, Jason Kander, Jill Schupp, Rachel Storch, and Jake Zimmerman. Larry Levin, publisher/CEO of the Light, said the salute is a vital part of the paper’s mission.

“It’s very important for us as a Jewish news organization that covers topical events of the day to recognize those within the Jewish community who are providing exceptional public service,” he said. “These half dozen Jewish legislators are doing just that.”

Movitz said the show of appreciation may become part of a regular effort every two years to employ the annual meeting as a platform to laud people for notable achievements.

“One of the things we want to do every other year is to honor Jewish individuals who make a difference both inside and outside of our community,” he said. “They deserve to be recognized so we are taking that step.”

In addition to the recognition of the legislators, the meeting will also showcase a tribute to the late David Lipman. Lipman, a recipient of numerous journalism honors, was a long-time managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where he played a key role in that paper’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. Later, he would serve as a board member and advisory committee member of the Jewish Light. Lipman died last summer at age 77 after a lengthy battle with myelodysplasia. He will be honored with a presentation by former Post-Dispatch metro editor Dick Weiss.

“I think the Light meant a great deal to him,” said Lipman’s son, Benjamin, an attorney with Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, LLC. “As both a newspaperman and a member of the community, I think it was an organization that was very near and dear to his heart.”

Ben Lipman will be among the family members attending the meeting recognizing his father’s accomplishments.

“We are very touched and very grateful that he is being honored,” he said. “The outpouring of support has really been terrific.”

This year’s meeting will have a new location — the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. The not-for-profit research institute was founded in 1998 through gifts from the Danforth Foundation and the Monsanto Fund. This will mark the first time the Light has held its annual event at the facility. Tours will be available for attendees an hour before the proceedings begin.

“It’s a wonderful venue and our hosts at the Plant Science Center couldn’t be kinder in terms of their working with us to meet our needs, so we’re grateful for the opportunity to utilize it,” Levin said.

Movitz noted that the decision to go with the Danforth Center was also indicative of the newspaper’s basic values.

“The Light has long been a strong voice on green issues in our community,” he said, “and we felt that the center was an ideal choice to showcase the paper’s commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Movitz said he has enjoyed every minute of his time as board president and is especially proud of the Light’s creation of the Publisher’s Society, a four-tiered program for patrons who support the publication with gifts of $500-$3,600. He said the initiative, which now has more than 40 members, has helped to support such projects as “Mitzvot from the Heart” and the “Ohr Chadash” teen page.

“The Publishers Society has been instrumental in boosting the financial viability of the paper and helping to reach out to its readership,” he said.

Gallant said it is all part of the Light’s overall mission to serve the Jewish community.

“Our theme is ‘Light years ahead’ and I think that reflects the very positive direction in which the Light is moving,” she said. “We’ve set our goals high and we expect to achieve them.”

The Jewish Light annual meeting will take place on May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Road. Attendance is free of charge. Tours are available at 6 p.m. For more information or to inquire about Danforth Center tours, call 314-743-3600.