SSDS fundraiser set to give taste of Vegas

BY MIKE SHERWIN, STAFF WRITER

Poker, comedy and cocktails.

Visions of Las Vegas or the riverboat casinos may come to mind, but on Saturday, Mar. 10, the action will be at Congregation B’nai Amoona for the “Main Event,” the annual fundraiser for the Solomon Schechter Day School of St. Louis.

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“The Main Event” will feature well-known Jewish comedian Avi Liberman, who has performed around the country and has appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and Make Me Laugh, and on The Late-Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Missy Korenblat-Hanin, a co-chair for planning the event, said that in years past, the “Main Event” has typically been set up as a dinner with a guest speaker.

“This year we wanted to really take it in a different direction,” she said. “Our goal was to have a fun, exciting Saturday evening event where people from the entire community could come and enjoy an evening out.”

The evening will begin with the graduating eighth grade class ushering out Shabbat with havdallah, followed by a gala auction.

Guests will be able to enjoy an hors-d’oeuvres buffet and cocktails and simultaneously, there will be a Texas Hold-’em poker tournament.

“People will have options: to sign up for the Texas Hold-Em tournament or the ‘junket,’ which is the auction and the show, or the ‘Chai-Rollers,’ which includes the auction, the show, and a special dessert reception with Avi following his show,” Korenblat-Hanin said.

This year, the “Main Event” is themed Livnot U’lehibanot, to build and to be built, and the event will recognize three individuals who have been integral to Solomon Schechter. Dr. Phillip and Arleen Korenblat are the 2007 Event Honorees and Milton Movitz will receive the Leo I. Mirowitz Distinguished Service Award.

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.

Movitz is vice president of long-range planning on Schechter’s Board of Directors, and he was an integral part of the original capital campaign to fund construction of the school’s current home, the Fannie and Ben Chodorovsky Building, on the campus of B’nai Amoona. Movitz is 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. Movitz is also a member of the Jewish Light Board of Trustees. The Movitzes’ son Daniel, who is now at college in Colorado, attended Schechter for nine years.

Korenblat-Hanin said it was exciting to co-chair, along with Jenny Wolkowitz, the event when her parents are among the honorees. Wolkowitz is also a member of the Jewish Light Board of Trustees.

“They’re very humble people. It’s a very well-deserved honor for people who don’t usually try to be in the spotlight,” she said.

Korenblat-Hanin’s son Andrew is one of the eighth graders who will be doing Havdallah the same evening.

In addition, this year’s “Main Event” will serve as a farewell for outgoing Schechter Head of School Gail Armstrong, who announced at the end of last year that she would not renew her contract at the end of this school year.

Armstrong has been with the school, in a variety of roles, for 16 years.

“The Main Event is a time when a lot of alumni come, a lot of parents who have been with the school a long time, and parents whose kids who have graduated come back for the “Main Event,” for the once-a-year fundraiser,” Korenblat-Hanin said. “So it will be nice for her that people will come back and be able to celebrate with her, her 16 years of nurturing the school and guiding the school in the direction it has gone.”

The “Main Event” will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 10 at Congregation B’nai Amoona. Tickets $118 and are available by calling Solomon Schechter at 314-576-6177. Proceeds benefit the school’s scholarship fund.