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Showing posts from November, 2008

VaYeira 5769/2008: “Which Fire Will It Be?”

VaYeira 5769/2008: “Which Fire?”© Rabbi Menachem CreditorIn honor of Joe MeresmanWhen we tell the story of the Akeidah, the Binding of Isaac, how do we tell it?Do we dare question the God who commands the unthinkable?Do we allow the text which portrays God this way to push us completely away from faith, rejecting the troubling image?Do we hold Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only remaining son, his entire future, as admirable?Do we see and acknowledge Sarah’s absence from the narrative ?Do we discuss God never speaking to Abraham again after the Akeidah?Do we point to Isaac’s complicity in the story? (He is old enough to hold the wood for the sacrifice on his back, and so he is strong enough to resist, we suppose.)So many questions.And so important to us, to our world that we ask them.Too often we fall into apologetics (“God was only testing”, “Abraham knew it was a test”, etc… ) but we lose the awfulness , the compelling tension, the struggle of the story when we do not ask th…

NAASE Kashrut

Dear Chevreh,NAASE, the Conservative Movement's North American Association Of Synagogue Executives, has a yearly international convention.This year's convention (November 15-20,2008) is being shared with NATA, the Reform Movement's corresponding organization.That's a wonderful synergy.But the conference catering isn't Kosher.(There is something like a "kosher option" for those who would choose.)I hope you are as outraged as I am to discover that a professional association of Conservative synagogue leaders chose to forego kashrut at their national convention.USCJ withdrew participation of its national and regional staff in reaction to the decision.Both NAASE and your particular Executive Director should hear from you on the subject.Please contact the NAASE office to voice your response: NAASE OfficeRapaport House820 Second AvenueNew York NY 10017phone: 212-533-7800 Ext 2609 fax to (631) 732-9461email: office@naase.orgThe NAASE homepage ishttp://www.naase.o…

This Shabbat at 10:30am: National Prop 8 protests are the "tipping point"

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"No one in California political circles has ever seen such a speedy response to a single political event. And it's spreading across the country. More than 10,000 rallied in New York City on Wednesday evening..." --  San Jose Mercury News, November 13Dear Chevreh, Will you be a part of "The Tipping Point" on marriage equality?In 2000, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a best-selling book exploring how small events can catalyze seismic shifts in culture. Eight years later, you can participate in what could be one of the most profound "tipping points" in American political history.On Saturday morning, at the exact same time across the country, thousands of people will march, rally and protest the passage of Prop 8.  This Shabbat at Congregation Netivot Shalom, at precisely 10:30am we will mark that moment during services as well.Incredibly, this volunteer-run national event was not organized by a well-known institution or coalition of organizations. It was sparked j…

JTA: "Op-Ed: Denominational bickering hurts outreach efforts"

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Op-Ed: Denominational bickering hurts outreach effortsBy · November 12, 2008NEW YORK (JTA)—There is an old saying, made popular by Hillary Clinton, that it takes a village to raise a child. As people grow, their future is impacted not only by family, but also the society as a whole. This includes teachers, mentors, bosses and the institutions in which they reside. Everyone, the saying implies, has a hand in developing who a person is and what he or she becomes.The same can be said about raising a Jew – it takes the whole community, the diversity of every aspect of Judaism, to shape a Jew. It can also be said about Judaism itself, from Reform to Orthodox, that we all have a hand in shaping the future of the entire Jewish community. That's why it is up to us, here and now, to make sure the community will grow, will thrive and will become more dynamic as we raise the next generation of Jews. It is our responsibility to lead the way, to come together and work for the sake of the enti…

JTA: "Independent minyanim growing rapidly, and the Jewish world is noticing "

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Independent minyanim growing rapidly, and the Jewish world is noticingBy Ben Harris · November 11, 2008WALTHAM, Mass. (JTA) -- When Kehilat Hadar met for its first Shabbat morning service on Manhattan's Upper West Side in 2001, about 60 people showed up, some of them spilling into the hallway at the apartment of Ethan Tucker, one of the minyan's founders. Three weeks later the number had ballooned to more than 100. "It was a wide range of people already there and I didn't know half of them," said Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, another of Hadar's three founders. "That's when I actually got a sense that this was bigger than just a couple of friends getting together."Seven years later, Hadar now attracts some 200 worshipers on a typical Shabbat and has a mailing list of about 2,500. More significantly, it has been joined by some 55 so-called independent minyanim across the country.The Jewish institutional world is beginning to take notice. On Monday, represe…

The faith Vote - from eastbaywestonline.org

East Bay West Online: The faith vote04 November 2008 - http://eastbaywestonline.org/2008/11/04/the-faith-vote/
by Huda Ahmed & Japhet Weeks / photos by Yulia WeeksThis past weekend, just a few days before the presidential elections came to a long-awaited conclusion, religious leaders in Berkeley and Oakland opened their different sacred texts to the same page.A rabbi, a pastor and an imam urged their faithful to vote on Tuesday. And though none of them endorsed a particular candidate, all three men are backing Barack Obama.According to a recently published national survey conducted by the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, religious groups are oriented politically the same way they were four years ago, with only slight differences. The black Protestant vote, for example, which tends to be democratic, is even more heavily so this year as compared to four years ago. The Jewish vote, on the other hand, is less decidedly democratic than it was in 200…

Web-audio for "Three Movements, One Future: Challenges Facing American Jews"

Shalom Chevreh -

Here is a great audio link from the Harold Hoffman Memorial Lecture at Temple Beth El in Stamford Ct, entitled "Three Movements, One Future: Challenges Facing American Jews," which can now be found on the shul's site, www.tbe.org.   The three panelists at the roundtable were Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Richard Joel, President of Yeshiva University, and Dr. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary. 

Some of the coverage from the event:
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/top_jewish_leaders_say_collaboration_is_key_to_vitality/
http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/norwalkadvocate/news/ci_10933370

Kol Tuv,
Menachem

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
-- www.netivotshalom.org
-- www.shefanetwork.org
-- menachemcreditor.org

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a newer Aron Kodesh photo

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From Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson - on the Presidential Election

A Great Nation – A Source of Blessings Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson It is 1 AM on Wednesday morning, just after midnight, November 5th. As I sit and craft these words, the citizens of the United States have just completed a great miracle. Today, as they do every four years, they re-established a new nation, one in which the People – not government, not military, not wealth, but the people — are sovereign. This day, as is true every four years, the American people reconsidered their collective vision of who we are as a nation, what our agenda is to be into the future. Because of the miracle of free elections, the world witnessed a nation that is not trapped by previous policies or institutions, not hobbled by previous biases or prejudice, one which took upon itself the creative capacity to reinvent itself and its future. Surely such a  moment, rare around the globe and in human history, summons our reverent attention. Look how far we have come! As I drove my daughter's carpool to schoo…

Open Letter to Barack Obama from Alice Walker

Dear Chevreh,

Regardless of which way any of us voted yesterday, I share this letter from Alice Walker to President-elect Obama with the recognition that those who did vote for him now need to ask those who did not how we can together help build our country.  It is no sin to disagree, but we have much work to do, and this precious letter from a profound modern hero to our next leader is, I believe, a good and important place to start.

Kol Tuv,
Menachem

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
-- www.netivotshalom.org
-- www.shefanetwork.org
-- menachemcreditor.org

To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to thetisch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.


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Open Letter to Barack Obama from Alice Walker
Nov. 5, 2008

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being
the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because
you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver
the torch so many others before you carried, ye…

msnbc: "Israel considers question: ‘Who is a Jew?’"

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MSNBC.com
Israel considers question: 'Who is a Jew?' Issue heads to higher court after rabbis annul some 40,000 conversions The Associated Press updated 4:17 p.m. PT,Sat., Nov. 1, 2008
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27489870/
JERUSALEM - Raised without religion in Maryland, Shannon sought to make a new life for herself as a Jew in Israel.In a rigorous conversion process, she studied religious law for a year, took a Hebrew name and changed her wardrobe to long skirts and sleeves as dictated by Orthodox Jewish custom. Finally, a panel of rabbis pronounced her Jewish.But five years later, she and some 40,000 like her have suddenly had their conversions annulled by Israel's Rabbinical High Court. The court says the rabbi who heads a government authority set up to oversee conversions is too liberal in approving them.The issue, now headed to Israel's Supreme Court, has exposed an intensifying power struggle inside Israel's religious establishment over the age-old question o…