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

Unsung Hero Merle Hartstein in her U. City home. Photo: Lisa Mandel

Merle Hartstein

BY PATRICIA CORRIGAN, Special to the Jewish Light May 22, 2011

“There are two ways of helping,“ says Rabbi Zvi Zuravin, executive director of the Vaad Hoeir. “There is helping because you have to and then there is helping because you want to. That’s Merle. She is an extremely selfless person who does...

A 2011 portrait of Fran Cohen. Photo: Kristi Foster

Fran Cohen

BY PATRICIA CORRIGAN, Special to the Jewish Light May 22, 2011

Though pleased by the recognition from the St. Louis Jewish Light, Fran Cohen disputes the term “unsung.” Laughing, she says, “Lately I’ve been sung quite a bit — and I’m kind of surprised about it.” Cohen recently was inducted into the...

Dr. Rebecca Aft. Photo: Kristi Foster

Dr. Rebecca Aft

By Patricia Corrigan, Special to the Light May 22, 2011

Dr. Rebecca Aft spends her days in surgery, in hospital rooms guiding cancer patients to recovery, in classrooms, in a research laboratory — and, at the end of each busy day, at home with her husband, her teenage daughter and her 2-year-old daughter....

Unsung Hero Fritzi Lainoff in 2011. Photo: Kristi Foster

Fritzi Lainoff

By Ellen Futterman, Editor May 22, 2011

She champions the causes about which she is passionate — and there are many — with gale-force determination and vigor. Friends describe her as a “human dynamo” with the energy of someone half her 81 years. What’s clear after spending time with...

2011 Unsung Hero Maris Berg. Photo: Kristi Foster

Maris Berg

By David Baugher, Special to the Light May 22, 2011

Sometimes play can be serious business. It is for Maris Berg when she is helping children with problems in the classroom.“I actually take the child aside and I find out the most about what’s going on in the child’s life by playing with them,”...

Unsung Hero David Oughton. Photo: Kristi Foster

David Oughton

BY PATRICIA CORRIGAN, Special to the Light May 22, 2011

In 1972, when David Oughton was in college, he traveled to Europe and went to Dachau. “Going there grabbed me emotionally, and that visit changed my life,” says Oughton.“Since then, I have tried to learn as much as I can about the Holocaust, what...

Unsung Hero Jack Cohen at Bnai Torah in St. Charles County. Photo: Lisa Mandel

Jack Cohen

By Susan Fadem, Special to the Jewish Light May 22, 2011

Had Jack Cohen and his wife, Laura, not relocated to St. Charles, they likely would still be attending temple only on the High Holidays.Instead, because of the street where they moved and the neighbors they met, Jack Cohen is being honored as a founder,...

2011 Unsung Hero Phyllis Cantor in her Creve Coeur home. Photo: Lisa Mandel

Phyllis Cantor

BY PATRICIA CORRIGAN, Special to the Light May 22, 2011

Ten years ago this October, Phyllis Cantor was named chair of the Social Action Committee at Congregation B’nai Amoona. The position is a perfect fit. “I am all about tikkun olam, repairing the world,” says Cantor. “I believe we have a moral obligation...

Portrait of 2011 Unsung Hero Charles Baron. Photo: Mike Sherwin

Charles Baron

By David Baugher, Special to the Light May 22, 2011

Driven is a word that could easily describe Charles Baron. “What drives me at the moment are primarily issues affecting the city of St. Louis and its future,” said the Temple Israel congregant. “I see evidence of the city’s collapsing....

(From left) Margie Kessler, Steve Sorkin, Marsha Koski, Rabbi James Stone Goodman and Lou Albert of Jewish Prison Outreach board. Photo: Kristi Foster

Jewish Prison Outreach

BY SUSAN FADEM, Special to the Jewish Light May 22, 2011

The myth is that every Jew excels and succeeds. The reality is that those who fail, by conventional standards, are sometimes forgotten. A Jewish prisoner — a seeming contradiction in terms to many — wrote a letter several years ago to the Jewish...

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