Rabbi Susan Talve, the founding Rabbi of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, will give a talk for the Assembly Series at 4 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 12 in Graham Chapel. Her talk, which is the Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman Memorial Lecture, is free and open to the public. The chapel is located just north of Mallinckrodt Center (6445 Forsyth Blvd.) on the Washington University campus.
Through her leadership in the Central Reform Congregation – the only Jewish congregation in the City of St. Louis – and her community outreach programs, Talve is working to improve relationships among groups and to improve conditions for those in need. In addition to performing life cycle events and leading worship services for the 700 households in the congregation, she is actively involved in educational activities, teaching youth and adult members as well as teaching courses on Jewish life and thought in both Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
She has forged an ongoing relationship with the largely African-American congregation of Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church, to develop many socially responsible projects. These include conducting joint services commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a public school mentoring program that has won national acclaim as a positive response to racism and violence. She helped found and continues to lead a group at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for families of children with congenital heart defects.
Active in a range of social justice programs and organizations in the community, Talve has served in a leadership role for Missourians for Freedom and Justice, a group founded to counter the attempt to deny civil liberties to the gay and lesbian community. In addition, she is a member of the National Organization for Women, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Currently, she serves on the board of Parenting for Peace and Justice, the National Conference of Community and Justice (NCCJ), the March of Dimes, and Dollar-Help, Inc. She also chairs the Health Committee of ARCHS and is on the Advisory Committee of the Regional Health Commission.
Talve was ordained by Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where she earned a master’s degree in Hebrew letters. It was here that she founded the Jewish Early Learning Cooperative, Ohio’s first licensed infant childcare program in the workplace.
Among her many awards and honors are the Hebrew Union College’s Stephen Levinson Award for Community Service; the Jewish Federation of St. Louis’s Woman of Valor Award; the Institute of Peace and Justice’s Trumpet of Justice Award; and the NCCJ’s Brotherhood and Sisterhood Award and Woman of Achievement Award.
For more information, call (314) 935-4620 or visit the Assembly Series web page (wupa.wustl.edu/assembly).