Susan Talve | St. Louis Public Radio

Susan Talve

Parishioners pray during a Sunday morning Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Ferguson on Nov. 19, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In this week when many St. Louisans and others around the country gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, before they dive into the turkey and pumpkin pie, they will pray.

But why? Why does prayer remain so important to many people at a time when, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing?

It’s mostly because prayer is a given for people who follow almost any faith tradition, according to Shane Sharp, an associate professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

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.

Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation prepares to give the blessing at a Hanukkah party at the White House Dec. 9.
Screen capture | White House video

A St. Louis rabbi has used an appearance at the White House to highlight efforts to reduce violence and deal with radioactive contamination.

(Sarah Kellogg/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Jewish New Year begins at sundown Sunday. It's the start of 10 days of prayer and reflection for lay people and clergy alike.

Susan Talve, of Central Reform Congregation, and Rori Picker Neiss of Bais Abraham, an Orthodox synagogue, have much to reflect upon. Each in her own way emerged in the Jewish year 5775 as a leading voice in the protests inspired by the death of Michael Brown.

They sat down with St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann to consider what the past year means.

How Are Religious Leaders Responding To Ferguson?

Aug 20, 2014
From a march in Ferguson on Aug. 15
Durrie Bouscaren I St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

As communities seek leaders, members of the clergy are responding.

After the death of Michael Brown, followed by looting, riots, peaceful protests and arrests, local clergy and religious congregations are responding to the turmoil in Ferguson. On Wednesday, we talked to some of those leaders:

Cultural Leadership

As Gov. Jay Nixon promised a change in the way law enforcement is being managed in Ferguson, Cultural Leadership alums and leaders see a need for action.

“Cultural Leadership was founded 10 years ago because people thought we had an issue with racial segregation and anti-semitism in St. Louis,” said Holly Ingraham, the group’s executive director. “I think it’s clear that we still have those issues today.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2012 - A law firm hired by the payday industry is blanketing the state with letters telling clergy, church board members and religious groups that their active support for a ballot initiative restricting payday loan interest rates could threaten their tax-exempt status.