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From Gerry P. Greiman, Jewish Federation of St. Louis Immediate Past Chair

As the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ Immediate Past Board Chair and Nominating Committee Chair, I am pleased to announce, on behalf of Federation’s Board of Directors and Nominating Committee that Greg Yawitz has been asked to extend his term as the current Board Chair for an additional year, through the end of 2022. The Board adopted a resolution to that effect, and Greg graciously has agreed to do so.

When I think back on my time as Board Chair, many of the special moments came when we gathered the community together, in groups small or large. Those moments of common purpose, collegial discussion, and celebration were where I could see the work of Federation in action, building a vibrant Jewish community, securing the well-being and safety of community members, strengthening our connection to Israel and Jews around the world, and developing the financial, human, and other resources our community needs.

I’m sure my friend Greg has had such moments as well, but his term has been different. COVID-19 arrived just a few months after I handed him the gavel. Rather than having the chance to be out among the community, Greg has spent countless hours on Zoom. He has had to deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19, while facing ongoing uncertainty over the direction and intensity of the pandemic.

To his credit, Greg’s term has been filled with significant actions and decisions that have helped countless people, here, in Israel, and around the world. The value of his work cannot be overstated. He led and helped Federation perform its crucial missions of funder, convener, and communicator at a crucial time. Also, he presided over a groundbreaking revision of Federation’s By-Laws, bringing the Federation’s structure and practices more in line with best practices and our 2017 Strategic Plan.

With all he has done, Greg has earned the right to turn the gavel over to someone else. But, he also deserves the opportunity to experience some of the pleasures of presiding over Federation in more normal times. And, with his term straddling the end of the old By-Laws and the beginning of new ones, there is substantial benefit to Federation and the community in maintaining continuity of leadership at this time.

So, it is with great admiration and gratitude that I tell you of the Board of Directors’ and Nominating Committee’ request that Greg continue to serve as Board Chair for another year, and Greg’s agreement to do so. Hopefully, in the near future, the COVID crisis will ease, and Greg will be able to serve the remainder of his extended term without the omnipresent specter of the pandemic.

Greg gets another year and our community gets continuity of leadership at a time when the long tail of hardships from the pandemic is still with many of us and our organizations. Greg’s decision to stay on is truly a blessing for all of us. Please join me in thanking and congratulating Greg.