Meet the volunteer leaders who plan Unsung Heroes


From left are Unsung Co-Chair Jane Roodman Weiss, Co-Chair Sheri Sherman, Co-Chair Galia Movitz, Light Editor-in-Chief Ellen Futterman, Co-Chair Faith Berger and Light CEO Betsy Schmidt.

About 12 years ago, a group of staff and board members at the Jewish Light came up with a plan to honor the incredible volunteerism found throughout the St. Louis Jewish community.

Milton Movitz, then-past president of the Light, suggested these volunteers be individuals or groups that fly under the radar. Sheri Sherman, who was a Light board member at the time, added that they should be called Unsung Heroes.

OK, in all truthfulness, who said exactly what is hard to recall after a dozen years. But the point is that this meeting marked the beginning of the Jewish Light’s Unsung Heroes Oy! Magazine (now Unsung Heroes special section) and signature event, now in its 12th year.

Unsung Heroes shines a light on individuals of any background or faith who generously volunteer to help the St. Louis Jewish community, and Jewish St. Louisans who volunteer either within the local Jewish community and/or the community at large. This year five individuals and two groups will be honored (see this week’s special section, pages 1B-16B) while another individual will receive a special recognition.


Sherman has been with the event, which will take place virtually this year starting at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, since its inception. The reason?

“It is such a feel-good event no volunteer wants to leave,” she explained. “When we were in a space (pre-virtual), I called it a group hug of 300 people. The love in the room was palpable.

“One of the sweetest moments of my life was when I was made an “honorary” Unsung Hero. I never tire of the beautiful stories of our Heroes and the good they do for our community.”

Over the years, Sherman has been joined by three others – Faith Berger, Galia Movitz and Jane Roodman Weiss — who have served as either a co-chair or advisor for many of the last 12 Heroes celebrations. This year the four women will once again serve together as co-chairs.

For Galia Movitz, meeting more than 110 Unsung Heroes over the years and learning about the “holy work they are engaged in inspires me,” she said, adding that, “It’s been an honor to serve on this committee with such dear friends and continue the legacy of my (late) husband (Milton Movitz) who had the vision for this event.”

Both Berger and Weiss enjoy hearing about the important work of organizations and individuals under the radar, who give of themselves, provide a positive impact in the lives of so many in our Jewish and general community and expect nothing in return.

“It warms my heart to hear the reaction when they are told they have been selected as an Unsung Hero,” added Weiss. “None ever expect any recognition, yet they are so deeply touched and appreciative of the honor.”

Prior to the virtual event on Nov. 11, the co-chairs hosted a happy hour in Sherman’s outdoor garden for the 2021 Unsung Heroes to meet one another.

“We have had all kinds of receptions and award ceremonies large and small to honor our Unsung Heroes — even through COVID,” noted Berger. “To be honored without ever thinking of accolades brings years of assisting others to the forefront. In the end the recipients are filled with emotion as they realize how valued they are.”

This year’s 12th annual event will be streamed live on the Jewish Light’s website. Anyone who donates a minimum of $18 (or makes a tribute of $18 or more) will receive a link to watch the live event. To make a donation or tribute, go to