Rondo and Reparations: The Black and Jewish Communities’ Histories in our Neighborhood
Pulpit Guest – Jonathan Palmer
The neighborhoods north and south of Rondo Avenue, extending south into today’s Summit-University neighborhood and north to University Avenue, were always diverse including many Jewish families. By the 1950s about 85 percent of Saint Paul’s African-American population lived in the neighborhoods. Most of the original Rondo Avenue and much of the historic Rondo neighborhood were destroyed when Interstate 94 was built in 1956. More than 600 African American families lost their homes. Numerous businesses and institutions were also lost. Reflecting on this loss, St. Paul set up the St. Paul Recovery Act Community Reparations Commission on January 4, 2023.
A native of the Washington D.C. Metro area, Jonathan Palmer was born into a family committed to public service and politics. Jonathan’s long biography of service, writings, and awards includes most recently serving as Executive Director of the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center for the past fifteen years.
October 27, Nov. 17, Dec. 8, January 12, Feb. 23, March 15, April 19, May 17
We move from the formality of the sanctuary to our social hall to create a more intimate service. Our singing is accompanied by violin, guitar, keyboard, and percussion. The evocative music opens our hearts and awakens our spirits.
Shabbat is always for the soul, but there is a particularly soulful atmosphere at “Shabbat for the Soul” services. It is a more contemplative worship style with the congregation sitting in the round. We use a single page handout for the prayers. A slower pace enables us to focus on the meditative effect of the music, the potential for deeper awareness and prayer, and the feeling of community.