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Teen Merit-Based Grants

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Applications for teen travel in 2021 are open. Deadline to apply is February 5, 2021.

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.


2020 Stuart I. Pessin Award Winners

Jewish Federation of St. Louis is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the Stuart I. Pessin Award: Amarah Friedman, Rachel Perera, Halle Wasserman, and Ethan Winograd.

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.

Amarah Friedman is a senior at MICDS and a member of Nusach Ha’ari B’nai Zion. At school, she is the Editor in Chief of the Greenleaves Literary Magazine, captain of the dance team, a member of mock trial, and involved in theater. She participates in JCRC’s Student to Student program and has been involved with Banot Board and Nishmah in the past. This fall, Amarah will be spending a year in Israel with Kivunim.



Rachel Perera is a senior at Lafayette High School and a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth. At school, she is involved in several different clubs: GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance), JSU (Jewish Student Union), HOSA (Future Health Professionals Club), and Theatre. Rachel participates in BBYO, NCSY, NFY, and JCRC. She also helps with the SuperStars Program, which works with the Special School District. This summer, Rachel will be traveling to Israel with NCSY’s The Jerusalem Journey.



Halle Wasserman is a sophomore at Whitfield School and a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona. At school, she is a Parent Ambassador as well as a New Student Ambassador. She plays field hockey, volleyball, and lacrosse. Halle is a member of Whitfeild’s Women’s Alliance and participates in JSU (Jewish Student Union). She is Membership Vice President of B’nai Amoona’s youth group (BAUSY). She plans programs for regional shabbatons, babysits during Shabbat services, is on the Yad Squad, and will be confirmed in May 2020. Halle is currently spending a semester in Israel with Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY).


Ethan Winograd is a sophomore at Parkway Central High School and a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth. At school, he is a member of the PC Marching Colts, the Flyspace Improve Team, and on the board for Mental Health Advocates. He is a member of BBYO, a madrich at Shaare Emeth religious school, and a counselor at Camp Nadav. Ethan is a drummer and vocalist in several different bands. He will be traveling to Israel this summer on Federation’s Israel Bound trip.



Previous Stuart I. Pessin Awardees

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.