Newsmakers: June 2021


Vickie Shuchart

Vickie Shuchart, director of operations at Congregation B’nai Amoona, is the new director of Nishmah, a program of the Jewish Community Center that supports Jewish women. Its goal is to bring together Jewish women and girls from different denominations who may have otherwise never met so that they can learn from each other, connect and form bonds through faith and friendship. Shuchart has worked in various roles at Congregation B’nai Amoona for 13 years.

Andrew Glantz

GiftAMeal, founded by Andrew Glantz in 2015, has been awarded $100,000 as part of a new program called Growth Grants, started this year by Arch Grants. GiftAMeal is an app in which users take photos of their purchases at restaurants and, in exchange for that photo, a meal is donated to a local food bank. If the user also shares the picture on social media, that can amount to up to four additional meals provided to the bank. The money to pay for those meals comes from restaurants’ monthly subscriptions to the app.

J Associates honored Jo-Ann Goldstein (left) and Lorry Blath as Mitzvah Stars.

J Associates have reached out to the community to nominate individuals who have gone above and beyond with their volunteerism over the years. This year’s Mitzvah Stars, who were announced at the organization’s recent, virtual annual meeting, are Lorry Blath, who attends Congregation Temple Israel, and Jo-Ann Goldstein, who attends Congregation Shaare Emeth.

Ericka Zoll-Phelan

Ericka Zoll-Phelan has joined the Harold Grinspoon Foundation as an advancement officer focused on helping to raise funds for PJ Library in various communities around the Midwest, including St. Louis. PJ Library celebrates Jewish values, culture and tradition through the joy of storybooks for children up to 12 years of age. Hundreds of thousands of children and their families receive these free, high quality Jewish children’s books every month in 30 countries and seven languages. Zoll-Phelan is a member of Central Reform Congregation.


Portrait of Samantha Fischer
Samantha Fischer (Photo: Mike Darling)

Senior Samantha Fischer has set the Ladue Horton Watkins High School record for pole vault, clearing 10 feet, 10-6, 11-3 and then 12-1 to break the school’s old record of 12 feet.  After a quick celebration and some photos with her teammates, Fischer jumped back on the pole and broke the record again, clearing 12 feet, 3 inches in her final jump of the evening. Fischer, who attends Congregation Shaare Emeth, is ranked third in Missouri and 87th in the nation. FShe plans to attend Northeastern University in Boston in the fall.

Portrait of Mark Bernstein
Mark Bernstein

After 34 years as business manager of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Mark Bernstein is retiring. During his tenure, he more than tripled the Rep’s annual operating budget, developed a rigorous roster of community stakeholders and donors and led the Rep’s endowment growth from half a million dollars to nearly $10 million. Bernstein’s retirement will be effective Jan. 1. The Rep will conduct a national search for his replacement.

Jen Rich

Jennifer Rich Thomas and her team at Videocakes Productions won a Silver Telly for their production of the Jewish Light’s Unsung Heroes Virtual Awards Gala 2020 at the 42nd annual Telly Awards. The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all screens.

Melissa Susman
Melissa Susman

Melissa Susman, a registered nurse, is opening the St. Louis Fertility Concierge at 11628 Old Ballas Rd. in Creve Coeur, in mid-June. She plans to administer fertility shots to women who are going through fertility treatments, explaining that many women are afraid of shots or afraid they will do something wrong, or their partner may travel and can’t be there to do it. She will do some limited home visits in addition to training sessions. Susman is a member of Congregation Temple Israel.