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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 has been leading our religious school. The KRRS, or the Kol Rinah Religious School, was good, and scrappy, and small back in 2016. Rabbi Shafrin took the assignment to reboot the school seriously. He met with teachers and parents and students and got to know the culture of strengths of the school his first year. Soon, he renamed it KoREH, the Kol Rinah Education Hub, and changed up the curriculum, adding chugim, or electives. The school has doubled in size over these years, and next year, will probably have about seventy students. It’s a constant work in progress, and Covid was a major challenge, but Rabbi Shafrin has owned and been responsible for the school, and he deserves the credit for its wonderful success.
One of my great joys has been making music, singing, harmonizing, and leading davening with Rabbi Shafrin. I remember him telling me that he was sold on Kol Rinah after five minutes of Kabbalat Shabbat during his first visit here. He has become a wonderful baal tefillah (prayer leader). He sings perfect harmony to anything and everything. He seems to know the guitar chords to songs he’s never heard. He understands music intuitively, and keeps us musically in tune, and in good taste. Creating Kol Chadash with him and Karen Kern has been a joy. And you may not realize it, but there are melodies Rabbi Shafrin wrote that we’ll be singing here at Kol Rinah for many years to come.
Rabbi Shafrin has also been a critical resource to, leader of and advocate for our Tzedek Team, our committee that tries to make the world, and our community, better and more just. Rabbi Shafrin cares about justice, about equity, about kindness. He wears his values on his sleeve, and you know what he believes, and you know he believes it with all his heart. He shows up wherever and whenever he’s needed, and has created a culture here at Kol Rinah of caring about justice.
I will miss his presence at KoREH. I will miss singing with him as much as we have. And I will miss his justice leadership as a rabbi of Kol Rinah.
But I know that he and I, with you all, will sing together again, every so often. And I know his justice rabbinate will continue and expand in his work with our JCRC of St. Louis. We will all be the beneficiaries of his work there.
During Rabbi Shafrin’s last two months with us, take a moment to let him know how he’s touched your life.
Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784