3 ways Jews can celebrate Juneteenth in St. Louis

Juneteenth, short for “June Nineteenth,” commemorates the day when federal troops arrive in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday and is now celebrated by several St. Louis area congregations. What follows are a rundown of their local activities:

United Hebrew Congregation: June 17 – 6-7 p.m.

Shabbat service with speaker – Wesley Bell, St. Louis prosecutor.

Temple Emanuel: June 17 – 7 p.m.

Shabbat worship tribute to former cantorial soloist Malachi Owens Jr., whose yahrzeit is June 21.  Special tributes of instrumental and vocal music will be performed by students of Gateway Music Outreach and the Legend Singers Choral Ensemble, of which Malachi was a member and Music Director for 10 years. His daughter, Mia Kayla Owens, will serve as the speaker for this special Shabbat service.

Congregation B’nai Amoona:  June 18 – 9 a.m.

Shabbat service with speakers Kisha Greenridge-Kader and Ruth Banks from the Change and Action for Racial Equity (C.A.R.E.) Group