a Jewish presence in the City of St. Louis
Whether you are a member or a friend, you are welcome at CRC. Please join us at our upcoming services, programs or events.
Rabbi Deana wrote a powerful message about the Sin of Neutrality that truly resonates with our feelings about recent events. Please click here to read her beautiful words.
CRC is again joining other St. Louis Jewish organizations and congregations to participate in the 2015 St. Louis Pride Fest. June is Pride Month for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. During June’s last weekend, the community comes together for Pride Fest, a festival held downtown at Soldier’s Memorial and a parade on Sunday. Click here to watch a video that shows you what PrideFest is all about!
Here’s How You Can Help:
1. Walk in the Parade. Join us in the St. Louis Pride Parade on Sunday, June 28. We’ll walk together to demonstrate that our communities are open wide to all who wish to join us. Please wear blue!
2. Staff the Jewish Communities Booth at Pride Fest! We need people on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll have information about Jewish organizations, including CRC, where members of the LGBT community can find a welcoming environment. We need volunteers for two-hour shifts between noon and 9:30 pm Saturday and 1:00 pm and 7:30 pm Sunday. Click here to sign up for a shift.
To volunteer to walk in the parade and/or sign up to staff the booth, please contact Jennifer Bernstein at (314) 361-1564, ext. 117 or email@example.com.
I knew during our first phone call that David Kaskowitz (pictured right) and I would be a good match in the Blessing Buddy Program. “So David”, I innocently stated, “I’ve heard you’re 90.” “Oh no!,” he emphatically replied, “I’m 89!”
Thus began what has turned out to be a very pleasant relationship which includes a lot of laughter and joking around, exactly the kind of medicine we all need. Learning about David’s life has been a great gift to me, as has been sharing my own with him. We see each other every 2-3 weeks.
David was born in Poland in 1924. When he was 6, he and his mother came to the U.S. to join his father in St. Louis who had been here three years. They lived around North Grand which was a Jewish enclave. An uncle gave them a house to live in, with an apartment they could rent out for added income.
David’s parents were Orthodox and spoke Yiddish, which David can still speak some today. During his early school years a teacher noticed and encouraged his aptitude for art and thus began a lifelong passion. After serving at a posting in New Orleans during WW2, he used the GI Bill to attend Wash U Art School where he met Dorothy, his wife to be. They would often go to Union Station with a couple other students and draw people who were alseep, waiting for their trains the next day.
During art school he was able to go to Paris to study with the French artist Fernand Léger at the famous Folies Begere. But he found his time in Paris weighing on him, so far from home, and it was Dorothy’s letters to him that provided a lifeline. Upon returning to NYC on the Queen Mary, on Valentine’s Day, she was waiting for him at the end of the gangplank in NYC. They married later that year and had two children, Rochelle and Donald.
David held a number of jobs in retail clothing stores, worked as an elevator operator, then got his last job at the Yellow Pages illustrating ads. He was there for 30 years.
His initial connection to CRC was not atypical. When Dorothy died about 15 years ago, Rabbi Talve officiated at the funeral, not even knowing them. She made the experience so meaningful, so personal, that he was drawn to the congregation where he can be seen many Shabbat mornings, often next to his friend Mark Maloney whom he picks up on his way to services…yes, David still drives.
David and I have spent time in each other’s homes (he always has snacks waiting at his). And I once gave him a tour of mural work that my late wife Sarah and I had done around town.
David had a retrospective at the Ethical Society in 2013 and continues to do weekly figure drawing at UMSL. He has also exhibited at Crown Center where he lives. He now prefers to use markers as there is a broad spectrum of colors available and unlike using paint which is always very involving, and messy, “I can just take the top off and draw”, he said with an impish smile.
While our art background is an obvious connection, it is more our willingness to just spend time together that is the value of being in the Blessing Buddy Program. We both know the preciousness of life, how quickly it goes by, how at any moment it can be altered by the greatest losses, and the greatest joys.
Gratitude and acceptance are the keys to moving with life, as is a faith in the Divine. David’s life is a testament to how one can honor this gift we are given. I am blessed to have him as a buddy.
To sign up for the Blessing Buddy Program, or for more information, please contact Wendy Bell at (314) 361-1564, ext. 104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On May 14, over 100 people joined us last night for an amazing opportunity to get engaged with CRC. We first gathered in the multipurpose room for a delicious pizza dinner and great conversation with our fellow members. We then made our way into the sanctuary, where Rabbi Randy gave us an inspiring teaching about the Erev Rav, the Mixed Multitudes (which was very high tech, so let's give it up to Rabbi Randy!). We then split up into committee meetings where participants learned about the various ways they can get involved at CRC. Be sure and click here to learn about all of our wonderful opportunities for YOU.
Thanks to your dedication, CRC raised over $5,400 from over 100 unique donors, far surpassing our expectations! This was such an incredible day and we truly enjoyed sharing stories about all the wonderful work our rabbis, volunteers, staff, members, not quite members, community partners, and others do to build this world from love. We're so proud to be a part of this community and to call you our supporters and friends. Thank you for everything you do!
The Joint Venture celebration was an extremely moving and important gathering. The sanctuary was filled to the brim with members of both CRC and Christ the King. Our rabbis and Reverend Blackmon spoke beautifully and the dialogues among participants will play a role in helping our city heal. Please enjoy the pictures below, courtesy of Lisa Mandel. Click here to view more pictures.
When you shop on Amazon Smile, Amazon will make a donation to Central Reform Congregation. It is a quick and easy way to help raise money for CRC!
We are now live-streaming our Friday night services. Click the "U" button (USTREAM) on the bottom of the left panel. In the search window (top, center), enter central reform congregation Shabbat, and click on LIVE. We will archive the services and these will be available for later viewing on the site.
In the same panel, you can connect to our Facebook page, our Twitter page, and directly e-mail CRC.
Connecting at CRC...
Our recent CRC Engagement event brought out many CRC members and potential members who explored how they could become involved in the life and work of CRC. Didn't make it or are curious? Click here to read the details of our opportunities. Click here to let us know your interests.
Looks like every other link? Yes, but this one is the key to our on-line catalog of books. You can check by author, title or subject matter to see what books we own and which of them are available for check-out, i.e. “IN.” The option to reserve items on-line is not yet available. Try it. See what we have and visit the library when you are here.
That’s who we are, our definition, our gift, our contribution. Our edge. What makes us unique. We are people of the text.
Come and read with me. I’ll show you some things. Texts: few rules, some guidelines.
The word as text. Music too. How the music clarifies (or confuses) the word.
Good reading followed by good thinking. Texts provided. Your life as text.
Rabbi James Stone Goodman, Textualist.
CRC's University Series is free and open to the public.
June is Pride month! To get everyone excited about PrideFest, we are going to hear from Kirstin Palovick, St. Louis Regional Field Organizer from PROMO and Rabbi Micah Buck Yael, Community Chaplain for the Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
For those who are not familiar with the organization, PROMO is Missouri’s statewide organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education. Prior to joining as a full-time staff member in 2014, Kirstin completed three internships with PROMO, working on political campaigns, designing social media campaigns, and planning major events. As the current St. Louis Organizer, Kirstin primarily works on community education and outreach, business outreach, nondiscrimination policies, and increasing intersectionality throughout the region.
Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael is a native of Washington, DC. A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Micah is passionate about building sacred communities that are spaces of welcome, strength, and growth for every individual.
Rabbi Micah wrote the following about his coming out process for Keshet last year: “For me, coming out has never been as simple as you would think. I’ve done it a few times—I first came out as queer as a teenager, and now as an adult I have come out all over again as transgender. This latest coming-out process has taken me the better part of two years, countless half-steps in the direction of being out, and finally the decision to just trust that it would work out.”
For anyone interested in LGBT issues, it should be a fascinating talk. We will also be giving more information about the St. Louis Jewish Communities effort at this year’s PrideFest. You won’t want to miss out!
If you have any further questions, please contact Jennifer Bernstein at (314) 361-1564, ext. 117 or email@example.com with any questions.
Click here to learn more.
All Fridays at 7:30 pm
Family Shabbat Service
All Saturdays at 9:30 am (except in July)
All Saturdays at 10:00 am
August 8, 10:00 am
August 15, 10:00 am
August 29, 5:00 pm