The mayor’s offices of St. Paul and Minneapolis both changed hands last fall, and for Shabbat the next two Fridays, both those officeholders will be speaking at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul. When Mayors Melvin Carter of St. Paul and Jacob Frey of Minneapolis show up, there’s only one guideline: No policy talk.
“This is an opportunity for the mayors to be reflective of their own life story,” said Mount Zion Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker. “What does it mean for Mayor Frey to be Minneapolis’ second Jewish mayor? How does that part of his identity shape his worldview and his role as mayor? For Mayor Carter, being St. Paul’s first African-American mayor and a native St. Paulite, how does his story shape his vision of his role and of the city.”
Carter and Frey will speak on sequential Friday nights during the 7:30 pm Shabbat services. Carter will speak on March 16 and Mayor Frey on March 23. The idea first came about when a Mount Zion member offered Frey the opportunity to talk at the shul – while they were at Carter’s inauguration.
“All of our synagogues are Twin Cities’ congregations. Mount Zion’s membership is 15 percent from Minneapolis,” Spilker said. “This is an opportunity for our members to hear from both mayors about our community.”
Rabbi Spilker said he hopes having both mayors reframes the way people look at their synagogue.
“It helps people see that we are one Twin Cities community. Where one goes the other goes; we have to continue to work with that collaborative narrative,” he said. “It’s an opportunity right after the election to be clear this isn’t about partisanship. These are now our public leaders. Let’s get to know them and let them learn about our needs. Being part of the Jewish community and the synagogue is about being part of the public square.”