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Jews in the news: November 2018

Keith Alper, CEO & founder of CPG Agency, launched his new book “From Like to Love: Inspiring Emotional Commitment from Employees and Customers.” The book chronicles his experiences as a CEO and his success in working with many Fortune 500 clients to elevate their brands. In “From Like to Love,” Alper presents his process for how organizations “can make a large impact on creating a culture that turns employees into brand advocates.” Alper is a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona.

At the recent Cultural Leadership event, Journey to Justice, Dr. Katie Plax received one of two Troublemaker of the Best Kind awards. This event brought together change makers and community supporters to honor both individual and corporate contributions that advance the organization’s mission to create a just, inclusive and more equitable St. Louis. Plax is the director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine and the medical director of Supporting Opportunities with Teens (SPOT). She has also worked with the Missouri Department of Social Services on issues related to children and youth in foster care and runs a state supported medical home project, Creating Options and Choosing Health (COACH), to serve youth in foster care in St. Louis City and County.

Beth Kodner is the new Camp Emeth director at Congregation Shaare Emeth. She was previously the camp’s program director.

The Alliance for Jewish Theatre honored Kathleen Sitzer for her years of service and dedication to the concept of Jewish theater. Recently retired, Sitzer was the founding artistic director of the New Jewish Theatre in St. Louis. The Alliance for Jewish Theatre is an international organization dedicated to promoting the creation, presentation and preservation of theatrical endeavors by, for and about the Jewish experience. Sitzer is a member of Central Reform Congregation.

Janis Goldstein will be honored this week as the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer by the St. Louis Regional Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Goldstein volunteers on several event committees and boards with local non-profit agencies including the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis Fashion Fund, Gateway to Hope and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.    

Adam Brandvein has joined Manor Real Estate as director of acquisitions. He focuseson acquiring single-family and multi-family properties while representing both buyers and sellers in the purchase or sale of a home. In addition, he leases out Manor-owned apartments in the University City and Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhoods. Brandvein is a member of Shaare Emeth. 

Former St. Louisan Tom Friedman was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award at Washington University’s Founder’s Day celebration. A contemporary American sculptor whose work explores the relationship between perception and logic, Friedman works and lives in Massachusetts.

Jacob Reby has been elected President of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys. ACMA comprises  fewer than 500 private practice and in-house commercial real estate finance lawyers in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. A member of Congregation Temple Israel, Reby is one of 11 lawyers in Missouri elected as a Fellow of ACMA.

Carl Pelofsky is the new head of school for The College School in Webster Groves. He brings more than 15 years of independent school leadership to this role, including his past six years as Head of School at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, Mich.  

Angela Hochman has joined Central Reform Congregation as the communications coordinator. She will be responsible for social media strategies to creating engaging content aligning with CRC’s core values and beliefs. 

Home State Health, in collaboration with its parent company, Centene Corporation, has recognized Dr. Robert Strashun with the Summit Award for Excellence in Care. This award acknowledges his commitment to improving the many lives he touches in the University City community. Strashun attends Young Israel of St. Louis.

Brooke Hyman has joined Genovese Jewelers as a sales associate and jewelry designer. She has an associates’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and a business degree from St. Louis University. 

Cindy Frank has been promoted to senior vice president of operations of World Pediatric Project, with headquarters in St. Louis and Richmond, Va. Previously the executive director of its local office, Frank will be responsible for the development of WPP’s operational management, strategy and execution. WPP brings pediatric specialist care to its 12 partner countries in the Caribbean and Central America. Frank is a member of Congregation Temple Israel.

 Steve Becker is the new director of catering sales for Bon Appetit Management Company at Washington University. He is responsible for directing catering sales, events and the operations teams. Becker attends Shaare Emeth. 

Journalist Abby Abrams’ article, “Guns in America,” was featured on the cover of the Nov. 5 issue of Time magazine. It highlights 245 people who share their views and describe their experiences, plus essays from six prominent writers on finding common ground. Abrams, a former co-editor of the Jewish Light’s Ohr Chadash Teen Page, resides in New York City and works for Time magazine and

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson honored architect Andy Trivers for his work with a proclamation from the city of St. Louis. He has been committed to building on St. Louis’ rich architectural history, focusing on adaptive reuse, historic rehabilitation and new innovative construction projects for future generations. Trivers is a member of Central Reform Congregation.

Jews in the News is compiled monthly by Editorial & Development Associate Elise Krug. Contact Elise at: or 314-743-3671.