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Judaism

Fellowship of Wildwood, a baptist church in west St. Louis County, allows certain trained congregants to carry weapons. Church leaders say their volunteer security team helps provide peace of mind to the congregation.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s hard to tell who has a gun at Fellowship of Wildwood church, unless you’re really looking.

The men stand silently at the edge of the crowd, as worshippers shrug off their heavy winter coats and sip from paper coffee cups before the Sunday service. 

Nicknamed the “sheepdog ministry,” the group of about a dozen volunteers provide armed protection for churchgoers at Fellowship of Wildwood.

Attacks on religious spaces have become a troubling new reality, leaving congregations to grapple with how to respond. While some train congregants or hire armed guards, other faith leaders in St. Louis have resisted the idea of allowing guns inside houses of worship. 

B'nai Sholom temple was built in the late 1860s. Congregants of the Quincy synagogue hope another religious organization will purchase and preserve the historic building.
File Photo | Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

B’nai Sholom temple has stood on a quiet, tree-lined street in Quincy, Illinois, for almost 150 years.

But the historic Jewish synagogue — one of the oldest in the state — could soon be reduced to rubble.

The temple has sat empty since May, after its dwindling congregation was forced to confront a difficult reality: The members had to sell the building because they could no longer afford to maintain it. While they’re holding out hope that another religious organization will purchase the temple and preserve it, they’re preparing for the worst. 

B'nai Sholom congregant Carla Gordon carries one of the sacred Torah scrolls through the synagogue during the deconsecration ceremony on May 18, 2019.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the oldest Jewish synagogues in Illinois has closed its doors.

Worshippers from across the country gathered Saturday to deconsecrate the B’nai Sholom temple, which dates back to the late 1860s. The shrinking congregation of about two dozen was forced to close the Quincy synagogue after it couldn’t keep pace with the cost of upkeep.

Congregants take part in an interfaith Shabbat service at Temple Israel on November 2, 2018, nearly one week after a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Jewish congregations in St. Louis came together this weekend for the first Sabbath since a gunman killed 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Some congregations, including Temple Israel in Creve Coeur, invited residents from all faiths to join them for the Jewish Sabbath, known as Shabbat. Interfaith services were also held in cities across the country as part of a social-media campaign to send a message that “love triumphs over hate.”

No privacy for Obama's prayer

Sep 24, 2017

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 25, 2008 - On Thursday at dawn, Sen. Barack Obama wrote a letter to God. He sandwiched it between the ancient beige stones of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. Shortly after he left, a seminary student rummaged through the Wall, which contains the detritus of worshipers' dreams, and managed to pull out the senator's note.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is one of the more prominent Jewish political leaders in America today. For him, his response to this week’s vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City  goes hand-in-hand with his “go to the front lines” philosophy.

The Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards recently decided that abstaining from legumes during Passover is more of a long-standing tradition and not a rule.
Gilabrand | Wikipedia

Barbara Shamir’s Passover table may get one new addition this year, to accompany the tender brisket, rich potato kugel, gefilte fish with a horseradish sidekick, and ubiquitous flourless chocolate cake.

It's tehina -- also called tahini -- once banned, now welcome at her table, thanks to a rabbinical dispensation.

In previous years, Shamir, of Olivette, would not allow her husband, Amos, to prepare or serve this sesame seed-based sauce during the holiday. That’s because the condiment contains “kitniyot,” foods that include legumes, certain seeds and peas. For many Ashkenazi Jews, or those of Eastern European descent, kitniyot is not kosher to eat during Passover.