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Showing posts from 2009

CNS 6th-8th graders: Kadima Havdallah and Ice Skating Event

CNS Kadima's Havdalah and Ice Skating Event for 6th-8th graders
Saturday Night January 16th 6:30-8:30pm

Cost: $11  (Includes Skates) Meet at the Gazebo at Civic Park in Walnut Creekfor Havdalah and Games followed by Ice-Skating!  Remember to bring warm clothing and socks! Gazebo at Civic Park, 1301 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.

Kadima is the 6th-8th grade Youth Group at Netivot Shalom, part of the Conservative Movement's International Youth Group,
connecting Jewish teens around the world!

RSVP to Rabbi Shalom Bochner (510) 549-9447, Ext 104
To arrange for carpools and for those who can parents who can drive please contact Rabbi Bochner.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to

This Summer: Ramah Outdoor Adventure!

This Summer: Ramah Outdoor Adventure!   
This summer, the National Ramah Commission is opening a one of a kind Jewish outdoor adventure camp in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains called Ramah Outdoor Adventure (  This camp will combine 60+ years of Ramah camping experience with the best of outdoor adventure activities including horseback riding, climbing and rafting.  Students from throughout the United States who are entering grades 6-10  in September 2010 (and are not currently enrolled in a Ramah camp) are invited to apply to become part of the opening cohort of campers.   The camp is located 90 miles from Denver in Pike National Forest on the 360 acre Ramah in the Rockies ranch!  During its inaugural summer, Ramah Outdoor Adventure will be offering 1, 2 & 4 week options!
Rabbi Eliav Bock 
Director, Ramah Outdoor Adventure
Visit us online at

VaYigash 5770: “Broken Words”

VaYigash 5770: "Broken Words"
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Think back to a moment in which words failed you.  What was it you were feeling?  Anger?  Joy?  Pain?

When Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers, it is because he can't hold it back any more ("veLo Yachol Yosef", Gen. 45:1).  Judah, the eldest brother has demonstrated his growth by offering himself in the (new) youngest brother's stead as a slave.  This is not the same Judah who collaborated in Joseph's sale.  Joseph can't hold it back.  His heart is broken and overflowing.

And his self-disclosure renders his brothers unable to say anything at all ("veLo Yachlu Echav", Gen 45:3).  This scene evokes an earlier encounter between Joseph and his brothers, the one that set the whole story in motion.  When Joseph seeks his brothers (Gen. 37:16) they are already unable to tolerate even his simple well-wishes ("veLo Yachlu Dabro leShalom" Gen. 37:4, see N. Sarna).  It is just too …

Jewish Week: "The Re-founding of Conservative Judaism"

Jewish Week: "The Re-founding Of Conservative Judaism"

by Rabbi Noah Zvi Farkas
Special To The Jewish Week

As Rabbi Steven Wernick presided over his first United Synagogue Conservative Judaism biennial, held earlier this month, there was a sense of an unprecedented opportunity to discuss the history and future of Conservative Judaism.  

As a young rabbi who believes in the idea of religious movements, I note that Conservative Judaism is a grass-roots coalition that has lost two of its primary organizing principles: one was that Conservative Judaism and Conservative synagogues serve the need for Eastern European Jewish immigrants to become Americanized while holding on to their religious roots.

The other is the recognition that the scholastic trend to study ancient and medieval Jewish texts scientifically, known as Wissenschaft des Judentums, has not yielded a sufficiently sacred orientation f… "Conservative Judaism conference to tackle intermarriage,'homo-lesbian' ordinations" "Conservative Judaism conference to tackle intermarriage,'homo-lesbian' ordinations"

Burning issues threatening to split the Conservative Movement, such as the ordination of homosexual and lesbian rabbis, the sharp drop in the number of young members and the challenge of intermarriage will be raised this week during a two-day conference in Jerusalem's Van Leer Institute entitled "Conservative Judaism: Halacha, Culture and Sociology."

"This will be the first time that an institution not associated with the Conservative Movement will devote a scholarly conference to Conservative Judaism," said Professor Naftali Rothenberg, Jewish Culture and Identity Chair

at Van Leer.

"And this is happening on the backdrop of a major crisis that the Conservative Movement is undergoing, in which members of the religious Right and Left in…

NYT: In a Manhattan Classroom, Judaism Meets the Facts of Life

December 12, 2009 On Religion In a Manhattan Classroom, Judaism Meets the Facts of Life By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
Nearing his ninth decade, formal in vested suit and cufflinks, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein strode purposefully into a classroom of Ramaz High School on Manhattan's Upper East Side one recent Monday afternoon. He checked the presence and location of his 18 students against a seating chart. He chided one for arriving moments late.Then he led off the discussion of the homework assignment. It consisted of an article from the national Jewish newspaper, The Forward, about a married couple who participate avidly in both synagogue and swinging. "Aren't these people just being honest?" Rabbi Lookstein asked. Five or six hands immediately shot up.So began another day in Jewish Sexual Ethics, the course better known around Ramaz, even to its teacher, as "Sex With the Rabbi." For the l…

Jewbliee! January 24th from 1:00 – 8:00 pm.

4 hours of courses in Silicon Valley with Bay Area scholars, Open Kosher Buffet, Jewish Film Festival Screenings, and much more!!!  Rabbi Menachem Creditor will be presenting "Soulsongs: Spiritual Jewish Melody in the style of the Chassidic Masters" at 2:30.  For information, a schedule of the days events and to reserve a spot visit .  Adults 7, Students/Seniors 4, Kids under 4 are free!

New Adult Class @ CNS: Spiritual Practice and Jewish Law

Spiritual Practice and JewishLaw
With Rabbi Menachem Creditor
cosponsored by Lehrhaus Judaica & Congregation Netivot Shalom

What is the system of JewishLaw, and is it the same as spirituality?  Over the course of Jewish history, communities and individuals have developed many forms of Jewish spiritual practice.  Is there a sense of "command" in Judaism today?  Can a search for spirituality influence the way Jewishlaw functions?  We will explore these questions, and also engage questions of Denominations and modern community. No Hebrew is required for this class.

Dates:   Tuesdays, Jan. 19, 26; Feb. 9, 16, 25
Time:    7:30 to 9pm
Place:   Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley,
Class fee: $50-$75 — (sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds)
For more information or and to register, please call Rachel at Netivot Shalom at 510-549-9447, x101

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

To join Rabbi Creditor's…

blog from a program at YU: "Being Gay In The Orthodox World"

Being Gay In The Orthodox World: A Conversation with Members of the YU Community
posted by Chana at 10:29 PMTuesday, December 22, 2009
(see site for reader comments)

Tonight, December 22, 2009, the YU Tolerance Club and Wurzweiler School of Social Work hosted an event entitled "Being Gay in the Orthodox World: A Conversation with Members of the YU Community." I transcribed the event so that those who do not know any homosexual people or who were unable to make it could have the opportunity to learn a little bit about the choices people must make when in that situation.

Now more than ever I want it to be clear that this is as accurate a transcription as I could render but there definitely are parts that are missing. This is not verbatim. It is unofficial. It would be wrong to treat every word as divine. Any and all mistakes are mine. I would like to offer a forum for people to learn and to discuss, but not a f…