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Showing posts from August, 2009

A Note from Rabbi Creditor: The Pause After the Call

BaA Note from Rabbi Creditor
The Pause After the Call

Sunday night's spiritual power blew the roof off our shul.

We were blessed, thanks to the dedication of Tobie Lurie, Sharon Priven, and Karen Hecht, to host an Iftar (breaking the fast of Ramadan) with the Bay Area Cultural Connections (BayCC), a local Turkish Muslim group whose mission is to organizes activities to help establish a tolerant, caring, and educated society.  Over 75 Jews and Muslims sat together, meeting, eating, learning - and, thanks to John Erlich, singing!

Two calls, followed by two pauses: 

Oytun Eskiyenenturk, a leader of BAYCC, closed his eyes and called the Muslim men and women to prayer.  Here we were, gathered in our sacred home, granting space to our brothers and sisters who call God by the name Allah.  I stood next to him and felt the hearts of all those gathered, Jewish and Muslim, swell.  We breathed so deeply in the fleeting seconds following Oyton's call.

Toward the end of the evening, I gave a tou…

an amazing Yamim Nora'im collection from JTS/Ziegler/RA/USCJ

Ki Anu Amecha:An amazing resource for Rosh HaShannah was just created, including Rabbi Brad Artson, Professor Arnie Eisen, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld and Rabbi Steven Wernick, all commenting on "Ki Anu Amecha."  The link to the PDF of the document is here:  May the cooperation and shared Torah-learning define the emerging institutional relationship for our Movement!

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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The Ramah Post-Camp Season: Hosting Programs of Innovation and Inspiration

The Ramah Post-Camp Season:
Hosting Programs of Innovation and Inspiration
August 2009
Elul 5769Dear Friends of Ramah, As more than 9,000 Ramah campers and staff said their tearful goodbyes after another fantastic summer of growth and friendship, one might think that our Ramah campsites go into hibernation until next summer's opening day. This couldn't be farther from reality! During the weeks between mid-August and Labor Day, Ramah camps host nearly 2,000 individuals in a wide array of innovative programs. Ramah is proud to be the central regional campus for so many of our Conservative Movement's organizations as well as an ongoing center of inspirational activity even after our campers and staff return home. Kol tuv,  Rabbi Mitch Cohen, National Ramah Director  The Ramah Post-Camp Season:: Family Camps for Families with Children with Special Needs:: Garin Ramah at the Ramah in the Rockies Ranch:: Hillel Conferences:: United Synagogue Youth (USY) Encampment Programs:: Family …

Rabbi Elliot Dorff: "Why We Must Support Universal Health Care"

August 26, 2009Why We Must Support Universal Health Careby Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff cover_story/article/why_we_must_support_universal_health_care_20090826/Whether or not we are believers in the Obama plan, or any of the particular plans for universal health care currently winding their way through Congress, support for universal health care is an imperative in Jewish law. Although what is available in medicine and its cost have changed radically, particularly over the past century, the fundamental right to receive good care — and to be compensated for giving it — goes very far back in our heritage, though perhaps, ironically, not all the way to the Torah or even the Mishnah.When physicians could not do much to heal a sick patient, their services were easily attainable, relatively cheap, and, frankly, not much sought after. "The best of physicians should go to hell," the Mishnah says, reflecting people's frustration in the second century C.E. wit…

Fwd: Alban - The Stories We Are

by Richard L. Hester and Kelli Walker-Jones
We think of ourselves in the form of an unfolding story. When we want to recover something from the past, we rewind the film that is our life to see the narrative there. When we think of the present, we do so in a narrative. As we're having breakfast we consider what lies ahead and what happened just a few minutes ago. Thinking about the future is done on the scaffolding of a narrative. Story holds it all together, gives it structure. All of this is an inner narrative that we couldn't possibly tell, and if we could, few would have the patience to listen to all of it. The stories we do tell are culled from the narrative within us.If we were asked to tell our inner story, that ongoing narrative about our life, most likely we'd be stumped. That story isn't something we generally think about, nor is it easy to pin down. It is so close, so intimate, so much a part of flesh and bone, that we can't see it. Yet i…

Standing before God - An E-Shiur for Selichot from the Conservative Yeshiva

Standing Before God
An E-Shiur for Selichot from the Conservative Yeshiva

Two links:

The first, , is the text of the shiur, which stands on its own. The second, , is a set of sources in Hebrew and English and guiding questions, for "working harder." 
These can be studied individually, in chevruta or in a group/class.  Feel free to use them, in whole or in part, as you find appropriate, including printing them out and making copies. We hope you find this useful and that you and your congregations have a Shana Tova.


Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb, Director
Conservative Yeshiva of the United Synagogue
8 Agron Street, PO Box 7456
Jerusalem 94265, Israel
Fax: 011-972-2-624-6473

Honey for Rosh Hashana (Harvested at Creekside Apiary in Wildcat Canyon)

Honey for a Sweet New Year.  Delicious local honey is available for Rosh Hashana (and beyond).  The Netivot Shalom Preschool is offering charming glass bear jars filled with this special treat harvested at Creekside Apiary in Wildcat Canyon adjacent to Tilden Park.  Buy them ($18/jar) for your own enjoyment or as a New Year's gift for friends or family. The honey will be available for pick up at Netivot Shalom from September 10-17th.  To place your order, e-mail Anna at and let her know how many jars you'd like us to prepare for you.   This is a great way to both support the CNS Preschool and sweeten your holiday season!

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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On the second day of Rosh haShanah, the Torah reading tells the story of the binding of Isaac, in which a ram is sacrificed.  The ram's horn or shofar is also a central part of the ritual: the sounds of the shofar are said to call one to repentance.  It is also appropriate to meditate on the ram at the beginning of Elul because the new moon of Elul is the new year of the animals according to Mishnah Rosh haShanah 1:1.
"Ten things were created on the eve of the [first] Sabbath at twilight. They are: the mouth of the earth, the mouth of the well, the mouth of the donkey, the rainbow, the manna, Moses' staff, the shamir, the writing {of the tablets  of the Ten Commandments), the writing instrument, and the tablets.  Some say: the demons, the grave of Moses, and the ram [sacrificed in place of  Isaac on Mount Moriah]. (Pirkei Avot 5:6)
Abraham grabs the ram hidden in the thicket and he…

Baltimore Jewish Times: "Conservative Judaism Thrives In Baltimore, But Troubled Nationwide"

Conservative Judaism Thrives In Baltimore, But Troubled NationwideAugust 21, 2009

Neil Rubin, Editor

Being a flag-waver for Conservative Judaism nationwide these days breathes new life into the old expression, "If things are so good, how come I feel so bad?"Except in Baltimore, which is experiencing a reverse of the country's trend of Reform Judaism passing Conservative Judaism in adherents. Membership units for Conservative shuls here are about 4,800 while the four Reform temples come in at about 3,000.As Rabbi Avram Reisner of Congregation Chevrei Tzedek noted, "You don't sense crisis in the Conservative congregations here."But the panoramic view of the U.S.-based Conservative movement and projections for its future have been perceived as so troubled that even Jack Wertheimer, a noted professor at the movement's Jew…