Newsmakers: November 2020

Compiled by Jewish Light Staff

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

Attorney Susan E. Block has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in St. Louis as an honoree for this year’s Changemaker Award. When Block served as administrative judge of the Family Court of St. Louis County, she saw unmet needs of the children before her. Sharing her experiences with the county bar, she inspired them to create “Caring for Kids,” a nonprofit that provides for the urgent needs of children involved with the juvenile court. The honorees will receive their awards at the virtual National Philanthropy Day celebration on Nov. 19. Block attends Central Reform Congregation.

Jacob Bernstein, son of Brad and Moira Jablon Bernstein, was recently commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy Reserves by his father, a naval reservist.  Bernstein and his family are members of Agudas Achim Beth-Israel in Belleville and Congregation Shaare Emeth. A graduate of Clayton High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Phi Beta Kappa,  with a degree in computer science, Bernstein accepted a position with Google, and is presently a first year MBA student in the graduate school of business at Stanford University.

Suzy Clark has been named the director of development and community engagement at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center. Clark moved from Alexandria, Va. to be closer to her family, many of whom live in the St. Louis area.  She previously worked on the corporate partnerships team for United Way Worldwide.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

CRC congregant Michael Staenberg and the Staenberg Group are opening The Factory, a new state of the art music and entertainment venue in Chesterfield. The 52,000 square foot event space will have a capacity for up to 3,000 guests for national touring concerts, plus a diverse calendar of other events. Expected to be completed in early 2021, The Factory will be the anchor property for The District, an entertainment and dining destination in the location that recently housed the Chesterfield Outlets. Steve Schankman, founder of Contemporary Productions, will be the exclusive talent booker of The Factory. He attends Congregation Temple Israel.

The Mid-America chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation will honor Dr. Barry Abramson, as its 2020 Catalyst for Mission Advancement Honoree at its Evening of Hope Gala on Nov. 7. Abramson, a gastroenterology at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, is a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona. The Catalyst for Mission Advancement is given to a local professional who exemplifies the foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.

Rabbi Ze’ev Smason of Nusach Hari B’nai Zion was recently appointed as the Midwestern Regional Vice-President of the Rabbinic Board of the Coalition for Jewish Values. The Coalition for Jewish Values represents over 1,500 traditional observant rabbis in matters of public policy. Board officers work collectively to find consensus on the important issues of the day, articulate an authentic Jewish perspective on current events, and advocate for traditional Jewish values while setting organizational policy. These issues include Israel, anti-Semitism, religious liberty and more.

Margo Newman is the new corporate and foundations relations officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation. She will be responsible for the cultivation, stewardship and solicitation of major corporations, foundations and state and government grants. Helping St. Louis Children’s Hospital fulfill its mission of “doing what’s right for kids” is very close to her heart as her daughter Maya spent the first few weeks of her life in their NICU and underwent surgery at 4 months old. Newman, who attends B’nai Amoona, was previously director of development at Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School.

Ken Dubinsky has started his own consulting business, Haystack Sourcing Solutions, which works with companies to help them buy food and beverage products more efficiently. He also will help companies find products they are looking for as well as help them develop new products. Dubinsky, a member of United Hebrew Congregation, spent 28 years with Keefe Group and Affiliated Companies, a distributor to, and operator of, prison stores.

Alec Baris is the digital engagement associate at the St. Louis Jewish Light. In that capacity he will be communicating with readers online through a variety of social media platforms. A graduate of Marquette High School and most recently of University of Missouri-Columbia, Baris attends United Hebrew.

Attorney David A. Rubin, of the Law Offices of David A. Rubin, L.L.C., has been chosen for inclusion in the 2021 edition of “The Best Lawyers in America” publication for the practice area of insurance law. He is member of Young Israel.

Todd Lazarus started a new position as a business performance advisor with Insperity, a human resources business and technology service. He is a member of Shaare Emeth.

Rabbi Yonason Goldson is the author of the recently published book, “Grappling with the Gray: An Ethical Handbook for Personal Success and Business Prosperity.” According to Goldson’s website, the book “offers a collection of case studies, real and hypothetical, intended to ignite thoughtful consideration of ethical dilemmas in our personal and professional lives. It provides a guided discussion of how to work inward from both extremes toward a rational and equitable middle.” Goldson is a longtime educator and motivational speaker. Goldson is the director of Ethical Imperatives LLC.  For more information about the book, visit