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'Chasing Portraits'

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival will screen the documentary "Chasing Portraits" on Sunday, Aug. 18.


Mental health and mental illness support event: Rabbis Susan Talve and James Goodman will lead “Let No One Go Dark on Our Watch,” part of the Shanda: There Is None series offering support for mental health and mental illness. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex-Arts and Education Building.  

Jewish Film Festival plans August film screening: On Sunday, Aug. 18 the St. Louis Jewish Film Festival continues its 24th year with a screening of “Chasing Portraits” at 4 p.m. at the J’s Arts & Education Building. The film tells the story of Elizabeth Rynecki as she looks to recover the body of artwork by her great-grandfather, Moshe Rynecki. The art mostly disappeared after he was deported to the Warsaw Ghetto and died in a concentration camp. He left a legacy of beautiful paintings depicting everyday lives of a vanished Polish-Jewish community. Elizabeth seeks to rediscover this legacy, setting out on a journey to find what had been lost but never forgotten. Elizabeth will offer an introduction to the film via Skype. Tickets are $13 at the door (student tickets for those age 16 and under are $8). Call the Jewish Film Festival hotline to purchase by phone at 314-442-3179 or online at

Gesher Music Festival highlights chamber music series Aug. 8-18:  Now in its ninth season, the Jewish Community Center’s Gesher Music Festival returns for two weeks in August, offering chamber music with a multicultural twist. The festival runs through Aug. 18 with three formal concerts as well as informal opportunities to hear some of the music and meet the musicians. The remaining events include:

  • On Friday, Aug. 16, festival musicians will perform at Congregation Temple Israel during Shabbat services. There will be a pre-oneg at 6 p.m. followed by services at 6:30. Festival Artists will perform throughout the service, interweaving classical chamber music between the prayers. Free and open to the community.
  • On Saturday, Aug. 17, the festival presents “Shelter From the Storm” at 7:30 p.m. at the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave. in University City. Admission is $20.
  • On Sunday, Aug. 18, festival musicians perform “Sacred Spaces” at 2 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center’s Wool Studio Theater. Admission is $20. 

NHBZ Sisterhood Dine ‘n’ Style Fashion Show: On Sunday, Aug. 18 Come see what’s trending in women’s fall and winter fashions when Nusach Hari B’nai Zion Sisterhood hosts its 4th annual Dine ‘N’ Style Fashion Show & Luncheon at Nusach Hari B’nai Zion. The lower level with be transformed into a fashion “retail market” opening at 10 a.m. with vendors offering creative design jewelry, flameworked glass, hats, scarves, Israeli designs, accessories and gifts. 

The luncheon and fashion show, for women only, begins at 11:45 a.m. Attendees will see modest, versatile and stylish clothing from “Orli’s Boutique” worn by multigenerational NHBZ member models. After lunch, shopping will continue until 3:30 p.m.  The cost is a $27 donation per person ($22 for NHBZ Sisterhood members) with proceeds benefitting NHBZ’s Passport to Israel Program and other Sisterhood projects. A $2 processing fee will be added if paying by credit card. For information or to register, call 314-991-2100, ext. 3, email or visit

Friday | Aug. 16

Covenant Place screens ‘The Mule’:  At 1 p.m. Covenant Place will screen “The Mule,” a drama/thriller about a 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran who becomes a drug mule for a Mexican cartel. The film stars Clint Eastwood. It will be shown in the Helene Mirowitz Theater of Covenant II. Free and open to the public. 

St. Louis NORC book group: The Page Turners Book Group will discuss this month’s book during this St. Louis NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) event. The group meets the third Friday of the month from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at The Gathering Place at the J. All are welcome to join the discussion and contribute book ideas. 

Saturday | Aug. 17

NHBZ Discussion: ‘Friends: Optional or Necessity?’: Aristotle said, “For without friends, no one would choose to live.” Yet creating and maintaining friendships can cut into our very limited free time. Are friendships worth it? Nusach Hari B’nai Zion Rabbi Ze’ev Smason will discuss “Friends: Optional or Necessity?” at 10:15 a.m. This talk is part of NHBZ’s weekly “Starting Points: Wisdom for Daily Living” series, and is free and open to the community. No RSVP is required. For more information, call 314-991-2100, ext. 2.  

Shir Hadash’s Third Shabbat series features film, discussion:  Join Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Community at 10 a.m. at the J for our next Third Shabbat learning program, a screening and discussion of the Israeli film “The Women’s Balcony.” An accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a rift between the men and women in a devout community in Jerusalem in this rousing, good-hearted comedy. Awash in Jerusalem’s distinctive glow, “The Women’s Balcony” is a poignant portrait of a modern community struggling to balance protocol with practical, progressive values — at once rebellious and respectful in spirit. The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles. All are welcome. Shir Hadash meets at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex Arts & Education Building. RSVP to Carol, For more information, visit

Sunday | Aug. 18

Shaare Emeth Simcha Center screens ‘From Paris to Pittsburgh’: Congregation Shaare Emeth will present a free screening of “Paris to Pittsburgh” with support from Parkway United Church of Christ and Interfaith Power & Light. The film is filled with initiatives from community leaders who have responded to the announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. From coastal cities to America’s heartland, the film celebrates how Americans are continuing to take action to transition to a clean energy economy and a more sustainable future in the face of our climate crisis. At the event, the group will also discuss climate action happening in St. Louis and steps one can take to work towards an environmentally just future. 

Mental health and mental illness support event: Rabbis Susan Talve and James Goodman will lead “Let No One Go Dark on Our Watch,” part of the Shanda: There Is None series offering support for mental health and mental illness. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex-Arts and Education Building. 

Jewish War Veterans meeting: Jewish War Veterans Post 644 will meet at 10 a.m. at the Kaplan Feldman Complex. Bagels and coffee will be served. Members are encouraged to bring a Jewish relative or friend who has served on active duty or in the reserves. For more information, contact Post 644 Commander Edwin R. Cohen at 636-536-3818 or Vice Commander Ellis Frohman 636-519-7512.

UH to host My Diversity Circle fashion show and tea: See related story

Monday | Aug. 19

Humans of St. Louis co-founder to speak at Millstone Institute event: The Millstone Institute, a program of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, will sponsor the Annual Presidents’ Circle from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for all board presidents, presidents-elect, clergy and execs/CEOs throughout the St. Louis Jewish community at the Kaplan Feldman Complex. The theme of the program is “The Power of a Story” and will feature Lindy Drew, co-founder and lead storyteller for Human of St. Louis. Participants will experience how to deepen a relationship, strengthen a board or staff team and share the important work of their organization through the power of an individual’s story. For information, contact Marci Mayer Eisen at 314-442-3810 or

Starting Tuesday | Aug. 20

Wise Aging at Congregation Shaare Emeth: Shaare Emeth will hold a six-session program, which aims to enable participants to discover possibilities for living the years ahead with joy, resilience and spirit. The program meets from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost is $45 for members and $60 for guests. The fee includes the book and all materials. Call Debbie Bram at 314-692-5308 or email for more information.

J plans six-week mah jongg class: The Jewish Community Center will hold a new mah jongg class this fall. The six-week class is designed for beginners or anyone needing a refresher on the game. Two experienced instructors will work with a limited number of students in a relaxed setting. Those interested need not come with a group, but will need a 2019 mah jongg card prior to the first class. Cards can be ordered online from the National Mah Jongg League ( A limited number of mah jongg sets are available for class use, but participants are welcome to bring their own. Class begins on Aug. 20 and costs $65 dollars for the six-week session. For more information, contact Diane Maier at 314-442-3190 or register online at 

Ask the nurse and blood pressure checks: From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. the St. Louis NORC welcomes a representative from ResCare to The Gathering Place at the J. Drop by to check your blood pressure and discuss care needs. Free and open to the community but RSVP required to 314-442-3255.

Exploring Life’s Journey discussion group: The Exploring Life’s Journey group will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Temple Israel. The group discussion offers participants a chance to connect with Judaism, one’s spirituality and transform into one’s highest self. The group is facilitated by Jan Nykin, a psychotherapist in private practice with a para-rabbinic certification. Free and open to the community. For more information, call 314-432-8050. 

Wednesday | Aug. 21

ICE Accompaniment Training Program: Many of our neighbors are forced to appear for regular check-ins at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and sub-contractors offices during the process of their immigration case. Accompanying individuals to these check-ins can be a successful tool to protect against unfair treatment and the elevated threat of deportation. Training for accompaniment will be given from 6 to 8 p.m. at Central Reform Congregation. You do not need to speak Spanish to participate in the training and attending the session does not obligate anyone to participate in the program.

JSU plans parent social/meeting: The first parent social/meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the J near Creve Coeur. At the event, parents will have the opportunity to meet the Jewish Student Union team of Rabbi Mike Rovinsky, Rabbi Yitz Staum and Sam Zitin, learn about the current and future plans for JSU and ask any questions.  Refreshments will be served. Visit JSU’s website at for more information about the organization, including a list of programs and opportunities for teens.  RSVP at or contact the JSU office at 314-498-6279. 

Creative expressions art group: Artist Joanne Szapszewicz will lead the St. Louis NORC’s monthly art group, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at The Gathering Place at the J. Participants will express thoughts and emotions through art. An artist journal is required for class. A $3 suggested contribution for supplies. Space is limited; RSVP required to 314-442-3255.

Sharsheret’s Breast and Ovarian Cancer Support Group: The Sharsheret Breast and Ovarian Cancer Support Group offers support to women in the St. Louis Jewish community who have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer and are anywhere along their treatment path – before, during, or post treatment. These casual get-togethers are designed to encourage connections with peers, health professionals and related resources.  Led by a licensed social worker, the group meets 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month at the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur. The group is sponsored by Sharsheret Supports, a project of Nishmah, and newcomers are always welcome. A light kosher dinner will be served. The program is free but pre-registration is required to Debbi Braunstein: 314-442-3266 or

Thursday | Aug. 22

YPD Relaunch event at .ZACK: Join the Jewish Federation’s Young Professionals Division for a special YPD relaunch event from 7 to 9 p.m. at the .ZACK. Socialize with friends old and new. YPD has spent the past year working with a number of Jewish young adults on improving the YPD experience and this event will celebrate the result of those efforts. Hear from the YPD board about upcoming events and the vision for the new YPD. The event will include drinks and a dessert reception. Dietary laws observed. Cocktail attire. Jeff and Randy Vines, owners of STL Style on Cherokee Street, will highlight the impact of community building in St. Louis. RSVP online at

NORC’s 5th Annual Evening of ‘Dancing Under the Stars’: The St. Louis NORC will hold the fifth annual “Dancing Under the Stars” event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the J’s Arts & Education Building. Enjoy music, refreshments and more during this special evening. The cost is $15 per person. Space is limited. RSVP required to 314-442-3255.

Games day at Covenant Place: At 1 p.m., enjoy game day fun. Linda Spitzer Gavatin will teach mah jongg. Bring your mahj card and set, if you have one.  Learn a new game or engage in Mexican Train Dominoes, Rummy Cube or Scrabble.  In the Friendship Room, Covenant II, lower level.  Open to all.  RSVP requested:  314-432-1610.

Sunday | Aug. 25

Traditional Congregation hosts hat and jewelry exchange: Swap the accessories you’re done with for new-to-you hats and jewelry during this event at Traditional Congregation. Start combing through your collection and set aside the items you’d like to swap. From 3 to 4 p.m., bring in items and set up; from 4 to 6 p.m., swap and enjoy refreshments. There is no charge to swap. Minor jewelry repairs will be available on-site for a small donation to Traditional Congregation. The congregation will provide disposable caps for trying on hats and alcohol wipes for trying on earrings. For more information, email or 314-576-5230. 

NHBZ 11th Annual Rabbi Ride-Around & Picnic: It’s the 11th anniversary of the NHBZ Annual Rabbi Ride-Around & Picnic! This year, NHBZ congregants and friends are honoring Rabbi Ze’ve Smason for his past 10 years (500 miles) by riding 50 miles around Forest Park. Be there to cheer them on (or bike yourself) beginning at 10 a.m. at Forest Park shelter #8. This event boasts fun for the entire family with a free picnic lunch at noon, Way Cool Balloons, professional face painting, Origami, a silent auction, raffle drawing, a Chinese auction and attendance prizes for adults and kids. To view some of the items available for both the silent and Chinese auctions, visit No RSVP or NHBZ membership required for this event. For more information or to make a pledge, call 314-991-2100, ext. 2. 

The J plans 29th Annual Tour de Fun: See related news brief.  

Wii Brain Games: Join the St. Louis NORC at 1 p.m. at The Gathering Place at the J for Brain Games with the Nintendo Wii game system. Test your trivia knowledge with an interactive game of Jeopardy. Call Laura at 314-442-3255. 

Sports columnist featured at ‘An Evening of Talking Baseball’: B’nai B’rith St. Louis invites you to join St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist and author Ben Hochman at the Jewish Community Center’s Staenberg Family Complex in Creve Coeur. Hochman will discuss his new book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments that Made the St. Louis Cardinals.” The evening begins at 6 p.m. and includes an upscale ballpark dinner followed by a discussion and question-and-answer session. The event costs $18 a person. Registrations will be accepted though Aug. 22. Register by contacting Diane Maier at or calling 314-442-3190.

Wednesday | Aug. 28

Book club discussion planned at Covenant Place: Join Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael to discuss “The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman at 2 p.m. in the Friendship Room of Covenant II. Free and open to the community but RSVP requested to 314-432-1610.

St. Louis NORC author event: The St. Louis NORC welcomes the community to meet Dan Dillon, author of “So Where’d You Go to High School” from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in The Gathering Place at the J. The author shares of his motivation, research and enjoyment in writing the book on the fun and revealing question St. Louis natives love to ask. Free and open to the community.

Friday | Aug. 30 

Bais Abraham Shir Shabbat welcomes new rabbi: Join Bais Abraham for a special Shir Shabbat at 7 p.m. as the congregation welcomes Rabbi Garth Silberstein to the Bais Abe community. All are invited for Carlebach-style services, dinner, and fun. Meet Silberstein and spend Shabbat with Bais Abe friends. Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv at 7 p.m.; dinner at 8. Joyful Singing led by Alan Nemes and Rabbi Tracy Nathan after dinner. The cost is $10/adult and $6/child. RSVP on the website,, or contact the shul office at or 314-721-3030.


Crown Center & RPI - Introduction to movement: At 2:30 p.m. on Mondays in July, take part in a half-hour class led by trained occupational and physical therapists from Rehabilitation Professionals Inc. All movements are low impact. Free and open to the community. Call 314-991-2055 for more information.

Classes at Covenant Place: Classes are free and open to the public. All are held in Covenant II’s Bohm Social Hall.  For more information, call 314-432-1610. 

  • Chair Yoga is led by Maxine Mirowitz at 11 a.m. Fridays.
  • RPI physical therapists lead Tai Chi at 11:15 a.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. Thursdays, and chair aerobics exercises at 11 a.m. Tuesdays.
  • Covenant Chorale, conducted by Robert Denison, practices Wednesdays at 1 p.m. Instruction and help with parts are provided. All adults are welcome.
  • Charlie Foxman leads Balance & Bands, a class focusing on movement and balance for all levels at 11 a.m. Wednesdays.
  • “To Your Health”  with an AW Health Care Registered Nurse, who is available to discuss medical concerns at 9:30 a.m. Mondays.
  • Knitting With a Purpose, led by Jerri Livingston, meets Tuesdays 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Bring knitting needles if you have them.

St. Louis NORC classes: On Tuesdays, St. Louis NORC offers a chair yoga class from 11 to 11:45 a.m. The class, led by J instructor Nancy LeClaire, focuses on flexibility, balance, stress relief and camaraderie. Call Laura for details, location and cost: 314-442-3255. The NORC will also offer a current events discussion group on Tuesdays  from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., in The Gathering Place at the J. In addition, every Tuesday from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m., the NORC Knit Group is collaborating with Covenant Place to meet for a weekly knit group.  Enjoy socializing, knitting, crocheting, crafting and receiving instruction from volunteer knit expert, Jerri Livingston on Tuesdays at 1:15 pm in the Covenant II building. 

Local Jewish organizations and congregations can submit calendar items and news releases to


Jewish institutions: Bais Abraham Congregation: 6910 Delmar Blvd.• B’nai Amoona: 324 S. Mason Road • Central Reform Congregation: 5020 Waterman Blvd. • Congregation Temple Israel: 1 Rabbi Alvan D. Rubin Drive • Crown Center: 8350 Delcrest Drive • The Gathering Place at the J: 2 Millstone Campus Drive • Jewish Federation’s Kaplan Feldman Complex: 12 Millstone Campus Drive • Nusach Hari B’nai Zion: 650 N. Price Road • Traditional Congregation: 12437 Ladue Road • Other Locations: COCA: 524 Trinity Ave. • .ZACK: 3224 Locust St.