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.
Our refugee drive was extremely successful. Thanks to your generosity, and the generosity of our friends from Christ Church Cathedral, we were able to raise over $4,000 for our two refugee families. This is in addition to the numerous blankets, toys, sporting equipment, and household items that were donated (pictured). Everything was delivered to the International Institute yesterday. We are so proud of our two communities for opening up our hearts to these two families so they can have the warm welcome they deserve. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!
After 15 years of dreaming, and two years of working together with artist Siona Benjamin, the privately funded Zodiac Floor of CRC has been installed in the Oneg. Inspired by mosaic floors in the synagogues of ancient Israel our floor takes us through the cycle of the Jewish holidays and connects them to circles of zodiac signs, Hebrew months, and the tribes of Israel.
We hope you enjoy the time lapse video of the installation attached and will come to CRC to explore and discover the many secrets in the teachings and beauty of our floor.
You may have noticed that there has been some construction going on here at CRC. As Rabbi Susan wrote back in May, we struggled for years on a design and process for our floor. The Indian Jewish artist, Siona Benjamin, with input from our architect and original building committee, has worked for a year on a painting that will be transferred to ceramic tile and installed in the Oneg in August. The fifteen foot in diameter artwork takes us through the holidays in an imaginative way that will be a great teaching tool for all ages. There are hidden faces and moons and other symbols that we hope will spark discussion and deepen our understanding of how the holidays are connected and how they can be meaningful in our lives today. The inner circles are based on a teaching from the Talmud that connect the zodiac signs, Hebrew months and tribes. The inner circle evokes both Dina, the daughter of Jacob and Leah who did not get a tribe and the Shechinah, the in dwelling of Godliness that is also depicted on the tzedakah box located at the entrance to the sanctuary.
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.
Rainbow flags were in full force Sunday in many major cities across the U.S. celebrating in annual Gay Pride parades on a particularly historic weekend. St. Louis was no different, and our Jewish Communities brigade was out in full force. Not only we we the largest faith-based group marching in the parade, we very well may have been the largest group overall.
To look at more pictures courtesy of Philip Deitch, please click here!
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 email@example.com.
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!
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.
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.
The Elementals, teachings of the early and later masters, including:
1) Freedom of the Person Freedom of the People
2) The Secret of Sex
3) God Drawn Down
4) Good Reading to Good Thinking
5) Active Waiting
6) A Light Spanned
Rabbi James Goodman digs for pay dirt, opening the vault onto What.
Including an occasional song and quietude because only the still pool reflects the moon accurately.
In Hebrew prayer and song, including the Psalms, the term Selah is often used at the break of a passage as a call to the reader to “stop and listen” before moving to the next passage. Bend the Arc’s Selah Leadership Program is widely recognized as the pre-eminent leadership training program for Jews working in the social justice sector. It trains a cross-section of leaders in Jewish, non-Jewish and secular organizations to be effective, sustainable and collaborative agents for change.
CRC’s own KB Frazier was selected as one of only 22 people across the country to participate in Selah 14 Cohort, which supports the leadership of Jews of Color. At February’s Social Responsibility Shabbat, we will be given the incredible opportunity to hear about KB’s recent experience and how CRC can continue to work toward being a supportive space for all Jews. For example, while the American Jewish community is multi-racial, there are few Jews of Color in positions of prominent leadership within Jewish organizations and few Jewish programs dedicated to specifically serving their needs. We can do better.
KB is a freedom fighting queer, trans Jew whose mission is to dismantle racism and eradicate poverty. By day, KB is the chief audiologist at a local nonprofit and loves helping people hear better through education, diagnostics and hearing aid dispensing. Over the last year, KB has become a drum major for justice leading actions and protests for change in and around Ferguson, MO. KB serves on the boards of the Missouri GSA Network and Central Reform Congregation. KB is currently a cohort leader of the Amir Cultivating Justice STL Project and is a part of the 14th cohort of the Selah Leadership Program.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Bernstein at (314) 361-1564, ext. 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
March 12, 10:00 am
March 26, 10:00 am
April 2, 10:00 am
April 16, 10:00 am