Meet five of St. Louis’ Unsung Heroes

Clockwise from top left: Philip Deitch, Betsy Mehlman, Shirley Mosinger, Stuart & Pamela Katz, and Susan K. Goldberg. 

Since junior high school, when he founded a Civil Rights Club, Philip Deitch, 61, has been involved in activist causes, and his passion and energy for them hasn’t waned. He has been at the forefront, fighting for justice on many issues, including racial and religious equality, gay rights and disability inclusion. Currently, he is helping the Jewish community be a real partner in efforts to implement the recommendations of the Ferguson Commission. Deitch also photographs community and social action events for major cultural institutions and in the Jewish community, and is a founder and vice-chair of the U.S. Attorney’s Hate Crimes Task Force for Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most, like a handwritten note. Betsy Mehlman, 60, understands that, and makes sure to set aside time to hand write tribute cards to individuals in whose honor a donation was made to the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section. She also works with the NCJW Kids’ Community Closet committee, an outgrowth of the Back to School! Store, and used to chair a NCJW group and recruit volunteers to do storytelling at an area juvenile detention center. A former preschool teacher, she also was a storyteller in the St. Louis Public Schools through the Springboard to Learning program in the 1980s.


Aself-described “professional volunteer,” Susan K. Goldberg works tirelessly for a number of organizations   in both the Jewish and secular communities. Most have a strong educational component, such as Ready Readers, which helps to build literacy in low-income preschoolers. There, Goldberg, 55, started an annual event 10 years ago that asks potential donors to stay home, read a book with their family, and give to Ready Readers. This “non-event,” under Goldberg’s leadership, raised $165,000 last year. Goldberg also has been instrumental in fundraising and development for Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Temple Israel, the Magic House and MICDS, among other organizations.


Some people love and respect a uniform. That’s why husband-wife team Stuart, 69, and Pamela Katz, 68, enjoy volunteering regularly at the Lambert Airport USO. He’s logged about 5,700 hours of volunteer time. She’s racked up another 650 (she still works regularly as a computer programmer). Whether it’s picking up bagels and serving them to the soldiers passing through St. Louis, or running the snack booth for military families visiting Santa Express at Union Station, the Katzes feel passionate about doing their part to serve the men and women who serve their country.


At 87, Shirley Mosinger is being heralded for her inspired life-long mission to promote books, reading and literacy for people of diverse backgrounds. She works to encourage reading and a love of books in underserved populations. For the last 10 years, she has helped elderly Russians and Asians with literacy at Covenant Place and has volunteered with the Parkway Schools English as a Second Language program. She also helped start the Beginning Babies with Books program, which teaches disadvantaged young mothers the importance of reading to their babies. Over the past three decades, the program has reached thousands of mothers while tens of thousands of books have been given away.


Read the Heroes’ full stories in our May Oy! Magazine and join the Light in saluting the 2016 Unsung Heroes during a special event at 7 p.m. Monday, May 23 at the JCC Arts & Education Building in Creve Coeur. The cost is $18 and includes a kosher dessert and coffee reception. RSVP at or call 314-743-3660 no later than Monday, May 16.