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Celebration entertains 1,000 community members with music and comedy

Jewish Federation of St. Louis honored its donors and volunteers Sunday night at the Peabody Opera House with the music and comedy of Tony Award-winning Jason Alexander. An audience of nearly 1,000 people enjoyed the performance of Alexander, who gained fame playing George Costanza on TV’s Seinfeld and also has starred on Broadway and in movies such as Pretty Woman.

The evening began with a celebration of the retirement of Barry Rosenberg, who served as chief executive of Jewish Federation of St. Louis for 20 years. His successor, Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., told the audience, “Barry’s leadership has been instrumental in building an inspiring, caring and united Jewish community.”

In addition to Alexander, Federation shared a new video that highlighted its activities, locally and globally, to ensure Jewish identity, create a vibrant community, advocate for Israel, protect the most vulnerable, develop human resources and strengthen infrastructure. (The video can be viewed here.)

The night honored the donors and volunteers who make those priorities possible. Federation Board Chair Bob Millstone said, “It would not be possible to build and sustain a thriving Jewish community locally and globally without you, our donors and volunteers.” Millstone was joined on stage by Patty Croughan, Federation Campaign Co-chair, to honor the 5,513 community members who gave a gift to Federation in 2012 and 2013.

Alexander’s performance included references to his Jewish upbringing, life in Hollywood and, a topic a lot of people were talking about, his new hair. “You’re thinking, ‘He looks different,’” said Alexander jokingly. “Let’s get it out in the open. I don’t wear glasses anymore—it changes my whole look.”

On a more serious note, Alexander said he was happy to be in St. Louis to celebrate the thriving Jewish community. “My hope is that Jews everywhere will continue to thrive and prosper and elevate human life on this planet, as they have done for centuries,” he said. “I hope that Jewish communities will thrive.”