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Showing posts from January, 2011

Alban: Authority or Leadership?

Authority or Leadership? by Dan Hotchkiss
In olden times, we like to think, society accorded great authority to clergy. Whether or not this rosy generalization stands up to scrutiny (it does not), we mainstream clergy certainly have lost some of the cachet our counterparts enjoyed from 1945 to 1965 or so. Many people then believed attending and supporting congregations to be just as much a part of being a good person as stopping at stop signs, dressing neatly, and keeping your lawn mowed. I believe our loss of authority presents clergy with a great opportunity. Authority, appealing as it is, can also be confining. In the days of easy postwar growth, U.S. congregations fell into rigid patterns and became more similar to one another. Like an inbred, highly cultivated strain of livestock, they became vulnerable to common threats. The social changes of the 1960s brought death to many congregations, especially—I woul…

Jewish Contemplative Day Long Retreat

Experience a comprehensive journey framed in the Jewish tradition to bring more joy, relaxation and fulfillment into your life. During this day-long workshop, we will engage in a carefully composed sequence of activities designed to help you cultivate personal awareness and a sense of well-being. Our practices will include: silent meditation, Hebrew chanting, contemplative davenning, gentle movement and breath-work. During the day we will refrain from casual conversation as a way to deepen our practice. Please join us as we discover the profound gifts the Jewish tradition offers to help us nurture ourselves and community. Please bring your own lunch for an eating meditation session.

Register: Call the Chochmat office (510) 704-9687, or visit .

Cost: We will follow a retreat payment model. There will be a nominal mandatory fee to cover administrative costs due upon registration ($2…

the struggle for Israel on the Rutgers campus

Shalom Chevreh - 
See the links below from the urgent and emotional struggle for Israel on the Rutgers campus: - this is serious. it is immediate. and it's connected, even if not explicitly, to the work we've been engaging in Berkeley, SF, and beyond. 
Please consider posting the links below on your Facebook account, or just share them with others.  My general message is something short like "Israel is as 'human' as every other country, for good and for bad. But it is our home, with every right to be loved and defended."
Kol HaKavod to the Rutgers Hillel staff, including our colleague and teacher Rabbi Esther Reed (associate director for campus jewish life), on supporting our students and community!  may the work ahead be less, and the support at least as strong.
kol tuv, menachem
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom || Bay Area Masorti  ||  ShefaNetwork.orgRabbis for Women of the Wall|| To join Rabbi Creditor's email list,…

Sat. Night, Feb 6: Tehiyah's Got Talent!

Re: [bamasorti] Rabbi Sunshine's Israel trip

Dear Bay Area Masorti Chevreh.
For those who didn't know in advance, Rabbi Elon Sunshine, spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Shalom in Walnut Creek ( is participating in an amazing unity mission for Bay Area rabbis, organized by the Consul General of Israel in San Francisco.  Bay Area Masorti is a network of Masorti (Conservative) communities in the Bay Area, and Rabbi Sunshine has graciously offered to blog his reflections on this trip through bamasorti.  
If you know of anyone who would like to receive these emails, and others from Bay Area Masorti, please have them send a blank email to  There are Israel trips happening through Masorti shuls in our area (I'm leading one this July), and we are hopeful that this email listserve and the network being built by members of our communities and our rabbis will be a source of strength for our local Jewish community, as well as an online network for awareness-raising and …

Response to Six Feet Under (3:4)

Response to Six Feet Under (3:4) (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
It is in the absences that the soul emerges.It is precisely that gap that pulls me out. pause
When the rhythm breaks, when the air quivers, the eye widens shock
How to cultivate this rupture, this ritual pause, honesty.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom || Bay Area Masorti  ||  ShefaNetwork.orgRabbis for Women of the Wall|| To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to "GenXers and Boomers: Humility and Tzimtzum" "GenXers and Boomers: Humility and Tzimtzum"
At a conference earlier this year, I heard a denominational leader now close to retirement ask whether the young leaders who are going outside of traditional institutional frameworks understand "who published the siddurim that they are using, and who gave them their training and credentials." This comment echoes the findings of a recent study by the AVI CHAI Foundation examining the impact of Jewish leaders in their 20s and 30s. In that study, American Jewish history scholar Jack Wertheimer writes, "For their part, younger Jewish leaders would do well to reexamine their views of the establishment. For all its weaknesses, it played a major role in educating them." In both of these comments, I detect a hint of resentment toward young leaders, and an accusation that they/we (I'm a 34 year-old rabbi who started a…

More than 70 College Students Attend National Ramah January Staff Training Programs

Rabbi Donniel Hartman: "To My Dear Granddaughter "

To My Dear Granddaughter   (17/01/2011)By DONNIEL HARTMAN We welcomed you to the world this week. With your birth something strange happened to me, which I did not experience with the birth of my children. As I looked at you I began to calculate how old I would be when you get married, or whether I would be alive to celebrate with you your children's bar or bat mitzvah. At 52, I am a young grandfather, and God willing, have much life ahead of me. Yet I experienced your birth as the beginning of a new era, which I recognized will continue beyond me. An era whose nature you will shape and will be shaped by. I don't want to burden you now unnecessarily, as from your perspective your major challenge right now is to master the art of feeding. But I write this in the hope that one day you will master that task and others, and be able to read and understand what I am writing to you today. You have been born into a great trad…

Josh Kornbluth comes to The Ashby Stage! (Discount for CNS Chevreh on Feb 9th!)

ANDY WARHOL: GOOD FOR THE JEWS?Written & Performed by
Josh KornbluthHAVE YOU HEARD?Rabbi Menachem Creditor will be at The Ashby Stage in conversation with Josh Kornbluth on Wednesday, February 9th after the performance.Friends of Congregation Netivot Shalom can get $3 off their tickets on that night by using the discount code: NetivotTickets can be purchased online atWWW.SHOTGUNPLAYERS.ORG or by giving our Box Office a call at510.841.6500"Hilarity segues into serious reflections... Kornbluth continues to grow as an artist, both in his uncanny comic timing and the ambition of what he takes on."    - SF Chronicle

THREE WEEKS ONLY! FEBRUARY 9 - 27Shotgun brings the Bay Area's favorite intellectual comedian Josh Kornbluth to the Ashby Stage in an East Bay remount of his highly successful new show. He's funny, he's outrageously smart, and his ideas are challenging e…