Article on the
in the online magazine
By Karen Karabell
Traditional Judaism is again taking root in the City of
The CWE was once home to a significant Jewish institutional presence. Within a two-mile radius of Delmar and Kingshighway, one can find a number of former synagogues, all now abandoned or converted to different uses. As the area's Jewish population joined the post-war exodus to the suburbs, Jewish institutions followed in short order. By the early 1980s, the United Hebrew Congregation on
Since its inception in the mid-1980s, Central Reform Congregation, under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Susan Talve, has enjoyed tremendous success in re-establishing an organized Jewish presence in the
Nonetheless, a number of local residents -- some of them long-time members of CRC -- have felt the need for a smaller, more intimate Shabbat worship service that uses a traditional liturgy.
More than a decade ago,
This minyan draws on students from
For several years, though, a group of city Jews talked about creating a traditional service that would include the full participation of women. (In the world of Orthodox Judaism, women generally do not take public roles in worship services.) This became a reality last fall with the formation of the Traditional/Egalitarian Minyan.
This minyan meets on the third Shabbat of the month at the Central Reform Congregation Education House, 5062 Waterman (the first house west of the CRC parking lot).
The minyan welcomes anyone who is interested in a participatory and egalitarian service within the framework of a traditional Shabbat morning liturgy. Volunteer members of the minyan lead all aspects of the service. There is also a lively Torah discussion and a luncheon afterwards.
"I've been looking for this ever since I left Brandeis (University)," said Shari Allen, who was delighted after attending services on March 15. "This is the kind of small-scale participatory service that got me re-interested in Judaism."
The original organizers believed the traditional/egalitarian service would appeal only to Jews living in the
Wendy Love Anderson, an assistant professor in the Department of Theological Studies at
"I work in the city and I intend to live in the city," said Anderson, who resides in
The traditional/egalitarian minyan couldn't take place without the generosity of the area's Jewish congregations. Topping the list of supporters is Central Reform Congregation. Not only does CRC offer space to the minyan, but it allows the minyan to use its "Holocaust scroll" -- a Torah which survived the destruction of European Jewry during World War II.
Bais Abraham Congregation in
The next Orthodox-style minyan will meet at on April 12 in the Stix Room of the former Jewish Hospital.
Because of the holiday of Passover, the Traditional/Egalitarian Minyan decided not to hold services in April. The minyan's next service is scheduled for on May 17.
For up-to-date information about either minyan, visit the Web site or join the online chat list. Interested persons also may contact Karen Karabell at 314/534-1171.