Traditional Congregation offers the community the experience of Judaism’s rich heritage of Torah learning and mitzvot in a welcoming synagogue environment, which respects our diversity of knowledge and practices.
Traditional Congregation of Creve Coeur was established in 1966, as the first synagogue to be located west of Lindbergh Boulevard in West St. Louis County. The vision for Traditional Congregation was provided by a small group of men who came from Orthodox backgrounds and desired a synagogue in which their wives, who came from Reform backgrounds, would feel welcomed and comfortable. In the almost fifty years since it’s founding, Traditional Congregation has fulfilled this vision as evidenced by the diverse religious backgrounds of its members, who are able to grow in their commitment to Judaism at their own pace in a warm, supportive, and welcoming religious environment.
“Genuine faith with intellectual integrity.”
We are founded on a commitment to God, Torah, and the Jewish people. In this spirit, we take pride in welcoming all regardless of their level of observance and in being a genuinely warm, friendly, and active St. Louis congregation.
Halachah is central; we continually learn Torah obligations and restrictions, and explore legitimate halachic opportunities for traditional Jews living in 21st century suburban America. Shabbat and holyday services are celebrated in our warm and intimate 250+ seating sanctuary, which provides both mechitzah (separate) and mixed seating. Our services are led by congregants, with our men and boys reading Torah and leading the davening. We follow halachic restrictions regarding women leading services and reading Torah and are proud to provide legitimate halachic opportunities for women to participate, such as chanting haftarot and megillot. We provide a daily minyan at shacharit (morning) and minchah-arvit (afternoon-evening) services in our beit midrash (chapel).
Committed to learning and open inquiry, education is prized at Traditional Congregation. Several classes are taught during the week, mornings, afternoons and evenings, for people of all ages. We welcome anyone committed to a serious study of Torah, and membership at Traditional Congregation is not required to attend our classes.
Special educational events are held nearly every month at Traditional Congregation and include an annual Scholar-In-Residence Shabbat, Shabbat “tishes” on special topics, Sunday morning “Knosh n’ Knowledge” breakfasts, and more. We are actively pro-Zionist and host an annual successful Israel Bonds Dinner. Rabbi Seth Gordon also teaches extensively in the greater St. Louis community. Beyond our ongoing activities, Traditional Congregation creates special holiday programming for Sukkot, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, Pesach, Shavuot, and more. Youth programs are held on Shabbat and we hold periodic youth Shabbatot with all services, Torah reading, and divrei Torah led exclusively by our youth. We have a Teen Lounge where our teens can get together to play games, watch movies, or just hang out with other Jewish kids. And, our B’nai Mitzvah have the opportunity to lead services and read Torah and to actively participate as they grow.
SERVING EACH OTHER & OUR COMMUNITY
Our congregation is active in the community beyond our numbers. Many in our congregation are involved in vital chesed projects – such as distributing tsedakah by collecting for those in shelters, disadvantaged school children in the area, Mother’s Day gift baskets, the Jewish Food Pantry, and much more. As a “green” synagogue, we also promote our responsibility for our environment with ongoing recycling programs, working to keep energy usage down, etc.
We participate in the Intercongregational Softball League, one of which has won the League Championship three out of the past five years.
Located on six picturesque acres in West County St. Louis, one mile west of Interstate 270, our buildings include a school wing, library, daily minyan chapel, main sanctuary, social hall, playground, a Shabbat house for guests, and spacious meat and dairy kitchens.
A MESSAGE FROM RABBI SETH D. GORDON
Shalom. My family and I arrived here in the summer of 2007 from New York and found that Traditional Congregation exceeded our expectations. Traditional Congregation is unlike any other
in the St Louis area (and elsewhere) and I sincerely invite you to visit us so that you can see for yourself; and of course, I hope you will speak with me personally.
I have been a pulpit rabbi for more than 27 years – 15 in Bethpage, Long Island (New York) and before then for five years in Annapolis, Maryland. My wife, Marian, and I were both raised in New Jersey and are graduates of Rutgers University. I earned my first rabbinical degree in 1987 and my studies included several years in New York and Jerusalem.
In 1998 I earned a second s’michah (rabbinic ordination) from Rav David Weiss Halivni and the ITJ–Institute of Traditional Judaism. (The ITJ is the academic institution of the UTJ–Union of Traditional Judaism.) Our motto, an excellent expression of who we are and what we stand for, is “genuine faith with intellectual integrity.” We are faithful to God, Torah teachings, and the authority of halachah (Jewish law), and yet we engage with modern scholarship to better understand the requirements, meaning, and latitudes and limits of our religious tradition.
No single institution or movement has any ultimate claim upon me and my teaching; I am proud to have learned from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis, teachers and educators. However, I live and teach what might be best expressed as modern orthodoxy (small “o”). To better explain my orientation, for his firm but limited approach to halachah, for his intellectual openness, and for his unwavering commitment to God and the Jewish people and to others (he was a highly-regarded physician), my most significant religious model is RaMBaM (Maimonides).
I have served in mechitzah (separate seating) and mixed-seating congregations; Traditional has both mechitzah and mixed-seating sections. My five children (26-18 years old) attended modern orthodox day schools. I teach extensively at Traditional and throughout the community, I serve on several committees, and I was the treasurer for the SLRA (St Louis Rabbinic Association) for four years.
I have been on the Executive Board of the UTJ and ITJ, and have served on medical ethics committees. Finally, I have worked with communities to promote cooperation among Jews and non-Jews – founding the Aleph-Bet Jewish Day School in Annapolis in 1989 (Orthodox-Conservative-Reform) and the African-American Jewish Coalition of Anne Arundel County (Annapolis 1988), guiding the Long Island Institute of Adult Jewish Studies, and working to bring rabbis of different outlooks to cooperate together in Annapolis and Long Island.
Now in our eighth year in the Midwest, we are still excited by our congregation and by the opportunities that God has given us here. I hope you will visit us and will become involved religiously and communally. Our congregation, including my wife Marian and I, pledge that we will help you and your family fulfill to the best of your ability the role that God has for you. You will undoubtedly find Traditional Congregation a unique, warm, welcoming, and purposeful congregation dedicated to the ideals and teachings of Torah. We look forward to meeting you.