Talve, Firestone, Komen, Grand Center in spotlight

Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation is my idea of everyone’s role model, not just for her beauty and brilliance but for her sense of responsibility to the community. Obviously National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) St. Louis Section agrees with me as on Tuesday, Sept. 9 it will award the prestigious Hannah G. Solomon Founder’s Award to her at Ces & Judy’s, 10405 Clayton Road. She is being honored for her courage, conviction and commitment to all the issues that speak of the mission of NCJW: social justice, interfaith relations, civil rights, reproductive freedom, access to health care, human welfare and progressive change in the St. Louis community. Through her work over the past 25 years, Rabbi Susan has inspired and motivated women of all ages to get involved, make a difference and become agents of change. Tickets to the 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. event, which NCJW calls “Celebrating Women 2008,” are $40 for NCJW members or $45 for non members and may be obtained by calling 314-993-5181.

Dorothy Firestone’s delightful Table Talk: a Cookbook and Memoir will be the subject for discussion at the combined OASIS-JCC class on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, #2 Millstone Campus Drive. Dorothy, food writer and longtime food columnist for this newspaper, brings together food, talk and family stories in her book. In this “Meet the Author Class” she will discuss Jewish culture and food. To register for the class which costs $10, call OASIS at 314-539-4555.

The ‘Dancing in the Street Festival” on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 9 p.m. in Grand Center is a grand kick off for the area’s performing arts season. “Spectacular” is an understatement for the second annual, free event featuring 50 dance companies with nearly 700 dancers performing a variety of dance styles, including tap, ballet, clog, modern, hip hop, tango, flamenco and more on four outdoor stages set up for this juried dance festival, all within easy walking distance of each other. In addition The Fabulous Fox will be open from 12 to 4 with free mini-tours, popcorn and soda, Stan Kann at the mighty Wurlitzer and the renowned Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. As if all this were not dayenu, Grand Center’s multitudinous galleries and museums will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.

As part of the celebration, Grand Center will introduce “Neighborhood Watch Stilts International” from New Castle Upon Tyne, England, stilt dancers who create a breathtaking sculptural ballet. I understand that their “Les Oiseaux de Lux” performed in multiple colors of bird costumes is absolutely stunning. On the Fox Tap Stage located on Olive between Grand and Spring, more than 15 local tap dance troupes will perform as well as the Rockettes who will appear from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

It’s also opening weekend for the Saint Louis Symphony with conductor David Robertson and pianist Yefim Bronfman. You will be surprised, I am certain, at the number of restaurants that have sprung up in Grand Center including two brand new additions, Wm. Shakespeare’s Gastropub and Triumph Grill. For more information on “Dancing in the Street”, call 314-289-1591 or log on to www.grandcenter.org.

Susan B. Komen, former St. Louisan and cancer victim, has become the poster girl for breast cancer. On Oct. 11 the St. Louis Affiliate of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (now a national organization) will host its first-ever Pink Tie Ball, a formal dinner dance to raise funds for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. The pink-themed gala will be held at 6:30 p.m. at The Ritz Carlton St. Louis. Male guests need not rummage through their drawers to find that old black tie as they will be given a fresh new pink one to match their partners’ pink gowns. For reservations beginning at $250, per person call 314-569-3900 or visit www.komenstlouis.org.

My favorite bird dog, Alice Handelman (not a nice thing to say about a pretty blonde but she is the source of lots of column material) tells me that Nancy G. Brinker promised Susie Komen, her dying sister, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure which today is the largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.

Nearly $1 billion has been raised to fulfill that promise. On Oct. 11 Nancy Brinker, former Ambassador to Hungary and now Chief of Protocol for President George W. Bush, will be here, probably in her pink dress accompanied by Dr. Eric Winer, Chief Scientific Advisor. President of the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is Susie Knopf who is also serving as inaugural co-chair with Cindy Prost.