Shaare Zedek weekend honors Fasmans

Neshama Carlebach

“L’Chaim – To Life!” will be the theme of a weekend of celebration honoring Rabbi Mark and Alice Fasman for 12 years of dedication to Shaare Zedek Synagogue.

Activities during the weekend of Aug. 17-19 will recognize the rabbi’s many contributions and accomplishments at Shaare Zedek and within the St. Louis community, as well as his recent recovery from cancer, which has inspired the congregation to dedicate this celebration to Life and Healing. The L’Chaim weekend will include festive, musical activities throughout Shabbat as well as a Sunday Interfaith concert. Leading the celebration will be world-renowned Jewish entertainer Neshama Carlebach.

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The Fasmans came to Shaare Zedek 12 years ago. At that time, the congregation was experiencing changes with the evolving role of women in prayer and ritual. Rabbi Fasman guided the congregation to egalitarian participation in prayer and minyans. He helped create greater access to enable participation by all members by encouraging the construction of a lower, ramp-accessible bimah, the purchase of hearing assistance devices, improved lighting and the writing of a new lighter-weight Torah so that more people could lift and carry the sacred scroll.

Music has always been an important part of Shaare Zedek but Fasman has created more ways for the congregation to experience Judaism through a greater focus on both music and the arts. Both Rabbi and Alice Fasman are former college music professors and brought their musical backgrounds to the congregation. Fasman was also key in hiring the Hazzan Joanna Selznick Dulkin, further infusing music into all aspects of the congregation.

The weekend begins Friday, Aug. 17 at Shaare Zedek with a Family and Children’s Shabbat beginning at 5:15 p.m. with dinner to follow. At 6 p.m., Carlebach will take part in the Shabbat Rinah Service, followed by a dinner to pay tribute to the Fasmans. Shabbat morning services on Saturday, Aug. 18 will feature a d’var Torah by Carlebach and a kiddush lunch prepared by the Shaare Zedek Sisterhood.  On Saturday evening a special female-only Havdalah Service led by Hazzan Dulkin and Carlebach will honor Alice Fasman, starting at 8:30 p.m.

The weekend concludes at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19 with an Interfaith Outreach Concert with Neshama Carlebach and The Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir, including a silent auction.

Shaare Zedek is located at 829 N. Hanley Road. Series and individual event tickets are available, as well as sponsorship opportunities. For more information call 314-727-1747 or visit