A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch (left) held a press conference on April 25, following the arrest of a suspect in the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery vandalism. 

Florissant man confesses to cemetery vandalism

By Eric Berger, Staff Writer May 2, 2018

Despite more than a year passing since the vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery, University City police had not conceded that the perpetrator or perpetrators would elude them, according to Captain Fredrick Lemons.There was a reason for that optimism....

Scott Biondo, community security director for Jewish Federation, walks through Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery last week, discussing security upgrades with a reporter, including new fencing on the cemetery perimeter (visible at left). Last February, more than 150 gravestones were toppled at the cemetery. Photo: Mike SherwinPhoto: Mike Sherwin

One year later: Chesed Shel Emeth

By Eric Berger , Staff Writer February 21, 2018

If you drive north on Hanley Road past the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery, you will notice a new 6-foot-high metal fence on your left.Or maybe you won’t notice it. When more than 150 headstones were knocked over in February 2017, there was already...

Participants at the ‘Walk in Support of Israel’ hold signs at the corner of Schuetz Road and Lindbergh Boulevard. More than 500 people attended the event, held in May. Photo: Andrew Kerman

Tumultuous 2017 brought joy, sadness to Jewish community

JEWISH LIGHT STAFF January 3, 2018

The year 2017 had its share of highpoints and lowpoints for the St. Louis Jewish community, perhaps the lowest of which came early in the year with a series of bomb threats to local Jewish institutions and the desecration of more than 150 headstones at...

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens greets volunteers at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in February. After news broke about vandalism at the cemetery, Greitens called for volunteers to gather at the cemetery to work on cleanup efforts. To the left of Greitens is Vice President Mike Pence.  Photo: James Griesedieck

Gov. Greitens, Russel Neiss among ‘Forward 50’

By Eric Berger, Staff Writer November 1, 2017

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and Russel Neiss, a local Jewish coder, have been named to the Forward 50, the Jewish publication’s annual list of the “most influential, accomplished and interesting American Jews.”The Forward, the New York-based website...

The morning of Feb. 20, people look over the toppled gravestones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City. The U. City Police say they are still investigating but have made no arrests in the case. Photo: James Griesedieck

As investigation continues, donations to boost security at 7 St. Louis Jewish cemeteries

By Eric Berger, Staff Writer May 25, 2017

By the end of June, Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City will hopefully have replaced the headstones that broke apart during the February vandalism and could not be repaired, according to the cemetery director. Among the 154 headstones that...

Philip Weiss, president of Rosenbloom Monument Co. (center) works to reset headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth on Feb. 21.  Photo: James Griesedieck

Teenagers weigh in on Jewish cemetery vandalism

BY GABE FLEISHER, FRESHMAN, JOHN BURROUGHS HIGH SCHOOL April 13, 2017

When more than 150 tombstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City were overturned in February, news of the desecration reached around the globe. The cemetery was featured prominently in national and international newspapers and broadcasts...

More than 200 people gathered March 8 at Graham Chapel at Washington University to hear Andrew Rehfeld, president and CEO of Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and Tarek El Messidi, founding director of Celebrate Mercy, a Muslim advocacy organization, discuss the response to the cemetery vandalism and how the Jewish and Muslim communities can continue to work together. The two organizations raised several hundred thousand dollars to help Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish cemetery make repairs to the 154 damaged headstones and upgrade its security. Photo: Eric Berger

Panel of activists helps bridge gulf between Muslims, Jews

BY ERIC BERGER, STAFF WRITER March 15, 2017

Andrew Rehfeld, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, did not initially publicly thank the Muslim organization that raised funds to help repair a local Jewish cemetery because he and others had not yet been able to verify that the campaign...

Cantor Leon Lissek

Kidney transplant awareness

Ellen Futterman, Editor March 8, 2017

Kidney transplant awarenessCongregation B’nai Amoona is hosting an informational session about kidney diseases and live kidney transplants at 2:30 p.m. March 19. The meeting is inspired, in part, by B’nai Amoona’s former cantor, Leon Lissek, who...

Torah Prep School of St. Louis students read a prayer after placing rocks atop headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in response to the recent vandalism.  For video clips of the project, visit stljewishlight.com/multimedia. Photos: Eric Berger

Florida child’s project honors those buried at Chesed Shel Emeth

By Eric Berger, Staff writer March 8, 2017

Ayel Morgenstern, a kindergarten student in Boca Raton, Fla., and her family were reading reports of the vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery when one of them saw a familiar name atop a damaged headstone: Rebecca Pearl.It was Ayel’s great-great grandmother. “(Ayel)...

Letters to the Editor: March 8, 2017

March 8, 2017

Takeaways from cemetery incicentThe Jewish Light’s coverage of the recent events at Chesed Shel Emeth and the Jewish Community Center has been excellent and measured. While I can understand how some may fear this is the work of people who don’t like...

Andrew Rehfeld is President and CEO of Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

Build on unifying response to cemetery ordeal

By Andrew Rehfeld March 1, 2017

Last week an estimated 2,500 individuals gathered to show the world that St. Louis would not tolerate senseless acts of violence, particularly those aimed at minorities.  The desecration of Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery was a signal event for our community...

Letters to the Editor: March 1, 2017

March 1, 2017

City residents should vote yes for Prop. SFollowing a recommendation from the Ferguson Report, Jews United for Justice (JUJ) established an Opportunity to Thrive Task Force. The task force chose reduction of predatory lending as its first target. As...

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A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.