On January 8, 2010 the St Thomas Hebrew Congregation of the US Virgin Islands will honor its former rabbi Steve Schafer by naming the Camp Scholarships  The Steve Schafer Scholarships.  Steve is a wonderful person who has contributed not only to St Thomas but to the community and Reform movement. Below is a tribute written by his wife Nina (extracted from the December Bulletin of the congregation.)

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Tribute to Steve Schafer page 1
Tribute to Steve Schafer page 2

Tribute to Steve Schafer page 3

TO OUR DEAR FRIEND, STEVE                                         


Our first meeting with Steve was at the synagogue, on the first Friday night after our family arrived in St Thomas. The connection between our families was instantaneous; Judaism and Israel were always a backdrop to our relationship. Steve’s love, concern and involvement with Israel immediately answered a chord in our displaced hearts, at a time when Israel was not central to the congregation.

 Some friends may think of Steve as a man of many hats reflecting a varied career spanning decades. Eitan and I see Steve as a man of many hands. All of them helping hands reaching out to people. Images flit by:

Steve the father with gentle hand guiding and helping all his children throughout their lives.
Steve walking hand in hand with his beloved Nina through the trials and challenges of life.
Steve’s steady Captain’s hands grasping the wheel of the yacht “Dror” as he looked ahead towards new horizons while gravely giving commands to Nina and crew. Sailing epitomized the freedom to move on to new goals.
Steve’s strong hands gripping a pulpit while reaching out to people in his congregation. Always intensely involved with youth,  he helped shape their education and their future. Anybody in need, regardless of faith or color, was his congregation.
Steve’s hands have reached across the sea to Israel, where he actively worked to establish kibbutzim in the Arava desert and   Mitzpim in the Upper Galilee. He realized his promise to help fashion Israel, a State of which we can be proud.
Steve’s kitchen hands preparing an excellent chili, food for body as well as soul.   
Steve’s hands constantly busy with tools, fixing, repairing and creating. This reflected his vision of conserving resources and   preventing waste.
We remember Steve’s hands, playing on a washboard or a comb harmonica. Music is still intrinsic to his life, answering a deep joy but also because music brings joy to other people.

Steve’s hands are instruments that allowed him to express his concern for his fellow people and help shape his vision of a just world.
And we, with our hands, applaud this gracious, kind and exceptionally talented man, now being honored by this synagogue.

It is a privilege to be counted amongst his friends.

With much love
Doreen and Eitan and the whole Levy family