In the News

Renew, Return, Reunite: Welcoming 5782 at CRC

In anticipation of the High Holiday season, CRC has been  busy crafting a plan that will warmly welcome our community to return to our sukkat shalom and renew connections to tradition and  each other. 

We want to share a preview of what to expect as we welcome a new year:

While the past 18 months have been anything but “normal” we have been touched and inspired to see how people have chosen to engage in our multitude of  services and programming offered virtually.  As we’ve reopened, it is apparent that our congregants want  choices in how they access what we offer. In that spirit, this year’s High Holiday services will be available in a variety of formats.

Services for Selichot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Simchat Torah will be held on CRC’s campus and live streamed to create a multi access experience and ensure that everyone who wishes to gather, be it in person or virtually, can engage. We welcome you to select the option that is best for you, your  household, and your level of comfort in large gatherings.

Services in CRC’s Sanctuary will be available for fully vaccinated members of the community. This includes Selichot, Erev Rosh Hashanah, the first Day of Rosh Hashanah, Erev Yom Kippur, and Yom Kippur. These will take place in CRC’s Sanctuary led by our Rabbis and musicians. Masks are required for all.

Each of these services will be live streamed and available to view from home as well.

We will also have a tent, our Ohel Moed, on CRC’s Campus, that will allow in person access to members of our community that are not vaccinated or are uncomfortable with indoor gatherings, including families with children under 12. Masks are required for all.

Services for Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Yom Kippur will be streamed to the Ohel Moed, giving people the opportunity to be in community and experience the service.

Our alternative services with Rabbi Randy Fleisher, children and teen services, and the second day of Rosh Hashanah, with Rabbis Talve and Goodman and Brothers Lazaroff, will all be offered in person only in the Ohel Moed.

Parking will be available at nearby lots with shuttle service to CRC.  Valet parking will be available for those with mobility issues or in need of special assistance.

Registration will be available via Eventbrite to allow us to monitor capacity and vaccination status for those attending indoor services. We continue to welcome all without the requirement of a ticket to attend High Holy Day services at CRC. Our request for registration this year is only to allow us to create a safe space for gathering during these pandemic times

In early August we’ll send a detailed holiday schedule including each service and program, links to register as needed, and parking details.

We deeply appreciate your enthusiasm, love, and support for CRC’s community and values. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we create ways to be together during this sacred season.

-Rabbi Susan Talve, Rabbi Randy Fleisher, Rabbi Daniel Bogard, Rabbi Karen Kriger Bogard, Rabbi James Stone Goodman

Ways to participate:

Call for High Holiday reading submissions!

As is our tradition,  we invite CRC members feeling inspired to write and submit original essays, prose, and poetry to be considered for a reading at high holiday services.  A committee will review all submissions and communicate with those who are selected about when they are scheduled in the service.We ask that all writings are submitted by Monday, August 2nd via this form: Questions? Email Elana at

CRC Reopening Plan and COVID Safety Protocols

After many months of connecting virtually and careful consideration and planning by CRC’s Staff, Board, and COVID Task Force, we joyfully announce our reopening plan and the return of gathering in community for Shabbat services!

NEW: As of July 27, 2021, we are moving towards a universal masking protocol for all events and services, regardless of vaccination status.

Reopening Plan

Phase One: Begins Friday, June 4 with the first of our in-person offerings for Shabbat services (see full information below) and our building opening for limited use, including The Nest and administrative operations.
Phase Two: Tentatively begins with the High Holy Days, for which we are currently planning both indoor and outdoor options for services, pending the current trend of CDC recommendations
Phase Three: Tentatively begins when Religious School resumes in the Fall. We hope that CDC guidelines will allow most, if not all, of us to return to our Sukkat Shalom!
Our staff is closely monitoring CDC recommendations and remains flexible in our operations as we move in and out of the planned phases. Our summer service schedule is intended to provide a wide array of opportunities for our community to gather and participate from afar while honoring the range of comfort and concerns as we emerge from pandemic restrictions. We are passionate about taking precautions to be sure that all who attend feel comfortable and safe and that those who prefer to participate from home can connect in a meaningful way.

COVID Screening for In-Person Events

Individuals participating in any in person events must have had:

  • No COVID-related symptoms in last 24 hours
  • No COVID-positive test in last 14 days
  • No close contact (less than 6 feet apart for more than 15 minutes or unmasked at close range) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

All of these questions will be addressed in the digital COVID screening tool that will be required to be completed for all event attendees.
As always, the safety of our community is essential in all that we do. As recommended by our safety professionals, security personnel will be provided for all in person events on CRC’s campus.
All indoor services require registration exclusively via Eventbrite, If you have issues with the Eventbrite website, call the front desk and we can help you make your reservation.

Outdoor Kabbalat Shabbat Service- Safety Protocols

Welcomed: People who are vaccinated and people who are unvaccinated
Maximum Attendance: 100 people. Registration not required.
Distancing Requirements: 6 feet of physical distance between family pods, service leaders & singers
Masking requirements:  As of July 27, 2021, we are moving towards a universal masking protocol for all events and services, regardless of vaccination status. As recommended by the CDC, unvaccinated children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.
Proof of vaccination is not required for these services and all registrants will be required to complete a digital COVID symptom screening questionnaire within 24 hours of the event. Food and Beverage are not permitted at these events.

Indoor Shabbat Morning Services- Safety Protocols

These services will be in person as well as streamed for people plan to stay at home and are intended for people of all ages who are fully vaccinated.
Welcomed: Only people who are fully vaccinated
Maximum Attendance: 100, by registration only
Masking Requirements:  As of July 27, 2021, we are moving towards a universal masking protocol for all events and services, regardless of vaccination status.
Attestation of Full Vaccination Status and COVID Screening Questionnaire required to be completed to attend

Outdoor Tot Shabbat Services- Safety Protocols

These services will be In person only, not streamed and are intended for families with children
Welcomed: People who are vaccinated and people who are unvaccinated
Maximum Attendance: 50 people. Registration not required.
Distancing Requirements: 6 feet of physical distance between family pods, service leaders & singers
Masking requirements:  As of July 27, 2021, we are moving towards a universal masking protocol for all events and services, regardless of vaccination status.  As recommended by the CDC, unvaccinated children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.
Proof of vaccination is not required for these services and all registrants will be required to complete a digital COVID symptom screening questionnaire within 24 hours of the event. Food and Beverage is not permitted at these events.

A lullaby for the soul during the coronavirus pandemic

here’s this song I like to hear when I’m sad, because it makes me feel a certain way of happy.

It doesn’t make me happy-happy. It’s not one of those instant pick-me-ups. But the song takes me to a place, every time. Listening to it is a process. An experience. And during this experience, the song nourishes me. It provides perspective, a chance for introspection, and in the end, it makes you believe in believing.

It’s called “Hashkiveinu.” It’s sung by Rabbi Randy.


Watch: Rabbi Randy sings ‘Hashkiveinu’
Central Reform rabbi increases frequency of support group meetings during pandemic

These days, Rabbi James Stone Goodman spends a whole lot of time checking in with folks. “I make myself carry my 50-pound phone around and I call more people every day to see how they are doing,” said Goodman, who is affiliated with Central Reform Congregation. “Then I call their mother, their parents. I’m also talking with all kinds of people I haven’t talked to in a long while.”


‘Frustrated, Angry, Depressed’: Pandemic Takes A Toll On Mental Health

[…] Some religious communities are ramping up their mental health outreach during the pandemic. Central Reform Congregation in the Central West End has expanded its monthly support group for people with diagnoses and their families to once-a-week gatherings.

Read More

Families to celebrate Passover and Easter differently this year amid virus outbreak

ST. LOUIS ( — Passover will begin at sunset Wednesday and Easter will be celebrated this coming Sunday.

Members of both religions will be celebrating differently this year as the coronavirus outbreak requires people to stay home to maintain the general public’s health. So instead of celebratory dinners at home and churches packed with members, everything is going digital. 

Read More

How St. Louis-Area Clergy Are Maintaining Community Virtually

Over the past few weeks, local sites of worship have had to recalibrate how they serve their congregations during a time when coming together can do more harm than good.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced a 30-day stay-at-home order last weekend. The restrictions require people to remain in their homes whenever possible as part of an ongoing effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. There are a number of exceptions to the stay-at-home order, city and county officials said, but religious centers aren’t one of them.


Local clergy ask Parson to issue stay-at-home order

ST. LOUIS – Several local clergies from around the St. Louis area joined a group web conference call on Facebook with a clear message for Missouri Governor Mike Parson.

“Our mission is to make a moral plea to Governor Parson to join the other 18 governors in the country and issue a stay-at-home order,”

Relatively speaking, Missouri has not been hit as hard as many other states.

Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation, says a state-at-home order from the governor would carry greater significance than ones from counties.


13-year-old at Central Reform Congregation finds “silver lining” in postponed bar mitzvah

Henry Rosenzweig admits that last week, when plans for his March 14 bar mitzvah at Central Reform Congregation began to unravel, he was plenty disappointed. 

But in the end, the 13-year-old’s empathy for others helped him refocus his energy and taught him a life lesson he isn’t likely to forget.


These big St. Louis buildings could go uncleaned as janitors authorize strike

[…] Michelle McNeal, a janitor at 1010 Market St., said she is a mother who previously experienced homelessness.

“We believe that $10 an hour is not enough to feed our families, to pay our bill, to be able to do public transportation, to be able to have our medical bills paid for,” she said.

Supporting the janitors at a downtown rally Thursday were Rabbi Susan Talve, St. Louis Building Trades Executive Secretary-Treasurer John Stiffler and Rev. Darryl Gray.


Photos: Interfaith groups gather for ninth annual St. Louis Jewish Muslim Day of Community Service
Jews in the News: November

[…] Rabbi Susan Talve was one of six honorees at the Missouri Health Care for All’s Health Care Champion Awards Reception. The event recognizes legislators, volunteers and community partners who have made an impact in Missourians’ access to quality, affordable health care. 


Rabbi Randy’s chai celebration; NCJW’s Couturier

If pictures were used to explain the meaning of certain words, no doubt Randy Fleisher’s headshot would be found alongside “mensch.” The Central Reform Congregation rabbi personifies the definition of all-around good guy, kind soul and humble spiritual leader not only to members of his own congregation but to pretty much anyone who knows him.


‘No Shanda’ group removes shame, stigma from mental health discussion

Sitting around the table in the Central Reform Congregation library earlier this month, the meeting of No Shanda, a mental health group led by Rabbis Susan Talve and James Goodman, was about to start. Several of the participants chatted with one another. Some sat quietly. I introduced myself to the two women sitting nearest to me. I knew one of their relatives; it began to feel comfortable. The other I had just met on the Oklahoma vigil trip and we smiled at each other.


St. Louis activists protest migrant detentions

[…] The singing gave way to speeches by trip organizers, clergy and other participants.

“We need their holy chutzpah!” Central Reform Congregation Rabbi Susan Talve said. “Let our people and let our families and children go.”

Talve offered a prayer. 

“Loving Creator, thank you for allowing us to be here today to share these words,” she said. “I ask that the ears that hear this message will do good and that the light and love in their hearts will bring them to action to do what is right.”


Reflecting on Ferguson five years later with Rabbi Susan Talve

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – This friday is fifth anniversary of Michael Brown’s death that turned into months of protests, riots, reflection and change.

Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation was on the front lines. She joins us on Fox 2 this morning to take a look back.

Rabbi Susan Talve marched with protestors, provided spiritual guidance and support. She also travels the world advocating for peace and social justice.


St. Louis organizations arrive in Lawton for Ft. Sill protest

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) – Protesters traveling from St Louis are in Lawton, gearing up for protest on Fort Sill Friday morning.

Protesters arrived in Lawton from St Louis, and will march on Ft. Sill to demand migrant children not be housed on post. The organization leading the protest is Heartland for Human Justice.

“We are a group that came together to work on immigration issues, especially to respond to the suffering we see for families,” said Rabbi Susan Talve, a founder of Heartland for Human Justice.


New fellowship aims to reach multifaith couples

About three years ago, Rabbi Karen Bogard had to make an uncomfortable decision. 

She had received a request from a cousin who had been Bogard’s maid of honor. The cousin wanted Bogard to officiate at her wedding. But for Bogard, there was an issue: Her cousin was marrying someone who was not Jewish. 


Rabbi Susan Talve Shares What She Observed In Guatemala As Global Justice Fellow

The southern border of the U.S., along with the people who live somewhere beyond it, can seem far removed from the St. Louis region. But for local Rabbi Susan Talve, who recently returned from Guatemala, the difficult situations facing many of America’s southern neighbors feel more urgent than ever.