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Teen Merit-Based Grants

Two St. Louis high school students will be awarded $1,250 each from the Stuart I. Pessin Scholarship fund for travel to Israel in 2018. Candidates will be considered on the basis of a combination of academic and personal achievement. Winners will be notified by late March 2018.

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Applications closed on January 18, 2018 at midnight. 


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.


2017 Stuart I. Pessin Award Winners

Jewish Federation of St. Louis is pleased to announce that Rina Gersten and Yonah Shafner have been awarded the 2017 Stuart I. Pessin Israel Teen Merit Scholarship. The awardees were chosen on the basis of their activities in the Jewish community, commitment to continued Jewish education and high school achievement.

The two 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.


Rina Gersten is a junior at Parkway Central High School and is a member of Congregation B’nai Amoona. She is a member of the Quill & Scroll and National English Honors Societies. Outside of school, Rina is active in USY, JSU, JCRC’s Student to Student and the Movitz-Danforth Israel Scholars Program. She also created a baking business with a friend where all the profits go to a different charities. This summer, Rina will be participating on USY’s Eastern Europe-Israel Pilgrimage.




Yonah Shafner is a senior at Yeshivat Kadimah High School and a member of Bais Abraham Congregation.  He is active in Bnei Akiva, NCSY, JCRC’s Student to Student and the Movitz-Danforth Israel Scholars Programs.  Yonah also participates in the Jewish and Muslim Teen Dialogue.  Yonah’s school activities include varsity basketball, chess club, tennis and the school’s Mock Trial team.  In the fall, he will be studying at Yeshivat Lev Hatorah.





Previous Stuart I. Pessin Awardees

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 Karen Rader at or 314-442-3756.