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Showing posts from October, 2008

JTA: "R.A.'s choice of female rabbi makes history"

R.A.'s choice of female rabbi makes historyPublished: 10/29/2008
Julie Schoenfeld was chosen as the first female rabbi to helm an American rabbinical association.Schoenfeld was named Wednesday as the new executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the Conservative movement's rabbinic group. She will succeed Rabbi Joel Meyers, who will step down July 1.Schoenfeld is the first female rabbi to serve in the chief executive position of an American rabbinical association.

A graduate of Yale University and ordained in 1997 by the Jewish Theological Seminary, Schoenfeld is currently the Rabbinical Assembly's director of rabbinic development.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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a beautiful picture of our aron dedication!

a prayer to use when voting this Tuesday!

Dear Chevre,

The following prayer, written by Rabbi David Seidenberg (founder of, is non-partisan and gives Jewish depth and context to the act of voting. Please note that it makes reference to this week's parshah and also has a place to make a pledge for tikkun olam based on the custom of pledging tzedakah when called to the Torah.  You can download a pdf of the prayer, with linear Hebrew and English,  or just English, from

Kol Tuv,
Rabbi Creditor 

a prayer to use when voting
Rabbi David Seidenberg

With my vote today I am prepared and intending to seek peace for this country, as it is written:

"Seek out the peace of the city where I cause you to roam and pray for her sake to Yah Adonai, for in her peace you all will have peace." (Jer. 29:7)

May it be Your will that votes will be counted faithfully and may You account my vote as if I had fulfilled this verse with all my power.

May it b…

Religious “No!” to Proposition 8

October 28, 2008Religious "No!" to Proposition 8By Elliot Fein opinion/article/religious_no_to_proposition_8_20081028/ "My Christian friends say homosexuality is a sin. Isn't Judaism based on the same Old Testament bible?  How does our synagogue welcome homosexuals with acceptance and equality?"

I was substituting for our rabbi in our 10th grade confirmation class.  Homosexuality is not a curriculum subject.  The student asking the question, though, obviously struggled with conflicting messages.

On the one hand, Leviticus says when a man lies with another man like a woman, it is an abomination and they shall be put to death.  On the other hand, the Union of Reform Judaism, the denomination in which our synagogue affiliates, officially responded in 1989 to "gay rights' as a civil rights issue and wrote a policy of inclusion statement.  

Included in the statement was a specific reference to "gay" and "lesbian&q…

Surprised by God: An Evening with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg - This Thursday Night @ 7:30pm

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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Surprised by God: An Evening with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg - This Thursday Night!

a wonderful TIME article: "Why Barack Obama Is Winning"

Why Barack Obama Is WinningBy Joe Klein - Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008,8599,1853025-1,00.html
General David Petraeus deployed overwhelming force when he briefed Barack Obama and two other Senators in Baghdad last July. He knew Obama favored a 16-month timetable for the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq, and he wanted to make the strongest possible case against it. And so, after he had presented an array of maps and charts and PowerPoint slides describing the current situation on the ground in great detail, Petraeus closed with a vigorous plea for "maximum flexibility" going forward.Obama had a choice at that moment. He could thank Petraeus for the briefing and promise to take his views "under advisement." Or he could tell Petraeus what he really thought, a potentially contentious course of action — especially with a general not used to being confronted. Obama chose to speak his mind. "You know, if I were in your shoes…

NY Jewish Week: A Movement in Transition

A Movement In Transition by Stewart Ain
Staff Writer - NY Jewish Week Rabbi Elliott Cosgrove, right, Steven M. Friedman, Park Avenue Synagogue's board chairman, at the rabbi's recent installation.The Conservative movement's beliefs and practices need clarifying, Rabbi Cosgrove says. Courtesy of Park Avenue Synagogue When the Conservative movement was faced with contradictory rabbinic rulings regarding gay ordination two years ago, a young Chicago rabbi tried to find a common theological view. 
Now the rabbi, Elliot Cosgrove, is again pushing the envelope, calling upon the Conservative movement to re-examine its institutional structure "in a way that is coherent to the very Jews it claims to serve."
Rabbi Cosgrove, who was installed last month as the senior rabbi of the 1,500-family Park Avenue Synagogue on East 87th Street, perhaps Manhattan's flagship Conservative shul, pointed out in an interv…

La'asok: Weekly Adult Torah Study @ Congregation Netivot Shalom

La'asok: Weekly Adult Torah Study
@ Congregation Netivot Shalom
1316 University Ave., Berkeley, CA

Join this new weekly opportunity for adults to learn Torah with Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Rabbi Shalom Bochner of Congregation Netivot Shalom! Each week will focus on the upcoming Torah portion, and Rabbis Bochner and Creditor will alternate each week as presenter. Sessions will take place in the library. Please bring your own vegetarian/dairy lunch.  The first session in the series will take place on Oct. 29th.  For more information, please contact us at and consult theNetivot Shalom online calendar for updated information.

Gilad Shalit is still in captivity - who is to blame?

ANALYSIS / Gilad Shalit is still in captivity - who is to blame?
By Amos Harel

The approaching end of Ehud Olmert's term as prime minister has coincided with a wave of media reports about Gilad Shalit's abduction and the ongoing negotiations over his release.

Why now? Because it seems as though Olmert, despite his recent efforts to find a compromise that would salvage the negotiations, is likely to end his term with Shalit still in captivity. Thus this is an appropriate time for an interim assessment.

The gloomy picture includes a lot of bad blood, both personal and organizational. Everyone involved in the affair, from the kidnapping itself to the negotiations, has failed; thus they all have an interest in trying to shift some of the blame to others. This is not just a matter of the strain between Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak; it includes tension between the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service and within the IDF itself.

Following are the principal poin…

Yom Kippur 5769: “Eyes on the Prize”

Yom Kippur 5769: "Eyes on the Prize"
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Last night I had a dream about a home that was so bright.
I don't know why it had to be a dream.
Why can't I? Where will I? God help me.  Help me find a home.
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Don't be dismayed, don't be dismayed.
Deep in your heart you must believe everything is gonna be alright someday.

- "Eyes on the Prize", Harry Stewart
from the film Green Card

We have so much work to do.  So much work to do.

And it is easy to become dismayed.  I had been planning, in this Yom Kippur Drasha, to talk about the hope that eludes whose eyes are open to the unfathomable burdens of our world.  I was planning on singing the words of that very powerful song to share how dismayed I've felt, how overwhelmed I feel almost every day by the needs of the world around us.  The world is so much with us, too much with us.  There is just so much to do.  So much that needs to be addressed.

And then I listened t…

For yom kippur: Say What you Need to Say (By john mayer)

Take all of your wasted honor.
Every little past frustration.
Take all of your so called problems,
Better put 'em in quotations.
Say what you need to sayWalkin' like a one man army,
Fightin' with the shadows in your head.
Livin' up the same old moment
Knowin' you'd be better off instead
If you could only...Say what you need to sayHave no fear for givin' in.
Have no fear for giving over.
You better know that in the end
It's better to say too much, than never to say what you need to say again.Even if your hands are shaking,
And your faith is broken.
Even as the eyes are closin',
Do it with a heart wide open.
Say what you need to say
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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John McCain was making a bid for South Florida's Jewish voters, a crucial demographic in a purple state. But then he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate.

"I find her offensive"John McCain was making a bid for South Florida's Jewish voters, a crucial demographic in a purple state. But then he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate.By Tristram KortenOct. 06, 2008 | The local retirement community known as Century Village is just one outpost in a statewide network of Century Villages, Florida's largest chain of retirement complexes. It is also a time capsule of the New York Jewish gestalt, circa 1965, transplanted intact to the golf greens of Palm Beach County. If a small, unscientific sampling of the shoppers in the Hamptons Plaza mall, directly across from the complex, is any indication, John McCain's choice of running mates may have pushed the residents of this heavily Democratic enclave back in Barack Obama's direction. "I was leaning towards McCain," growled Marvin Weinstein, 74, as he strode to an appointment in a doctor's office. &quo…

Jewish 'modesty patrols' sow fear in Israel

While I do my best to criticize Israel only in extreme circumstances, this front-page piece from shocked me into sharing this.

Jewish 'modesty patrols' sow fear in Israel: Some terrified that mere perception of impropriety could ruin their lives The Associated Press updated 6:05 p.m. PT,Sat., Oct. 4, 2008
JERUSALEM - In Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where the rule of law sometimes takes a back seat to the rule of God, zealots are on a campaign to stamp out behavior they consider unchaste. They hurl stones at women for such "sins" as wearing a red blouse and attack stores selling devices that can access the Internet.In recent weeks, self-styled "modesty patrols" have been accused of breaking into the apartment of a Jerusalem woman and beating her for allegedly consorting with men. They have torched a store that sells MP4 players, fearing devout Jews would use them t…

links from jerusalem4obama

these links are from

Rabbi Ethan Tucker: Stepson of Senator Joseph Lieberman; Co-founder of Mechon Hadar; faculty member at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education; ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel after years of study at Yeshivat Ma'ale Gilboa; PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Read more.
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky: Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained in 1977. Read more.
Rabbi Elliot Dorff: Professor of Jewish theology at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) in California (where he is also Rector). Read more. Rabbi Charles Simon: Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America graduate 1977; was a congregational rabbi; now working for the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs. Read more. Rabbi Menachem Creditor: Spiritual leader of Congregation Netivot Shalom in…

a beautiful piece on tefillah from the Jewish Week

Moonlighting Through Days Of Awe
by Jonathan Mark, Associate Editor

Elli Kranzler's not a cantor, and he'll be the first to tell you. He's a 57-year-old psychiatrist, who's been moonlighting since his teens as a "shliach tzibur," a leader of prayer, representative of the congregation, but more like a man plucked from out of the pews. He doesn't have a cantor's voice, one that thunders. His untrained voice filters through a room like, well, moonlight. If cantors' voices are traditionally like tubas, his is more of a mandolin, more Art Garfunkel than the operatic model that still dominates the trade.

"My goal is not to be heard," he says. "My goal is to sing harmony with the shul."

When leading services, he doesn't wear a tie. Oh, he'll wear one when he's Dr. Kranzler, but in shul he abides by a classic chasidic maxim: A man should wear a gartle, a sa…