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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...

January 2022 Rabbi Arnow's Message

I was on a Zoom program one day in early December for three and a half hours. It was painful. I think we might be reaching the beginning of the real Zoom era – when Zoom is used selectively to bridge distance, for short periods of time. But I hope that the era of long Zooms is coming to an end.   For us at Kol Rinah, we, and I, have noticed that attendance at Zoom programs is waning. But in-person gatherings are very much not back to...Read more...

September 2021 Rabbi Arnow's Message

I am writing this in mid-August as I sit at my new (for me) desk in my still-new office. The Delta Variant is exploding, and despite vaccinations, we’ve put our masks back on to minimize risk. But we’re back to doing lots of things in person, including services on Shabbat and on the High Holidays (while still streaming too, of course). A year ago, construction on our offices had not yet begun, and I was working from my old office in our old...Read more...

July 2021 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Dreaming Again When it comes to shul, it feels, in certain ways, like we’ve been on a very long summer vacation. Kol Rinah has been doing a little bit less this last year and a half, and we’ve had the opportunity to focus on some other priorities, like finishing our building.   We still have two important components of our building project unfunded and unfinished - kitchens, and the expansion of the Early Childhood Center. The former...Read more...

May 2021 Rabbi Arnow's Article

On Hybrids   Tammy & I recently needed to replace our gas-powered minivan, and we joyfully got a greener (actually navy blue) hybrid minivan. There are times when hybrids are great options.   Much of the conversation in Jewish spaces these days is about how, as we emerge from the pandemic, we will keep certain things virtual, go back to in-person for other things, and perhaps also try hybrids.   We’ve learned that we...Read more...

March 2021 Rabbi Arnow's Article

“What Are We Learning?”  As I look back on the last twelve months, a period dominated by the pandemic and filled with losses large and small, I find it helpful, focusing and inspiring to reflect on the question, “What are we learning?”  Here are some of my inklings about what we are learning.  Collectively, we are learning the nuts and bolts of using technologies for gathering. We are still tinkering with and mastering...Read more...

January 2021 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Healthy Conflict   Resources, identity and process. When there’s conflict in an organization, whether a synagogue, a nation or a family, so often, the conflict revolves around these three things: resources, identity and process.    For example, let’s imagine there was interest in building a mikvah in our new building. (It’s a very expensive item to build and maintain, and not on the table right now, so it’s a good...Read more...

November 2020 Rabbi Arnow's Article

For Now As Elton John sang, “I think it’s gonna be a long, long time.”  I write this in the middle of October, and it seems like COVID is going to be with us for a while, and shul as we knew it will be a long time in returning to “normal.”  So what do we do in the meantime?  We’ll keep doing minyan on Zoom. For so many of us, gathering, even virtually, seeing and hearing others and being heard and seen by others...Read more...

September 2020 Rabbi Arnow's Article

Is All Torah Local? Should Kol Rinah be offering classes geared toward adults on Zoom during the pandemic?   On the face of it, it’s an absurd question -- of course we should! We’re a synagogue; we do Jewish education, we can’t do anything in person now, so let’s at least have classes on Zoom. And Rabbi Shafrin and I have been teaching Torah Talk on Fridays; Wendy Love Anderson has been coordinating community learning on Sundays...Read more...
Mon, October 3 2022 8 Tishrei 5783