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

Carl Reiner at the 41st Emmy Awards in September 1989. Photo: Alan Light

Carl Reiner was funny, wise and a true mensch

BY ROBERT A. COHN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EMERITUS July 10, 2020

Although legendary funny man Carl Reiner enjoyed a very full life in which he was amazingly successful in every medium, his passing last week at the age of 98 left our already cloudy world even darker. With the COVID-19 pandemic growing worse and with...

Hebrew school children greet Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, during his 1930 visit to St. Louis.

The Rebbe’s penny: Blessed coin from St. Louis fetches nearly $7,000 at auction

By Bill Motchan, Special to the Jewish Light July 25, 2019

If you could put a value on a blessing, what might it be worth? For a unique, nearly 90-year-old blessing, the going rate is $6,750. That’s the amount a bidder paid last week in Tel Aviv for a well-traveled Lincoln penny, the subject of frenzied bidding...

Shaare Emeth Rabbi Emeritus Jeffrey Stiffman speaks to participants of Seniors on the Move during a tour of the former Shaare Emeth building in University City. Photo: Andrew Kerman

St. Louis Jewish history tour kicks off new program for seniors

By Margaret Gillerman, Special to the Jewish Light April 27, 2016

The Biddle Street neighborhood once bustled with Jewish merchants hawking everything from pickles and knishes to dry goods and shoes.Roxanne Weisman’s grandparents used to live in that colorful old Jewish neighborhood.Later, her family became part...

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (second from right), marches at Selma with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunche, Rep. John Lewis, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Rev. C.T. Vivian. (Courtesy of Susannah Heschel)

Remembering St. Louis Jews who marched with Martin Luther King

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus February 12, 2015

Amid all of the buzz regarding the film “Selma,” it is appropriate to reflect on the actual events surrounding the historic 1965 voting rights marches led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., which are dramatized in the...

Rabbi Yosef Landa, Director of Chabad of Greater St. Louis, kindles a large menorah on the plaza of the St. Louis County Government Center in December, 1986. Photo: David Henschel

In 1980s, menorah on public square caused a stir

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus December 10, 2014

As Jews, should we oppose Christmas trees and other Christian holiday motifs in public places? And if we do oppose these symbols on public property, should we also object to the placement of a Hanukkah menorah in a public square?The latter was the precise...

Author Saul Bellow addresses the audience during his keynote talk at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival in 1988. Light File Photo: David M. Henschel  

Highlights and one shining moment from past St. Louis Jewish Book Festivals

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus November 5, 2014

Marking its 36th – or “Double-Chai” – anniversary, the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival started Sunday with a keynote speech by the legendary Theodore Bikel. It continues with more than 30 authors through Nov. 16.Bikel, 90, best known for his portrayal...

Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Robert A. Cohn

Young love unified St. Louis Jewish community

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus May 14, 2014

In 1967, author Stephen Birmingham launched his bestselling trilogy on the three major waves of Jewish immigration to the United States — German Reform Jews, (“Our Crowd”) Sephardic Jews (“The Grandees”) and Eastern European Jews (“ The Rest...

Early Jewish newspapers included The Jewish Record and The Modern View.  

St. Louis has rich history of Jewish journalism

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus April 2, 2014

Walter Ehrlich, the late local Jewish historian and author of the two-volume “Zion in the Valley: The Jewish Community of St. Louis,” devotes an entire chapter in Volume II to “Press and Politics.” According to Ehrlich, the very first appearance...

While United Hebrew is the oldest congregation in our community, B’nai El was the first to construct a permanent synagogue building in St. Louis. B’nai El’s temple at Sixth and Cerre streets, which served as the congregation’s home from 1855-1875.   

St. Louis’ first synagogue building: B’nai El at Sixth and Cerre

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus February 21, 2014

As part of this year’s community-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis in 1764, Cohnipedia has been focusing on several local Jewish “firsts.” Today’s installment looks at the first area synagogue to construct...

Rabbi Bernard Illowy

Remembering the first rabbi in St. Louis

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus February 6, 2014

In honor of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis in 1764,  Cohnipedia will focus on a number of “firsts” in the local Jewish community. This column’s “first” takes a look at Rabbi Bernard L. Illowy, who in 1854 became the first...

Israel Expo ‘75: Blockbuster event drew 75,000

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus April 17, 2013

In our decade-by-decade look-back at the 50 years since the inception of the St. Louis Jewish Light as an autonomous publication with its own independent board of trustees, we have reached the 1970s. There is no shortage of events to review including:...

Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs meets Pope John Paul II at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis in 1999. Photo from ‘Zion of the Valley: The Jewish Community of St. Louis’ by Walter Ehrlich.

St. Louis rabbi was front and center during historic papal visit

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus March 20, 2013

As worldwide headlines focus on the election and installation of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis I, Cohnipedia flashes back to January 1999, when Pope John Paul II made a historic visit to St. Louis, the first such visit by...

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