What Shir Hadash Means to Me
Carol Wolf Solomon
“Shir Hadash represented everything that we were seeking – a small, diverse community that is committed to Jewish learning and spiritual growth and a wonderful rabbi in Lane Steinger. We were welcomed with open arms the minute we walked through the door. Our Friday evening potluck Shabbat dinner and discussions in members’ homes are amazing. To me, this is quintessential Shabbat – gathering with family to welcome Shabbat together with blessings, singing and conversation, over a leisurely Shabbat meal. Rabbi Steinger is incredible; he is warm and approachable. He is very adept at making worship and learning accessible and understandable to all, regardless of one’s religious background or level of knowledge. He is the consummate rabbi as teacher, whether it’s seamlessly weaving explanations of the meaning and history of prayers into our Shabbat morning worship or guiding one of our lively Torah discussions.”
“I read several books by Mordecai Kaplan (the founder of the Reconstructionist movement) and his son in law, Rabbi Eisenstein. I was enthralled by their concept of God as a power in the universe, simply the good in the world. Not an anthropomorphic being, a concept I had long rejected. That was what really pulled me into the movement. I felt that concept alone was enough to bring me back to Judaism. I had really thought of myself as an atheist until then. Then, when I joined Shir Hadash, their ideas of an all inclusive community, gays, intermarriages, females chanting Torah, pulled me in even further. Their concern with the environment and their ethical values were all important to me. But most of all I have come to love the people in this community – bright, caring, committed.”
“The people are very warm, friendly and welcoming. It’s comfortable . . . people are invited to participate (or volunteer) to do as much or as little as they want; it’s a low stress environment for people to practice newly learned skills such as reading Torah, blowing shofar, leading a discussion, etc.
Rabbi Lane brings a great sense of humor and an extensive base of Jewish knowledge and history; his style is low-key and very welcoming to all members, as well as newcomers.”
Stacey Lee Smith and Richard T. Katz
"The best way to get a feel for our congregation is to come to the Friday-night dinner and/or a Shabbat service. Shir Hadash is a Progressive Jewish community that seeks members who are study oriented, intellectually curious and seeking a warm and spiritual experience.
I don't believe there is a world of difference between Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism. All the same, Reconstructionist Judaism is a bit more traditional than its Reform counterpart: it is much more study oriented; the services are for a mature audience; and we study Torah regularly.”
“We are a community of ‘empty nesters’ who enjoy discussion sessions, food, being in a community where you are known by name and missed when not present. The community has evolved but has been a part of the St. Louis religious community for quite a long time. I feel uninhibited to try taking on new roles and speaking my ideas. Come for a couple of events and services. Don’t feel as if you have to make a commitment right away. Take your time to get acquainted.”
Rob and Mary Kodner
"We were attracted by the small size of the congregation, because it is usually easier to meet people and fit in right away. In addition, we had met Rabbi Steinger on a couple of occasions and liked him very much.
The entire congregation is warm and welcoming. After only being members for a few months, our father passed away and many members of the congregational family came to the funeral and were present at our home for the Shiva services. Rabbi Steinger is a true 'Mensch' in every sense of the word. He has a wonderful memory and always greets you by name."