Schechter ‘Main Event’ lauds three honorees

BY MIKE SHERWIN, STAFF WRITER

The Solomon Schechter Day School paid tribute to three of the school’s strongest supporters at its annual “Main Event” fundraiser.

At Congregation B’nai Amoona on Saturday night, 350 people turned out to take part in the gala, which raised $110,000 for the school.

The “Main Event” paid tribute to outgoing Head of School Gail Armstrong and recognized Dr. Phillip and Arleen Korenblat as the 2007 Event Honorees and Milton Movitz received the Leo I. Mirowitz Distinguished Service Award.

Armstrong was praised for her 16 years of service at the school, in a variety of roles, beginning as teacher, and most recently as head of school for the past two years after one year as interim head of school.

Dr. Phillip and Arleen Korenblat

Dr. Phillip Korenblat’s curriculum vitae of over 40 pages points to his distinguished career as a doctor, becoming a nationally respected physician in the field of asthma, allergy and clinical immunology, and he serves as the director of the Clinical Research Center.

Dr. Korenblat is a professor of clinical medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, and was named “Outstanding Teaching Allergist for 2003 by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Arleen Korenblat is a St. Louis native, who has been deeply involved in charity work locally, and has worked with numerous organizations in the Jewish community and in the St. Louis area as a whole. Mrs. Korenblat has worked with Kids in the Middle and the American Lung Association and has served on the board of Congregation B’nai Amoona and on the Jewish Federation Education/College Allocation Liaison Panel, and she currently serves on the Solomon Schechter Day School board.

Rabbi Bernard Lipnick, emeritus of B’nai Amoona, introduced the couple at the SSDS awards ceremony.

“There could not possibly be a more worthy couple to be honored at this Solomon Schechter Main Event than the Korenblats,” Lipnick said.

“The couple, both Arleen and Dr. Phillip Korenblat epitomize all that is good about the Jewish community,” he continued.

The Korenblats established the “Maimonides Fund” at Schechter, supporting learning in the sciences, and both have served on the school’s board of directors. The Korenblats have two grandchildren, Jacob and Andrew, at Schechter.

In addition, the Korenblats gave a grant through the Central Agency for Jewish Education to fund an exploratory committee to evaluate the potential for a pluralistic Jewish community day high school. Phillip Korenblat was recently named co-President of the Jewish Community Day High School Committee, along with Maurice Guller.

At the awards ceremony, Dr. Korenblat said, “Arleen and I are humbled as we attempt to stand upon the shoulders of those committed to Jewish education that have come before us.”

Arleen Korenblat experessed her “sincere admiration of the parents who have chosen to send their children to Schechter.

And, to close out her remarks, Arleen Korenblat announced that she and her husband were donating another major gift to the school’s scholarship fund, continuing to demonstrate their commitment to Jewish education.

Milton Movitz

A native St. Louisan, Milton Movitz is familiar to many in the Jewish community, having served on numerous boards and having been deeply involved with Jewish education and philanthropy.

Movitz became deeply involved in the Jewish community after participating in the Jewish Federation’s Leadership Development Council, a three-year program that led to led to Movitz’s first trip to Israel in 1973 to attend the prime minister’s third economic conference where he met Golda Meir. Since then he has traveled to Israel some 46 times, making the country something of a second home for him. “I drive in Israel, and feel just as at home as I do here in St. Louis,” he said.

“From there, I just got more and more involved,” Movitz said, becoming a board member of numerous Jewish community organizations, including the Federation, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Light, the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center and Camp Sabra.

However, a central focus of Movitz’s work has been education. He has served on the boards of the Central Agency for Jewish Education, Hillel and Solomon Schechter Day School.

At Schechter, Movitz currently serves as vice president for long-range fundraising on the school’s board of directors, and he was a central part of the original campaign for the school’s current home, the Fannie and Ben Chodorovsky Building.

“I think education in the Jewish community is really important, because our children are the future, and we need to give them the opportunity to learn who they are in order to keep our community viable,” Movitz said.

Movitz has four children and three granddaughters. Daniel, his youngest child, who is now at the University of Denver, is an alumnus of Schechter, attending for nine years.

Although Daniel has moved ahead in his academic career, Movitz is still a familiar face at Schechter.

Rabbi Carnie Rose of B’nai Amoona said, “Milton is one of the first people I met when I came to the community. I walked into the Solomon Schechter office and he was just doing this and doing that and moving around, and I said, ‘Who is this wonderful staff person?’ They said, ‘this man’s not a staff person, he’s a volunteer.'”

“He’s a very, very hands-on, active and involved person,” Rose said.

“What I like best,” Movitz said, “is greeting the children in the morning when they enter Schechter, in the hallways or when they are going home and seeing the smiles on their faces.”

Rabbi Bernard Lipnick, emeritus of B’nai Amoona, said he has known Movitz for over 50 years, and he presided over Movitz’s wedding to his wife, Galia, an Israeli Sabra, 24 years ago.

“Milton is a very modest person who likes to do good things for Jews. And he does good things for Jews,” Lipnick said.

“He is deeply committed to Jewish education, committed to Israel and committed to Jewish living,” he said.

Movitz’s work on behalf of Schechter has been quite apparent. He’s the namesake of the Movitz Middle School at Schechter, and he, along with his wife, Galia, are members of the Me Dor L’Dor Legacy Society at the school.

Lipnick said that even though his son is no longer at Schechter, Movitz is continually working to help the school.

“Just the other day, Milton came by to tell me about a new campaign he wants to start for the school, for scholarships and technology at the school,” Lipnick said. “No one asked him to, he just saw a need, and said, ‘I’m going to do it.'”

“He doesn’t worry about obstacles and he doesn’t worry about kudos, about who gets credit,” Lipnick said. “Milton’s just a guy that makes things happen.”

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