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Showing posts from August, 2010
The Rabbinical AssemblyAugust 2010 - Elul 5770
Conservative/Masorti Movement Condemns Ovadia Yosef's Hateful Speech

This past May, the Rabbinical Assembly passed a resolution on civil discourse in our society. It calls for speaking out against demonizing rhetoric and calls upon leaders to "conduct themselves according to the highest standards of civility in all public discourse." Calling for Palestinians "to perish" (see Haaretz) is unacceptable and intolerable in a civil society. Furthermore, Rabbi Yosef's words are not acceptable as words of Torah. Our tradition teaches us that the litmus test of authoritative Torah teaching is whether the words are words of "pleasantness and peace." (Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 32a, based on Proverbs 3:17) Torah teachings that are the clear antithesis of "pleasantness and peace," such as those of Ovadia Yosef, must be categorically rejected.

As leaders of the Conservative/Masorti movement, we deplore thes…

Rabbi Sharon Brous in "Supporting the mosque is the American (and Jewish) thing to do"

Rabbi Sharon Brous in "Supporting the mosque is the American (and Jewish) thing to do" President Obama, after saying that building a mosque at Ground Zero fit our "commitment to religious freedom,"backtracked, saying he wasn't commenting on the 'wisdom' of building it so close to 'hallowed ground.' 

A Fox News poll showed that while 61 percent of Americans believe that Cordoba House has a constitutional right to build near Ground Zero, 64 percent believe it is not appropriate to do so.

Does Obama's hedging show a lack of ethical convictions? Does Hamas' endorsement change the debate? What is behind public opposition to the site? Can you believe in religious freedom but not believe the mosque is appropriate?Last week a group of protesters came to chant "God Hates You" outside…

ap: "NYC mosque debate will shape American Islam"

ap: "NYC mosque debate will shape American Islam" By RACHEL ZOLL (AP) – 22 hours ago NEW YORK — Adnan Zulfiqar, a graduate student, former U.S. Senate aide and American-born son of Pakistani immigrants, will soon give the first khutbah, or sermon, of the fall semester at the University of Pennsylvania. His topic has presented itself in the daily headlines and blog posts over the disputed mosque near ground zero. What else could he choose, he says, after a summer remembered not for its reasoned debate, but for epithets, smears, even violence? As he writes, Zulfiqar frets over the potential fallout and what he and other Muslim leaders can do about it. Will young Muslims conclude they are second-class citizens in the U.S. now and always? "They're already struggling to balance, `I'm American, I'm Muslim,' and their ethnic heritage. It's very disconcerting," said …

Blogpost from Mike's First Draft: "USCJ Districts: An Alternative Vision"

USCJ Districts: An Alternative Vision
by Michael Culp Gilboa Last year the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, as part of its efforts to cut costs and redefine its mission, announced that it would be consolidating its 14 regions into six super-powered districts. Being a bit of a geography dork, I had one question: What are the new districts and what are their borders? So I emailed the USCJ and asked them what their new districts were going to be. I received no response to my email. A few months later I went on the website and saw that, lo and behold, the new districts had been unveiled. They are:

Metropolitan New York (METNY)
Southeast Seaboard
Pacific Southwest
Northern Pacific

Now, I wouldn't be going to rabbinical school if math were really my thing. (I'd be an astronaut.) Nevertheless, even I can tell that the six promised districts have somehow become seven. Also, there is a massive geographical disparity in t…

email conversation between a shefanik in Israel and David Rotem

Congregation Netivot Shalom  ||  Bay Area Masorti  || || To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: glenn tamir <gtamir613
Dear Hevre,

I thought perhaps you might be interested in an e-mail thread I had recently with MK David Rotem, sponsor of the "Conversion Bill" in Knesset( where else can this happen but in Israel).  I think what strikes me the most is his obvious complete disregard for and lack of knowledge of the Masorti Movement.

I realize that to most/all of you, this is not some new revelation.  Perhaps it is merely a message to us that we must all focus hard on the important issues that affect us as World and especially Israeli Jews.  This is a civil rights issue so let's tell it on the mountain and reach out to the Israeli Public as best we can.  They (we) need to know about Masorti and the importance of religious plurali…

looking for a 1st-2nd grade teacher

Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley's Conservative, egalitarian congregation,  is looking for a 1st-2nd grade teacher for the school year which runs September 14, 2010 through May 17, 2011 with breaks for Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving and winter vacation.  The school meets on Tuesday and Thursday 3:45 - 5:45. 
The qualifications for the position are:

1. Fluency in modern Hebrew and passion, skill and experience with teaching Hebrew
2. Desire to work in an egalitarian, traditional, participatory setting
3. Creative approach to teaching using games, movement, skits. etc.
The salary is $35 - $55/hour based on experience

Applicants should send a resume to Rabbi Shalom Bochner, the Director of LifeLong Learning for the congregation at: or call 510-549-9447, ext. 104

Rabbi Menachem CreditorCongregation Netivot Shalom  ||  Bay Area Masorti  || || To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email tothetisch-subscr…

Two letters to the J -- aug 27, 2010

Two letters to the J-- aug 27, 2010What if
What if those who imagine theirs was the prescription for addressing the complexities of the UC Berkeley campus committed to 10 hours each volunteering at Hillel?  Having spent considerable time with Berkeley students, on and off campus, it is my firm belief that the clarity these comments claim would be a bit less, and the support of Hillel quite a bit more.  We have work to do as a community to strengthen our ties to Israel.  Attacking the very Jewish organizations and leaders who fight for these ties is, at best, a waste of limited communal resources.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Taking Inventory
In response to the many comments already posted here:  If you had stood on campus with me, Rabbi Hanan Alexander, Consul General Akiva Tor, Rabbi Yonatan Cohen, Rabbi Judah Dardik, and Rabbi Adam Naftalin Kelman, you would channel the overwhelming passion you are demonstrating here to raising f…

You're Invited - The Art of Living 2010

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Sunday October 10, 2010 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
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You are cordially invited to join JFCS/East Bay for our fourth annual Art of Living gala event.
We look forward to a festive evening of celebration, community, and animation, with great food and exciting raffle prizes. Please click below to RSVP and purchase raffle tickets. REGISTER NOW!

SPECIAL OFFER: Join at or upgrade to the Family Membership at the Oakland Museum of California and an anonymous supporter will donate $50 to JFCS/East Bay. Simply write "JFCS" in the Comments field when you join.

Rabbi Jason Miller on "Rescind the Ban on Attending Interfaith Weddings" "Rescind the Ban on Attending Interfaith Weddings"Op Ed By Rabbi Jason A. MillerPublished August 25, 2010, issue of September 03, 2010. When I decided to become a rabbi in 1996, I visited the Jewish Theological Seminary, my future rabbinical school. Along with sitting in on some classes, I stayed in the apartment of four first-year rabbinical students. I still recall a discussion we had at the Shabbat dinner table. One of the rabbinical students raised the question of what would happen if one of their siblings became engaged to a non-Jew — could they even attend the wedding?The Rabbinical Assembly, Conservative Judaism's rabbinic organization, lists attendance by a rabbi at a wedding between a Jew and a non-Jew as a violation of its "Standards of Religious Practice" in its code of professional conduct. The underlying rationale is that a rabbi's attendance at an interfaith wedding would be perceived as condoning …