When Recognizing Professionals Creates Community Unity

Execs posingby Marci Mayer Eisen

“Our sages teach us that we merited the Torah because of the family like atmosphere at the foot of Mt. Sinai. This means the unity and oneness of the entire nation. The JPro luncheon represents our community celebrating together as a family.”
Rabbi Shaya Mintz (St. Louis Kollel) and Mindi Mintz (Torah Prep School)

A number of communities across the country honor professionals through annual awards, primarily career achievement and emerging leaders. St. Louis, through the local JPro professional association, is unique in its presentation of eight different awards to staff from across the spectrum of the entire community. Now in its ninth year, categories include those who don’t usually receive community recognition, including support staff and pillar awards. Nominations are solicited from all professionals, and honorees are then chosen by a committee of JProStl leadership and former award recipients.

JProStl provides training, resources and networking opportunities and the luncheon is the highlight of the year for many who work in the St. Louis Jewish community. With the theme of “Celebrating Community – Honoring Professionals” attendance the last three years topped 300, with more than 200 staff members from over 35 different organizations and family, friends and lay leaders. The event provides an opportunity for staff to feel a connection to the entire Jewish community and elevates the honor of working in the Jewish community for staff themselves as well as the lay leaders and other guests.

The luncheon includes door prizes and recognition of years of service for all staff in attendance. Executives, many of whom only see each other at JPro programs, enthusiastically come together to serve lunch.

This year’s honorees represent a cross section of the community by position and organization, including two Reform temples, Chabad, Aish HaTorah, Community Day School, Torah Prep School, Agudas Israel and the JCC.

JProStl is affiliated nationally with JCSA, Jewish Communal Service Association of North America. All JProStl programs are made possible by the Lubin-Green Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. JProStl is an initiative of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ Millstone Institute for Jewish Leadership. For more information visit www.millstonestl.org/jpro14 or contact Marci Mayer Eisen at 314-442- 3810 or meisen@jfedstl.org to learn how to develop or expand professional recognition in a local community.

Marci Mayer Eisen is Director of the Millstone Institute for Jewish Leadership at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. She and Alisha Goodman are co-chairs of local groups for JCSA.