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Showing posts from September, 2011

Rosh HaShannah 5772: "A Loving Call"

Rosh HaShannah 5772: "A Loving Call" (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
On Rosh HaShannah, after hearing the Shofar each of the three times during Musaf, we recite these words:
"May the words of our lips be pleasing to You, God, who listens, discerns, considers, and attends to the sound of our shofar blast. Lovingly accept our offering..."
God "listens, discerns, considers, and attends to the sound of our shofar blast"? This vision is of a God who needs, listens, and loves, a God Who is not content to be Alone.  The very title Melech/King, used throughout Yamim Nora'im points to this as well.  We do not believe in a gendered definition of God (nor do we deal particularly well with authority) but this title implies relationship, for what is a ruler without subjects?  And we wish it to be this way, which is why we plead "May the words of our lips be pleasing... lovingly accept our offering." As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschelz"l taught, "Judaism s…

Rosh Hashana e-Shiur from the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem

Rosh Hashana E-ShiurThe Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem
The Conservative Yeshiva is pleased to bring you this E-Shiur, "Zohar on the Holidays of Tishrei" by Dr. Shaiya Rothberg. The E-shiur can be downloaded in pdf and printed out, for your convenience. The sources in the original (Hebrew and Aramaic) with translation into English can be downloaded here.
We hope this E-Shiur contributes to your High Holiday learning!
On behalf of all at the Conservative Yeshiva, we wish you Shana Tova.
Rabbi Shmuel (Richard) Lewis, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb, Director

a Letter to the Wall Street Journal

I believe Tevi Troy's "The White House's Advice for Your Rabbi" (Sept. 23) was inaccurate. Rabbis have not been pressured to talk politics from the pulpit by the White House during the upcoming Holiday season.  Jewish tradition teaches Jews to "Pray for the welfare of the government, without which people would tear each other apart." It isn't political to talk about the needs of our society, which has been the thrust of the White House's message. We must be engaged in our country's welfare.  It is a Jewish communal obligation as well as a central obligation of citizenship.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor Congregation Netivot Shalom Berkeley, CA

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom || Bay Area Masorti ||  ShefaNetworkRabbis for Women of the Wall|| To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to

Amitim for Grown-Ups

Amitim for Grown-Upswith Rabbi Creditor Tuesday Nights, 7:30pm-9pm
Dates: Nov. 8, 29; Dec. 13, 20; Jan. 3, 17, 24; Feb. 7, 14, 21; March 6, 13, 27; April 3, 17; May 1, 22 Tuition: $180-$360 for the entire series (some scholarship is available, no one turned away for lack of funds) Please register by email to
Have you been wishing to have an Aliyah, read Torah, and understand Shabbat morning services but don't yet have the confidence or skills?  In this brand new Adult class we will share the wisdom of "Amitim," the CNS Bar/Bat Mitzvah program!  This will be a wonderful way to gain (or brush-up on) synagogue skills, practice basic Hebrew prayer, learn how to craft a Drasha, and more!  Every class will begin at 7:30 with a "How-to" component, a 10 minute break, and then a chance for guided discussion on a range of related Jewish topics.  Participants will have the option of celebrating an Adult Bat or Bar Mitzvah, either as a group or as indi…

"Free" or "Inspired by Violin"

"Free" or "Inspired by Violin" (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Amazing things,
those souls with strings. Every stroke and every sound, penetrates and swirls around.
Not suspended, undefended, flying free, as God intended. It touches where no word can go, deep within, where spirit flows.
And if the blessing sought is touched, your heart, your soul might feel the rush, of all that is and what might be, coursing through to set you free.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom || Bay Area Masorti ||  ShefaNetwork
Rabbis for Women of the Wall||
To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to

Dr. Alex Sinclair in JPost: "Israel engagement is Israel’s responsibility too"

Israel engagement is Israel's responsibility too
23/09/2011 Dr. Alex Sinclair is the Director of Programs in Israel Education for the Jewish Theological Seminary. He directs Kesher Hadash, the semester-in- Israel program of JTS's Davidson School of Education.

Most Israel engagement programs are rooted in one core underlying assumption: that American Jewish identity and life are in some way incomplete without, or at the very least can be enriched by, a relationship with Israel and Israelis. According to this assumption, the problem of Israel engagement is located entirely within the American Jewish context, and it is there that the worldwide Jewish community's efforts must be directed in order to fix the problem. American Jews are brought to Israel in order to be inspired and become connected; Israelis are sent to the United States in order to educate and inspire young Americans at summer camp…

Remarks of President Barack Obama - As Prepared for Delivery, United Nations General Assembly

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery Address to the United Nations General Assembly New York City September 21, 2011
As Prepared for Delivery –

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations – the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world.

War and conflict have been with us since the beginning of civilization. But in the first part of the 20th century, the advance of modern weaponry led to death on a staggering scale. It was this killing that compelled the founders of this body to build an institution that was focused not just on ending one war, but on averting others; a union of sovereign states that would seek to prevent conflict, while also addressing its causes.

No American did more to pursue this objective than Preside…

It's Real

It's Real (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
It's real. It's real. All I can think to say... Words escape me, and my heart begins to shake.
That sound,  that primal scream of broken-ness, I fall into it, broken myself,  shivering in awe at its call.
I shake  into one,  into three,  into nine, into one...

"Baby N’ Me!" At Congregation Netivot Shalom

Baby N' Me!At Congregation Netivot ShalomWednesdays, 9:15 am -10:30amOct. 26; Nov. 2, 9, 16, 30; Dec. 7, 14$10/session, $60/season Join CNS Preschool Director Lauren Kindorf in this new offering at Netivot Shalom for babies, toddlers, parents and caregivers!We'll meet on Wednesdays for stories, songs, parachutes, parenting discussions, and more!Please register with Lauren at (510) 549-9447 x110 or
What Color are Jews? Exploring the Diversity of Our Community Locally and Globally
Local photographer, Bryan Schwartz documented the global Jewish community in his exhibit, Scattered Among the Nations, which opens Sept. 18 at TempleSinai.  Scattered Among the Nations challenges the stereotypes of what Jews look like. 
Date:    September 18     Time:    5:00-7:00pm Place:   TempleSinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland Information: Dawn Kepler, Co-sponsored with TempleSinai & Lehrhaus Judaica __________________________ Dawn C. Kepler, Director Building Jewish Bridges: Embracing Interfaith Couples 2736 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA94704 (510) 845-6420 x11 Scattered Among the Nations  View a magnificent photo exhibit of Jews around the globe. Opening night with speaker & photographer, Bryan Schwartz.  Sept. 18 at 5pm in Oakland. Call for details.

PLO official: Palestine should be free of Jews

First Published:   20:03 , 09.14.11Latest Update:   00:42 , 09.15.11
Statehood Bid
Abbas. Seeking Judenrein?Photo: Reuters
click here to enlarge text PLO official: Palestine should be free of Jews,7340,L-4122473,00.html

PLO ambassador to US says 'after 44 years of occupation, it would be in both peoples' interest to be separated' adding that Palestinians need separation to work on national identity. US diplomat subs remarks 'despicable form of anti-Semitism' 
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON - The Palestinian Liberation Organization's Ambassador to the US Maen Areikat said Wednesday that any future Palestinian state must be free of Jews. Speaking to reporters in the US he said, "After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated."Areikat made the statements after being asked about the rights of minori…

JTSblog: The Value of Denominations in Judaism

Dear JTS Family,Why does Judaism have denominations, and what do these branches add to the Jewish story?This week, in "The Value of Denominations in Judaism," I join the lively conversation that continues to take place on the JTS blog with a look at the way Judaism and our religious communities have evolved. The Conservative Judaism blog is a place where Jews can share their experiences and discuss their beliefs on a variety of topics. Read the essay and let me know what you think.

You can also review the responses to my essay by Julie Schonfeld and Adam Roffman.

Visit the "Conservative Judaism: A Community Conversation" blog—and follow me on Twitter @Arnold Eisen ( as well.Sincerely,Arnold M. Eisen
The Jewish Theological Seminary

An Open Letter in support of MOCHA

To Executive Director: Masako Kalbach,, Chair of MOCHA Board: Hilmon Sorey,
From Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA (
Dear Masako Kalbach and Hilmon Sorey,
I am a rabbi of a Jewish congregation in Berkeley, and I can only imagine the many, many letters, let alone the social media blitz that has attacked MOCHA for the decision to cancel the exhibit featuring children's art from Gaza.  I wish to offer my support, and the support of my community, and our gratitude for your decision.  I have experienced great hatred aimed at many kinds of people since arriving in the Bay Area 5 years ago, and was proud that, just this past Sunday, my Jewish community stood and prayed with our Turkish Muslim friends at the Pacifica Institute for the health of American and the world.  I am a rabbi who prays for a Palestinian State to emerge safely, someday soon.  
I am so sorry for the inundation you must be dealing with. …