Did you tune in to our recent St. Louis Flagpole gatherings? Sponsored by the Staenberg Family Foundation, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and Jewish Rock Radio, each of these online musical rallies offered an opportunity to connect with one another, hear from local Jewish families and leaders, and raise our voices together in song.
As explained in The Jewish Light, the “Flagpole” name originates with the Jewish summer camp tradition of gathering around the flagpole for news, songs, and flag raising and lowering. In this new iteration, each event was hosted by artist Rick Recht via Facebook Live on our Facebook Page.
“This is our chance to sing together, to share our gratitude and blessings, to recognize the heroes in our community who are doing such incredible tikkun olam. This is our chance to also learn about all the resources from all the incredible organizations and hard workers who are making sure that we have the support that we need right now. We are going to hear from community leaders, from clergy, from families, and teens, and most importantly, we’re going to hear from you.” – Rick Recht, from Episode 1
Watch St. Louis Flagpole Gatherings
Catch up on all six episodes of the St. Louis Jewish Community Flagpole or rewatch your favorites! Here are recordings of each event for your enjoyment. See anyone you know?
Episode 1: April 30, 2020
For the first Flagpole gathering, host Rick Recht kicks things off with guests including local clergy from United Hebrew Congregation and Kol Rinah, musicians like Hadar and Sheldon and Ellen Allard, leaders of our local Jewish organizations such as JFS, and other community members.
“In these times of crisis, our community has been nothing short of amazing. People selflessly coming together to help one another, to help our community get through this, and to honor the traditions of our people and not lose sight of who we are. And with that, this flagpole gathering is meant as a way for you to come together to celebrate who we are, and I hope you enjoy the program.” – Greg Yawitz, Board Chair of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis
Episode 2: May 7, 2020
In the second Flagpole gathering, we hear from representatives of the Jewish Community Center, St. Louis NORC, and PJ Library, plus musicians including Nefesh Mountain and Shira Kline and clergy from Congregation Shaare Emeth and Central Reform Congregation.
“As we count each day, we are taught to make each day count. As we renew our hope that humanity will rise above these present challenges, that we will take care of each other, and that we will take care of the most vulnerable with generosity and kindness and compassion, because every life we know has infinite worth, and that we will find ourselves on the other side of this wilderness, a little closer to the vision we had of a promised land for all.” – Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation
Episode 3: May 14, 2020
This week, the Flagpole gathering welcomes Brian Herstig of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, clergy from Chabad of Greater St. Louis and Congregation Temple Israel, and musicians such as Greta Rosenstock and Alex Rich. Hear special shoutouts for local Jewish teen programs as well as PJ Our Way.
“The stay-at-home period which we’re in presents us with an opportunity to focus on the importance of the Jewish home. The center of Jewish life is really the home, the place where our Judaism is lived. It is where we create a sanctuary for G-d in our midst, where we live our day to day lives.” – Rabbi Yosef Landa, Chabad of Greater St. Louis
Episode 4: May 21, 2020
In this episode, host Rick Recht introduces us to clergy from the J, Nusach Hari B’nai Zion, and Congregation Shaare Emeth. You’ll also hear music from Rebecca Blume, Zoey Fleisher, and Shelley Dean of Rhythm ‘n’ Ruach, with a special shoutout to our local teachers and parents.
“Rabbi Hillel was a great teacher of ours, and he said… ‘Do not separate yourself from the community.’ This has been really hard during these trying times, but I am so inspired by our community and what we’ve been able to do, even though we can’t physically be together. The way that we’ve connected, be it through our synagogues and our schools and here at the J, we’ve done such a great job at connecting with all of our members and participants. It’s been really a blessing,” – Rabbi Brad Horwitz, St. Louis JCC
Episode 5: May 28, 2020
With only one more episode to go, this Flagpole gathering is packed with music from Julie and Rob Aronson, Lindsay Eichaker and Robert Bernstein, and clergy messages from Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh, Rabbi Scott Slarskey, and Rabbi Tracy Nathan. You’ll also hear about resources from The Jewish Mindfulness Center and the J in St. Louis, plus a special highlight on teacher Melissa Pomerantz, the 2020 Pillar of the Parkway recipient.
“Right now, as we are trying to make our way through this time of uncertainty, and for many, a time of increased worry and fear, mindfulness practice can help us to decrease our anxiety and more easily connect with joy. It also helps us build our resiliency muscles and feed ourselves and others with more kindness and more compassion.” – Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, Congregation Shaare Emeth and The Jewish Mindfulness Center of St. Louis
Episode 6: June 4, 2020
For the final Flagpole gathering, host/artist Rick Recht includes his wife, Elisa Heiligman-Recht of Jewish Rock Radio, as well as Michael Staenberg, Rabbi Michael Rovinsky of the Jewish Student Union, Rabbi Scott Shafrin of Kol Rinah, and music from Sharon Brickman, Lucy Greenbaum, and Barry Brimer. You’ll also get a peek at what’s been happening in the lives of seniors at Covenant Place.
“Even when times are dark and we face crises like these, our text reminds us that every person is capable of bringing light, not only to those closest to them, but to the entire world. We pray that in these days where hope may seem lost or in short supply, that we can turn to one another and find that source of light and joy that each of us desperately needs. May we be the hope that one another latch onto for a brighter future, when things not only go back to normal but when they improve to create a better, more just, more compassionate world for each and every one of us.” – Rabbi Scott Shafrin, Kol Rinah
Thank you to everyone who joined us online for these virtual community gatherings! If you’re looking for other ways to connect with the Jewish community in St. Louis, we invite you to check out more of our latest news and events and explore ways to get involved.