Newsmakers: January 2021


Elana Hertel has joined Central Reform Congregation as executive assistant to the rabbinic team. She graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in business and event management, holds a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) from the International Live Event Association (ILEA) and sits on the board of the ILEA St. Louis Chapter as immediate past president. A St. Louis native, she grew up at Congregation Shaare Emeth.  


Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation was chosen as one of the Forward’s 50 notable Jewish people of 2020. She was cited for being a “confronter of hate” for standing up to Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who made national headlines when they waved guns at Black Lives Matters protesters near their Central West End home in June. CRC is located next door to the McCloskey’s home. When the couple were slated to speak at the Republican National Convention, Talve told the Forward’s national editor, Rob Eshman, “They are bullies. It’s so upsetting that they have a national audience. It’s upsetting we make heroes out of people who hate.”


Jessica Z. Brown Billhymer has received the St. Louis Press Club’s highest honor, the Catfish Award, which is awarded to a member who has made exceptional contributions to the field of communications and to the club. Brown Billhymer is founder and president of Gateway Media Literacy Partners and an adjunct professor at the School of Communications at Webster University. She recently completed a series of interviews with local professional communicators during the pandemic and has long worked to support journalism literacy and scholarships.


Jordan Palmer has joined the St. Louis Jewish Light as director of digital communications. Palmer spent the past 20 years at KSDK-TV (Channel 5) in various capacities, including director of digital operations, executive producer of local programming and special projects producer. Palmer and his family belong to Central Reform Congregation.


Dr. Julia Partin, a podiatrist, has started a new position with Washington University Orthopedics. She is a foot and ankle surgeon with 18 years of experience treating pediatric and adult patients. Previously, Partin operated a successful St. Louis-based private practice for 15 years. Her practice locations include the Center for Advanced Medicine and the Center for Advanced Medicine, South County. Partin and her family are members of Shaare Emeth.


Martha K. Sneider has joined the Gellman Team as a real estate agent selling residential homes. She and her family belong to Temple Emanuel.  

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad


Congregation Temple Israel has announced the latest board members of its executive committee: Sarah Falkoff, vice president/education; Julie Follman, secretary; Amy Knoblock-Hahn, assistant secretary; and Jeff Brown, member at large. Incoming trustees/new to the board of trustees, serving a three-year term are: Jenny Abeles, Benjamin Kozower, Brian Newman, Diane Fadem Packman and Rachel Protzel. Rob Epstein will be serving a two-year term.  


In other Temple Israel news, Rabbi Michael Alper was selected for the JOIN (Jewish Organizing Institute & Network) for Justice Clergy Fellowship 2021-22 Cohort. The fellowship offers clergy the opportunity to explore community organizing and expose select congregants or members to it so they can assess if it can further their community’s mission. 


Steve Gorin, partner in Thompson Coburn LLP’s St. Louis office, has been elected to the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) Estate Planning Hall of Fame. Gorin is also a recipient of the Accredited Estate Planner (Distinguished) designation for 2020. He is one of only seven estate planning professionals to receive this prestigious award in 2020. Gorin belongs to Shaare Emeth. 


Larry Levy, a 20-year agent with the real estate firm Janet McAfee Inc., has been elected to the St. Louis Realtors board of directors for the 2021-2024 term. Levy has served the St. Louis Realtors as a prior board member and has chaired the grievance and professional standards committee. He will also hold a seat on the Missouri Association of Realtors.


Ed Protzel recently released his fourth historical novel, “Something in Madness,” which takes readers to 1865 Mississippi when newly freed Blacks struggled in a South still run by unregenerate Confederates. The book, published by TouchPoint Press, is available in print and eBook editions from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sellers.

Newsmakers is a compilation of local Jews’ newsworthy professional and academic accomplishments. Submit your news to [email protected]. Call 314-743-3669 for more information. Published the first edition of each month.