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.

Blessing Buddy Spotlight - Robert "Honi" Fishbone and David Kaskowitz.

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 his 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 wendy@centralreform.org.

CRC Got Engaged!

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.

CRC Rocked STL Gives Day...Thanks to 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!


Would You Like to Help CRC by Going to a Cards Game? ONLY FIVE GAMES LEFT!

A very generous CRC donor kindly gifted 20 sets of four tickets (section 142, row 24). The following games are still availale: Wednesday, June 3, Noon vs. Milwaukee,  Friday, July 3, 7:15 pm vs. San Diego, Monday, July 27, 7:15 pm vs. Cincinnati, Wednesday, August 12, 7:15 pm vs. Pittsburgh, Tuesday, September 8, 7:15 pm vs. Chicago, and Thursday, September 24, 6:15 pm vs. Milwaukee. 

Tickets are available for purchase at $75 each (less than face value) and will not be tax deductible. Tickets will be sold in groups of four ONLY. These are sure to go quickly! For more information or to purchase a set of tickets, please contact Jennifer Bernstein at (314) 361-1564, ext. 117 or jenniferb@centralreform.org. 100% of the proceeds will go to CRC!

It's Time to Have the Debate!

CRC was proud to be among the hundreds of people who called for Medicaid expansion and encircled the Senate chamber Thursday, delaying the state's upper chamber about an hour. People are getting fed up with the lack of movement on Medicaid expansion. Senator Ryan Silvey (R) from Kansas City, used a bill that would subsidize insurance for dairy farmers — passed Thursday by the Senate — to point out the hypocrisy of not talking about Medicaid. If you would like to help, please click here.


Hien-haw Liow's D'var Torah

The weekend of January 9th was a very special one for both our friend Hien-haw Liow and CRC. Hien is a Washington University graduate student from China who has been studying Judaism for the past few years. If you are a regular Shabbat service attendee, you have no doubt seen his smiling face and held a wonderful conversation with him. He made his conversion to Judaism official on January 9th, and on January 10th, he was called to the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah (where he chanted Torah in both Ashenazi and Sephardic Hebrew)! For those of you who could not be there, we wanted to make his beautiful D'var Torah available to read (click here). His mother was able to stream the service all the way from China. Click here to read her blessing for Hien. Mazel tov, Hien, and welcome to the tribe!

CRC MLK Celebration

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.

Weatherization Project a Huge Success!


As one of Central Reform Congregation’s longest community partnerships, we have been helping weatherize in the Grace Hill neighborhood since 1990. We worked with a team of other community volunteers to place plastic on interior windows of select area resident homes to keep our neighbors warm this winter. This year we focused on elderly residents within the Grace Hill service area. A huge thank you goes out to Marcy Brodsky, who worked extremely hard to make these two days happen. 

Help Support CRC when you shop on Amazon

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!


Live-Streaming Kabbalat Shabbat Services

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.

Weekly e-announcements:

This Week - May 21, 2015

Your Library: Our Sifriat Shalom

CRC Library Catalogue

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.

Rabbi Susan - A Crash Course on Israel literacy 
Tuesdays in May, 7:00 pm

As our Israel circle is revived there is hope for opportunities to have courageous conversations about our relationship to Israel as American Jews.  In our May series we will look at some of the terms and concepts that may be keeping us from coming to the table.  

May 5 - What is Zionism and what is racism and why do some people speak of them together?  
May 12 - New forms emerging from Israel in art, music, and literature that tell  a different narrative.
May 19 - What is the BDS movement (boycott, divestment, and sanctions)?  What are some of the thoughts on a two state verses a one state solution to the conflict and to the occupation? 
May 26 -  The alphabet soup of American/Israeli PACS and programs.  What really is AIPAC and how is it different from JStreet?   Why is Bend the Arc creating a new PAC and where does that fit with RHR and Truah, JVP, and the other peace organizations and programs?  Is Birthright-Taglit helping our young people to understand the challenges of Israel and equipping them with a realistic view of the situation? Where do our JCRC and Federation fit into our relationship with Israel?

May Social Responsibility Shabbat - Friday, May 15, 7:30 pm *

Did you know that Missouri is one of the country’s human trafficking hot spots? Would you know what to look for or what to do if you suspect a human trafficking situation? Please join us to learn more about this devastating issue. 

Our presenter Amanda Colegrove is the organizer for the Coalition Against Trafficking & Exploitation (CATE). Along with coordinating the coalition’s work of raising public awareness, she trains law enforcement, social service providers, and healthcare professionals in the greater St. Louis area to recognize human trafficking in their professional setting. Additionally, as coalition organizer, Amanda facilitates collaboration among social services and law enforcement to better serve victims of human trafficking. For her master’s degree, she developed a model for assessing the risk of human trafficking in Missouri.

If you have any further questions, please contact Jennifer Bernstein at (314) 361-1564, ext. 117 or jenniferb@centralreform.org with any questions.

*May’s Social Responsibility Shabbat will be on the third Friday due to Confirmation.

CRC is proud to be an active member of Missouri Health Care for All.

Click here to learn more.


Shabbat Services

Kabbalat Shabbat 
All Fridays at 7:30 pm

Family Shabbat Service
All Saturdays at 9:30 am (except in July)

Shacharit Service
All Saturdays at 10:00 am

B'nai Mitzvah

Yaheed McCurry
May 23, 10:00 am

Dylan Fox
May 30, 4:00 pm

Charlie Hill
June 6, 10:00 am

Kylie Goldfarb
June 6, 5:00 pm

Oliver Brown
June 13, 4:00 pm

Emma Sock
June 20, 10:00 am

Jonah Wilson
June 20, 4:00 pm