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Teen Merit-Based Grants

Applications for teen travel in 2021 are now closed.

Four St. Louis high school students will be awarded $1,250 each from the Stuart I. Pessin Scholarship fund for travel to Israel in 2021. Candidates will be considered on the basis of a combination of academic and personal achievement.


Stuart I. Pessin Teen Israel Grant Application

Candidates will be considered on the basis of a combination of academic and personal achievement.

Please submit this completed application along with:

  • A personal statement answering the question: Given that many students share common experiences, what sets you apart and is unique about your interests and passions?
  • A resume detailing extracurricular activities both in the Jewish community and the community at large, awards, honors, skills and talents.


2021 Stuart I. Pessin Award Winners

Jewish Federation of St. Louis is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the Stuart I. Pessin Award: Liam Oiknine, Liam Harir, Hayley Lerner, and Noah Kleinlehrer.

The awards, which are allocated from the Stuart I. Pessin Scholarship Fund, compliment the existing Israel grant program funded by Jewish Federation of St. Louis. The merit-based award provides a means for select high school students to receive community funds by demonstrating their commitment to Judaism and the St. Louis Jewish community.


Liam Harir is a senior at Lafayette High School and a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona. He also spends two hours a day studying at South Technical High School in Sunset Hills to prepare for a career in technology. In February 2020, he achieved his Microsoft Technology Associate Certification. Liam was on the swim team for four years and works as a lifeguard at the J. He enjoys being a counselor with the Tzofim (Israeli Scouts). For his gap year, Liam will be attending the Aardvark Israel Tech Track where he will study app development and have the opportunity to intern for a startup in Tel Aviv. After returning from Israel, Liam will attend Bradley University.

Liam Oiknine is a sophomore at Ladue High School and a member at Congregation B’nai Amoona. At school, he is involved in DECA and UNICEF while also playing on the JV basketball team. Outside of his school activities, Liam also plays soccer with the St. Louis Football Academy Team and practices piano weekly. Liam attended Blue Star Camp in North Carolina for seven summers, participates in local BBYO events, and enjoys celebrating Shabbat every Friday night with his family. Liam will be spending the summer in Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program.

Hayley Lerner is a sophomore at Parkway Central High School and a member of Traditional Congregation. At school, she is involved with Young Women in STEM and plays on the varsity tennis team. Hayley attends Camp Ben Frankel and participates in the JSU club at school. She works part-time as a receptionist at a salon, is a youth tennis instructor and has a jewelry-making business. Hayley will be spending the summer in Israel at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program.


Noah Kleinlehrer is a junior at MICDS and a member of Temple Emanuel. At school, he is involved with the Community Service Committee, Young Democrats, Changemakers, and plays on the soccer and baseball teams. Noah enjoys skiing and is on the Hidden Valley Ski Travel Team. At his congregation, he reads Torah, blows the shofar, and is a teaching assistant at religious school. Noah also is involved with Student to Student and is a co-editor of the Jewish Light Teen Page. Noah has attended Camp Micah since he was five years old and will be attending Camp Micah in Israel this summer.

Previous Stuart I. Pessin Awardees

2020       Amarah Friedman, Rachel Perera, Halle Wasserman, Ethan Winograd
2019       Jonah Boyer, Emma Cantor, Amit Harir & Kobi Recht
2018       Jacob Mann & Melissa Rush
2017       Rina Gersten & Yonah Shafner
2016       Aaron Koshner & Eitan Oberlander
2015       Kyla Gersten & Rachel Somorov
2014       Sarah Casteel & Jonathan Samuels
2013       Ryan Finkelstein & David Iken
2012       Andrew Brick & Noah Oberlander
2011       Shira LeDeaux & Miranda Siler
2010       Ethan Bennett & Hannah Kaiser
2009      Hannah Barg & Jennifer Koshner
2008      Lior Melnick & Stuart Portman
2007      Jennifer Levy & Phillip Weber
2006      Alana Baron & Donna Iken
2005      Jamie Dalin & Avraham Rovinsky

If you have any questions, contact Jody Gerth at or 314-442-3881.