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March 2024 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Purim (Sun)Day   I have friends who can tell you how typical it is for Purim to fall on a Sunday, or for Passover to begin on a Friday night. The mathematical details of the Jewish calendar have always eluded me, though.  While I cannot tell you the frequency of Purim falling on a Friday, I can offer disquisitions on the effect of a holiday falling on a particular day of the week (or “early” or “late” in the season) with...Read more...

January 2024 Rabbi Arnow's Article

The Conservative/Masorti Convening How do you find volunteers to lead and serve a congregation? What is the purpose of a congregation, to its members? Is obligation, especially in a religious context heteronomous (coming from outside us, i.e. from God), autonomous (coming from ourselves), or is there a third option? What are the latest ways Conservative Jews are thinking about intermarriage? What is the role of halakha (Jewish law) in our...Read more...

November 2023 Rabbi's Article

Simchat Torah 5784 @ Kol Rinah I write this in the middle of October, Hamas’s horrific assault on Israel is ten days in the past. As you know, it occurred on Shabbat which was also Shemini Atzeret (and in Israel, Simchat Torah too). Shemini Atzeret (the 8th day of Sukkot), and Simchat Torah, an extra day after that, are known as zman simchateinu, the season of our rejoicing—two of the happiest days on the Jewish calendar. For your...Read more...

September 2023 Rabbi Arnow's Article

I was recently talking with someone who has decades of experience in adult education in the Jewish community and synagogues. He’s seen a steep decline in attendance since Covid of all kinds of in-person adult Jewish education. As he put it, we’re out of the habit. Moreover, we’ve forgotten about the power and energy generated by people together in real time and space, thinking, absorbing, asking questions, in conversation, and the ways...Read more...

July 2023 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Making Plans!   I’ve spent the last weeks doing more planning than I’ve done in a long time. We’ve been scheduling our musical Kol Chadash services for the whole next year, August 2023 through June 2024. I’ve been working to reorganize Torah Talk, so that it can be sustainable with only one clergy member working at Kol Rinah. We’ve been working and thinking through how to restructure what we do on Friday nights to create more...Read more...

May 2023 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Appreciating Rabbi Scott Shafrin   I remember I was sitting in the car in the parking lot outside the allergist’s office when I first spoke on the phone with Scott Shafrin.   More than seven years later, I want to appreciate a little of what Rabbi Shafrin brought to Kol Rinah. (And I say “a little” because I know I cannot capture more than a small amount of what he brought.)   A key part of his job from the beginning...Read more...

March 2023 Rabbi Arnow's Article

A Second Seder at Shul   This year, for the first time in several years, and for only the second time since I’ve been at Kol Rinah, we will be hosting a Passover Seder, on the second night of Passover.   I have always loved second seders because they offer another opportunity to discuss, to sing, and to “get into” the holiday. The stakes are lower, and we’re more prepared. And especially when the second seder is not on or...Read more...

November 2022 Rabbi Arnow's Article

As I write this, we’re in the midst of Sukkot; when you read this, we’ll be on the other side of the Jewish holiday season. And it’s been a busy holiday season at Kol Rinah, between programs in Elul to prepare for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the High Holy Days themselves, tashlich, Sukkot, three evenings of Sukkot programming (Brotherhood, Young Families, and Sisterhood), a Shabbat Chol Hamoed program on end-of-life, Hoshana Rabba and an...Read more...

September 2022 Rabbi Arnow's Article

New Members, New Relationships One of my favorite parts of my job as a rabbi of Kol Rinah is meeting with new and prospective congregants. I like meeting new people, and hearing of their life stories and their Jewish stories, and learning what excites and motivates them. Considering how they might fit into and plug into our community—what programs, groups and people would be good matches for them, is so satisfying too.   I also like...Read more...

July 2022 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Helping People, Helping You   I want to highlight and remind you of two different ways that Rabbi Shafrin and I can help people, including you—pastoral care and financial support.   We both have training and experience providing pastoral care. You may think to call a rabbi around the time of a sickness or loss, and of course, we are available to be with people at these times, and address issues from a Jewish ritual perspective....Read more...

May 2022 Rabbi Arnow's Article

The Rabbis Are Coming!   Back in March 2018, I had lunch at Gokul (the kosher vegetarian Indian restaurant in the Loop) with two friends who work for the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the organization of Conservative rabbis.  They were in St. Louis scouting out potential locations for the RA’s November 2020 convention.   I became a chair of that convention and was working throughout 2019 and early 2020 to plan it.  We...Read more...

March 2022 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Purpose or People? Is Kol Rinah about purpose or people? Is our mission fundamentally about living out certain Jewish values and principles, regardless of whether anyone is interested in them? Or, in contrast, should we be focused entirely on people, serving those who are members of our congregation, as well as those who are not yet members? As a Conservative synagogue, should we not be upholding the ideals and values of Conservative...Read more...
Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784