In the News

Renew, Return, Reunite: Welcoming 5782 at CRC
Text reads "5782, the High Holidays at Central Reform Congregation." In the bottom corner, a pomegranate and shofar.

Dear CRC Community,

A few weeks ago we outlined our High Holiday plans and were hopeful that our community could gather again to welcome the new year, 5782, in our sukkat shalom. However, our priority is that we honor CRC’s values of caring for the welfare and safety of our beloved community. The Torah not only teaches us to have a deep concern for public health, but to take measures within our power to prevent disease.  

Throughout our story as a people we have always championed public health systems recognizing that no amount of privilege can protect people from the effects of pollution or pandemics. Knowing what it meant to be blamed for plagues, we worked to understand the scientific causes of illness. We understood the importance of addressing the social, economic, and racial disparities that affect mortality rates and health outcomes. We knew that education was among the strongest indicators of health and life expectancy , so we valued, invested in, and sacrificed for learning above all else.

There were also times in our story when our eyes and hearts have been closed by our own suffering. Times that we have been part of systems of oppression running so deep that we could see or feel the pain of others, losing sight of the very values that define us. When suffering hardens our hearts, we forget that our lives are all connected, one soul bound up with the other, and we become part of the problem, rather than part of the repair. 
As we prepare for this New Year we hope to model what it means to be a community that is willing to sacrifice self interest for the common good and provide a safe and loving holy space and, as always, welcome all who wish to worship with us.

We’ve listened closely to national and local health experts and put much time and consideration in deliberating how we can gather and keep each other safe. Because the High Holidays are so overwhelmingly well attended we’ve made some adjustments to our in person High Holiday offerings this year, as outlined below.

After the High Holidays we will return to gathering, just as we have throughout the summer, for Shabbat in both outdoors and inside at a limited capacity.

Streamed Services:
Erev Rosh HashanahKol Nidre, and Rosh Hashanah Day Two will be exclusively streamed, led by all of our Rabbis and musicians from CRC’s sanctuary.
-The majority of our High Holiday offerings, including what is noted above, are available to watch from the comfort and safety of your home at

In Person Services:
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Morning and Children’s Services, SelichotYizkor and Neila services will be in person outdoors in our Ohel Moed.
-Additional in person services and programming include TashlichBreakout sessions, and a new addition, Community Shofar Events, will be held outdoors at various locations.
Please refer to the service schedule below for more information. 

What is the Ohel Moed?
Ohel Moed translates to tent of meeting and will be the primary gathering place for our in person services.
We are having a 40×100 ft tent installed on CRC’s parking lot in which all of our in person holiday services will take place.
-The tent will be set up with a stage for the service leaders, folding chairs set in pods and appropriately spaced, TVs for video elements, and fans. In accordance with spacing recommendations, the capacity of the tent is 250 seats.
-Outdoor restrooms will be available.

Vaccination Requirements:
-Everyone over the age of 12 must be fully vaccinated to attend High Holiday services.
If you are choosing not to be vaccinated we ask that you choose virtual services.
-Children under 12 years old may attend Children’s Services, Tashlich, and any of the Shofarot Events and must be able stay with their household pod and follow all Covid guidelines including wearing a mask at all times.

Masking Requirements:
-Masks worn over the nose and mouth are required for all individuals in attendance for the duration of the service. For Children’s Services, all children over two years of age should be masked
-Because of the masking requirements and the high potential for spread of the virus, food and beverage will not be a part of this year’s high holiday programming.

Registration & COVID Screening:
Each individual attending a service is required to be registered via Eventbrite and will be emailed a COVID screening tool that includes attestation of vaccination within 48 hours of the service. Both registration and completion of the COVID screening tool are necessary for attendance.
-Volunteers and staff will be available at arrival to welcome and Check-in registered attendees.

UPDATE as of 9/3/21: Members of the community are now welcome to register for multiple services throughout the holidays.

Note: The use of Eventbrite is intended to track attendance and communicate with registered attendees as we navigate our second phase of reopening. We selected it because we appreciate the functionality and ease of communication with our community. The word “ticket” was not selected by us, but is standard in Eventbrite’s programming. We do not intend for anyone who registers for a service to show a ticket and attendance is limited by the capacity dictated by the safety measures in our COVID safety plan, not by anyone’s ability to obtain a ticket.


Parking will be off site in nearby lots with shuttle service to and from CRC.
CRC’s lot will not be available for parking for Yom Kippur (Thursday, September 16).


  • Shuttles will run all day on Yom Kippur to transport people to and from the designated lots for all services and offerings on CRC’s campus each day.  
  • Shuttles will run a continuous route to pick up and drop off at all three lots.
  • Shuttle drop off and pick up will be on waterman at the edge of CRC’s lot

Shuttle Schedule

  • Yom Kippur, Thursday, September 16, 9:00 am-8:00 pm

 Satellite Lots available for parking:

  • The McPherson: 4715 McPherson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
  • The Mahler Ballroom: 4915 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108
  • Rinkskopf-Roth Funeral Home: 5216 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108

Signage and Volunteers will be present in all three of these lots to ensure that you’re in the right place.

Valet Parking

  • Limited and complimentary valet parking will be available on Waterman for those with mobility challenges and the need for handicap accessible parking. 
    • Yom Kippur (9/16) 9:00 am-8:00 pm
    • If you need to utilize valet, please access Waterman from Kingshighway

2021 High Holiday Service Schedule

Yom Kippur

Erev Yom KippurWednesday, September 15
7:30 pm Kol Nidre
This service will be streamed only.
Pre-registration not required.
Stream from home:
Yom Kippur Day – Thursday, September 16

10:00 am Yom Kippur Morning Service 
This service will be In person outdoors in our Ohel Moed and live streamed
Registration to attend in person: 

Breakout Sessions (click to read descriptions of sessions)
12:30 pm- Walking The Labyrinth – Rabbi Randy, Robert Fishbone, and Karen Flotte at the Labyrinth In person only
1:30 pm- A Look at the New Survey on the Experience of Jews of Color -Panelists Tari Nussinov, Tema Smith, and Gawain Jameson, facilitated by Rabbi Daniel, in the Ohel Moed In person and Zoom webinar
2:30 pm- The Psalms as a Path Through the Valleys and Shadows – Rabbis Susan and Jim Zoom only

3:30 pm Yom Kippur Children’s Service
This service is for families with children and will be in person outdoors in our Ohel Moed and live streamed.
Registration to attend in person:
Please note that this will not be a fully vaccinated environment.
While children under the age of 12 are not eligible for vaccination, any adults and members of the household over the age of 12 that are eligible should be vaccinated to attend this service.

5:30 pm Yizkor and Neilah Services
This service will be In person outdoors in our Ohel Moed and live streamed.
Registration to attend in person:
Download Yizkor Book: click here

2021 High Holiday Schedule- Pocket Guide

9/15/2021Kol Nidre7:30pmStreamed Only Yes None
9/16/2021Yom Kippur Morning Service10:00amIn Person, in Ohel Moed Yes Register Here
Breakout Sessions:
Walking the Labyrinth (Rabbi Randy, Robert Fishbone, Karen Flotte)12:30-1:30pmIn Person, in LabyrinthNo None
A Look at the New Survey on the Experience of Jews of Color (Rabbi Daniel with Tari Nussinov, Tema Smith, Gawain Jameson)1:30pm-2:30pmIn Person in Ohel Moed and Zoom Webinar Yes None
The Psalms as a Path Through the Valleys and Shadows (Rabbis Susan +Jim)2:30pm-3:30pmZoom Only Yes None
9/16/2021 Children’s Service3:30pmIn Person, in Ohel Moed Yes Register Here
Yizkor & Neilah5:30pmIn Person, in Ohel Moed Yes Register Here

This page is no longer being updated as of September 23rd, 2021.

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 October 14th, 2021, all those over age 12 who are able to be vaccinated, must be vaccinated to enter the building. We are maintaining our 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 where noted on the event page. 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. As recommended by the CDC, unvaccinated children over the age of 2 should wear a mask. As of October 14th, all those over age 12 who are able to be vaccinated, must be vaccinated to enter the building.
Attestation of Full Vaccination Status and COVID Screening Questionnaire required to be completed to attend

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.