Chorlins was veteran leader of local B’nai B’rith Council


Joy Chorlins, former president of the B’nai B’rith Council of St. Louis, and a longtime office-holder and leader in numerous B’nai B’rith related organizations, died Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. She was 80 years old and a longtime resident of greater St. Louis.

Both Joy Chorlins and her late husband Ivan Chorlins had been active with B’nai B’rith in St. Louis for decades. Mrs. Chorlins first joined B’nai B’rith Women in 1947, and was a Life Member of the organization, which later became Jewish Women International. Among many positions she held with local B’nai B’rith were having served as co-president of the Yachad Unit #5180 from 1993-95; president of the B’nai B’rith Council of St. Louis; chaplain of the B’nai B’rith Council and chair of several dinners presenting the Guardian of the Menorah Award.

She served as co-chairperson of the B’nai B’rith Cares for Kids program and in leadership positions with B’nai B’rith District Two, including co-chair for Units and chair to BBI Family Issues. She was also the district chairperson to the Anti-Defamation League.

Within B’nai B’rith International, Mrs. Chorlins was charter president of the Mid-America Region of BBI and a member of the BBI Board of Governors and Executive Committee.

Michelle Gralnick, executive director of B’nai B’rith St. Louis, which includes the Missouri Lodge #22, the Singles Division and the 50-Something Group, said, “Joy Chorlins was a beloved leader within B’nai B’rith, holding numerous positions at the local and district levels before becoming the charter president of B’nai B’rith International’s Mid-America Region in 1997. Joy will be remembered as a vibrant woman, with a passion for theater, the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals and B’nai B’rith.

“I was privileged to know Joy for nearly 20 years, and mourn the loss of not just a wonderful leader, but a great lady who embraced life, treasured family and exemplified the spirit of volunteerism. May her memory be a blessing to all who knew her, and may her contributions to B’nai B’rith and our Jewish community be celebrated.” Gralnick added, “The officers, members and staff of B’nai B’rith St. Louis extend their deepest condolences to Joy’s family and thank them for sharing her with us for so many years.”

Mrs. Chorlins’s daughter, Marjorie Chorlins of Washington, D.C., told the Jewish Light that in addition to her mother’s work with B’nai B’rith, she lectured for 20 years for Weight Watchers, taught dramatics at the Temple Israel Religious School and directed a number of plays for Congregation B’nai Amoona as well as B’nai B’rth. “Mom was also active with Women’s American ORT, and thanks to her and her parents our family members have been three-generation lifetime St. Louis Cardinals Baseball fans, still holding season tickets.”

In addition to Mrs. Chorlins and her husband, the couple’s late son Michael Chorlins (Elise) was also a B’nai B’rith leader. Survivors include three daughters, Randye Lyle (Jim); Laurie (Jeff) DeLunas and Marjorie Chorlins (Sigi Friedman) and nine grandchildren.

Funeral services were held last week at Congregation B’nai Amoona, where Rabbi Carnie Shalom Rose officiated, along with Cantor Sharon Nathanson. Burial was at Chevra Kadisha Cemetery on North and South Road.

Contributions may be made to the Ivan & Joy Chorlins International Gateway Fund, c/o Michelle Gralnick, 8711 Delmar Boulevard, 2W, St. Louis, MO 63124, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.