‘Main Event’ draws hundreds to SSDS

BY LINDA S. LAWSON, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

With 400-plus patrons in attendance, amidst good company, food, and entertainment, event organizers project more than $100,000 was raised at the Solomon Schechter Day School 2008 Main Event Sunday evening at B’nai Amoona.

The monies raised provide financial assistance to children attending the school who otherwise would possibly not be able to do so. More than a third of the attendees receive financial support.

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Christine and Dr. Alan Lyss, an oncology research nurse and a medical oncologist respectively, were the night’s honorees. Their collective efforts have literally helped care for thousands of patients in the St. Louis area.

Eileen Schneider Edelman, a tireless 35 year-veteran who has spearheaded a rainbow of causes within and beyond the Jewish community, served as the first honorary co-chair.

Described as a “behind-the-scenes” advocate of SSDS since its infancy, Harvey Greenstein received the Leo I. Mirowitz Distinguished Service Award. His work on the school’s Financial Assistance Committee has helped ensure any child desiring a Jewish education receives one.

According to B’nai Amoona’s Rabbi Emeritus Bernard Lipnick and visionary for the school, ensuring such access stands paramount to raising future generations of stellar Jewish citizens.

“It is a unique opportunity to give Jewish children a strong and enduring foundation in their faith. It is a unique opportunity to create a coterie of children to serve the community-at-large and the world. It is a complete immersion program that I don’t believe is possible in a supplemental program.”

Parents came in droves to show their support of bolstering equal Jewish educational access and appreciation for their children’s teachings.

“I was attracted to the school for its dual curriculum and its sense of community. I love it when I hear my son singing Hebrew songs in the shower,” said Denise Meckler whose son, Zachary, already attends the school and her daughter, Rebecca, who will join her brother next year.

While the night converged good times with a good cause, the sense of community flowed throughout the evening.

“When you do a fundraiser like this, it’s nice that we throw this party and this money goes to a good cause. When I was growing up there was only one Jewish day school and there was no choice. It really does serve a purpose,” commented event co-chair Lisa Binowitz.

But none of the entertainment, which included an improv theater act, could outshine the remarks of the night’s honorees. As a special culmination, the eighth grade class presented a $350 check to Gateway to Hope, a non-profit the couple ardently supports that provides donated care to under and uninsured women battling breast cancer.

Christine particularly paid homage to her husband for exhibiting grace and fortitude under the most difficult of circumstances as he mounts his own battle against cancer. Two weeks prior to the event, Lyss ran a half marathon to raise money for breast cancer, despite enduring aggressive therapy and having two broken bones in his foot.

“It is with the deepest gratitude I accept this honor alongside the person that has been a tremendous source of strength, maintained a terrific sense of humor and showed our family how to confront a diagnosis of cancer with dignity and tremendous determination and not to miss a beat both at work and at home,” she tearfully said.

“There are two types of people,” Alan Lyss told the audience, “People who inspire a lot of people at once, like rabbis, teachers, administrators. The others are people who like to help people one at a time. Doctors are in this category. I’m grateful to be able to help people one at a time.”

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