Raising our glasses, virtually

Bari Weiss, guest speaker at L’Chaim event

Ellen Futterman

Despite the pandemic, there is still a lot going on in the St. Louis Jewish community, albeit mostly virtually. First up is the L’Chaim! fundraiser hosted by Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation, slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27.

In years past, this event took place at the Ritz and featured a VIP meet-and-greet, dinner and drinks and a program that included an in-depth look at the organizations, agencies and programs supported by Federation along with a donation request component and guest presentation. At $65 a person, the cost struck me as reasonable, given that food, drink and a prominent speaker were involved. However, this year, with the event being virtual, the cost is just $18.

And while that price doesn’t include a meal, or my favorite four-letter word — wine — Stacy Wagerman, manager of Women’s Philanthropy, says guests can pour their own glass at home while they schmooze at their virtual table, learn about Federation’s outreach and hear guest speaker Bari Weiss, a former writer and editor for the Opinion section of The New York Times and author of the book, “How to Fight Anti-Semitism.” In addition, guests will receive a gift bag that includes a Yahrzeit candle and matches.

“The event falls on the second anniversary of the Tree of Life shooting. Bari Weiss attended that synagogue growing up and had her bat mitzvah there,” said Wagerman, explaining that virtual table hosts are delivering the gift bags to their guests. “We wanted to connect back with her and have everyone light a candle as a community to remember the victims of the shooting.”

While previous L’Chaim! events attracted upward of 600 people, Wagerman said 820 guests have been registered so far — the most ever — and more are welcome.

“Unlike in the past, where the ballroom at the Ritz had a certain table capacity, we can accommodate everyone who wants to come since the event is virtual,” said Wagerman. “The silver lining is that there is no maximum.”

So if you’re interested in attending, get your cleats a clickin’ and go to JFedSTL.org/LChaim2020. For more information, contact Wagerman at [email protected] or 314-442-3730.

Co-chairs for this year’s L’Chaim! are Abby Goldstein, Shana Singer and Sherry Shuman.