News and Schmooze: You don’t have to be Jewish . . .

Ellen Futterman, Editor

Last week to help usher in Mother’s Day, which, in case you forgot dear children, is Sunday, I offered my Top 10 picks of favorite Jewish mothers in pop culture. I then asked you to feel free to comment on my picks as well as chime in with yours. And as I have come to expect, you did not disappoint.

Gene Carton, an avid letter writer to the Light, suggested Norma Crane, who played Golde, Teyva’s wife in the 1971 movie version of “Fiddler on the Roof.” I can’t believe I forgot to include that one, so thank you Gene.

Several readers, including Cathleen Kronemer and Adrienne Hirschfeld, mentioned Renee Taylor who played the outspoken Sylvia Fine, the mother of Fran Drescher’s character on TV’s “The Nanny.” Taylor, by the way, also played the overbearing Jewish mother of neurotic Martin Tupper on the HBO show, “Dream On,” which ran from 1990 to 1996.

One reader liked Jerry Seinfeld’s Jewish mother Helen Seinfeld, played by Liz Sheridan, on TV’s “Seinfeld.” And several of my Light colleagues mentioned pushy Mrs. Wolowitz, played by Carol Ann Susi, on TV’s “Big Bang Theory.” Apparently, she is never seen on-screen but her voice is heard when her son Howard, who lives with her, is at their house or when he talks to her on the phone.

Then there was the email from reader Andrew Rochman who, in the nicest way possible, pointed out that although he agreed Rosalind Russell was terrific as Mama Rose Hovick in the film version of “Gypsy,” neither Russell nor the real-life Hovick, were, in fact, Jewish. For that matter, neither was Ethel Merman who starred in the role on Broadway.

Maybe that just goes to show you don’t have to be Jewish to be a Jewish mother (at least not if I’m writing about you).

Ladue student awarded prestigious Princeton prize

Kudos to Hannah Rosenthal who was one of this year’s 26 recipients nationwide of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, which recognizes and encourages young people who have made or are making efforts to improve racial harmony. Hannah, 17, is a junior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School and a member of Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel. She also was a member of the 2009 Cultural Leadership program in St. Louis.

Hannah flew to New Jersey last weekend to be part of the 3rd Annual Princeton Prize Symposium on Race, where she attended campus workshops on topics associated with race.

She says she tackles race relations from a variety of angles. “I restarted my high school’s diversity club last year. Our goal is to promote tolerance through understanding and provide students with a comfortable venue to discuss topics that seem touchy in today’s society, such as religion, race, sexual orientation and power and privilege,” she explained. She also writes about race for the school newspaper and has led a panel discussion to broaden perspectives on the issue and generate an exchange of opinions.

“It was great to be in a community of students fighting for the same things I care about,” said Hannah, reflecting on her weekend at Princeton where she received $1,000 in prize money. She plans to put some of it toward college and donate some to organizations that have made an impact on her life, including the diversity club.

Juggle this into your schedule

Circus Harmony, which is planning a return trip to Israel in July, is holding its first Barnes & Noble Book Fair to support its Peace Through Pyramids project, a collaboration between Circus Harmony’s St. Louis Arches youth circus troupe and the Jewish/Arab Galilee Circus in Israel. Circus Harmony is the circus school based inside the St. Louis City Museum.

On May 22, Circus Harmony’s St. Louis Arches will be flipping, flying, juggling and reading out loud at the Barnes & Noble in Ladue at 8871 Ladue Road. Any purchase made there or at any Barnes & Noble (even online at between May 22 and May 27 will support Peace Through Pyramids, if buyers use ID # 10201416.

In addition, people can also pre-order cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for pick up on May 22 at the Ladue Barnes & Noble to support Circus Harmony. Order must be place through Circus Harmony by May 16. Order forms are available at and at the City Museum. For more information, call 314-226-3633.

Learning a new language: Storytelling in the digital age

Part of our heritage is storytelling, so when this came across my desk I wanted to share it with you. KETC/Channel 9 is offering free digital storytelling classes designed to teach participants how to edit video using Apple’s Final Cut Express, a widely available and inexpensive software that runs on Macintosh computers. Participants will learn how to become fluent in the language of the digital age by using video to build a story. Class graduates will then become part of a network of community producers who can be deployed for KETC initiatives that address relevant community issues.

Each class gives approximately 40 hours of instruction plus two hours daily of optional lab time. The classes are held at the station, 3655 Olive Street in Grand Center.

The classes, part of Channel 9’s new NineAcademy education initiative, teach the fundamentals of storytelling and digital video editing using footage shot on small digital handheld cameras such as Flip camcorders. No experience is required. Students are supplied with everything necessary including footage and the use of equipment during class and lab hours. Classes are open to anyone age 13 or older. At the end of the course, students will have produced a video, from 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length.

Although classes are free, participants must register. For more information and to sign up, contact Lauren Schwarze at 314-512-9144. Classes will be offered:

* May 10-28; Mon., Wed., Fri. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; optional lab 3-5 p.m.

* May 18 to June 3; Tues., Thurs. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; optional lab 3-5 p.m.

* July 19-30; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; optional lab 2-4 p.m.

* Aug. 2-13; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; optional lab 2-4 p.m.

* Aug. 16 to Sept. 3; Mon., Wed., Fri. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; optional lab 3-5 p.m.

* June 7-18; Mon.-Fri 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; optional lab 2-4 p.m.

* June 21 to July 1; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; optional lab 2-4 p.m.

* July 5-16; Mon.- Fri. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; optional lab 2-4 p.m.

* Aug. 17 to Sept. 9; Tues., Thurs. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; optional lab 3-5p.m.

* Saturdays, four consecutive weeks 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; beginning June 5, July 10, Aug. 7, Sept. 4.