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Showing posts from April, 2014

Sarah Palin's Heresy

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Sarah Palin's Heresy Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Huffington Post ContributorPosted: 04/30/2014 11:51 am EDT  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-menachem-creditor/sarah-palin-nra_b_5235427.html

When Sarah Palin commented, at this last week's national National Rifle Association convention, "...waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists," she did worse than offend, worse than degrade human beings, worse than stir up a group of weapon-advocates. She did so in the Name of God. The fact that the NRA would allow someone to promote fundamentalism at their convention is a violation of their civic responsibility and a threat to human rights on a national scale.Most faith traditions incorporate water's restorative power. The Muslim ritual ablution of Wudu, the Jewish Mikveh ritual bath, the Hindu ritual immersions in theRiver Ganges, and the Christian practice of baptism, each point to renewal, transformation, and life. How dare the NRA tolerate -- worse, amplify -- hatred…

Fwd: Celebrate Gala 5774 with Netivot Shalom!

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Celebrate Gala 5774 with Netivot Shalom! 25 years ago, a Conservative synagogue was envisioned around a kitchen table in Berkeley. From its very beginnings, this new shul was vibrant and participatory, and it steadily grew into the thriving sacred community we cherish today. Join us in celebrating 25th anniversary of the founding of Congregation Netivot Shalom at our Annual Gala, Sunday, June 15 at 6pm at our home on University Avenue. We willl also be honoring the many contributions of Milt and Marge Greenstein to Netivot.Enjoy fine food and conversation, stories and song. Formal invitations will be mailed shortly.
Placing an ad in the Tribute Journal is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this landmark anniversary and thank our honorees, while providing essential support for the great work happening at Netivot Shalom every single day.
Please consider placing the largest, most heartfelt sponsorship you can.
Gala Sponsorships and Tribute Journal submissions must be received by M…

New Class with Rabbi Stuart Kelman! "To PAUSE AND STRETCH The Rabbi's Need for Us to Take a Breath: Kaddish and Birchot HaShachar"

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Netivot Shalom's Adult Education Committee is proud to announce A New Class with Rabbi Stuart Kelman!  "To PAUSE AND STRETCH  The Rabbi's Need for Us to Take a Breath: Kaddish and Birchot HaShachar" WHERE: Library, Congregation Netivot Shalom WHEN:7:30 to 9pm: May 12 and 19  Join us for this 2-part class as we explore interrelated themes of Kaddish and the Morning Blessings of the siddur. Topics include: Why so many Kaddish's? Isn't one enough? A trip through the various forms and functions. Struggling to Wake Up!  The liturgy provides a response or two.Why Do we Invoke Chanukah every Time we Say Shacharit?  Ah, the mysteries of Psalm 30. It would be lovely if you have good Hebrew skills, but they are not necessary for these sessions.  And if you have your ownsiddurthat you like to use, bring it along.$10 per class. No one turned away for lack of funds. Pre-registration required. Please register with Daniel at office@netivotshalom.org. Questions?…

Support the New Israel Fund at the Israel Day Parade: We will not be deterred.

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Friends, 
I share below an email from Dan Sotatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, in light of vocal hatred from within the Jewish community being directed at NIF.
And so, I make the following request: Please, even if you are affiliated with other Jewish organizations, join the NIF in the Salute to Israel Day Parade in New York on June 1st. They are confronted by anti-Zionist protesters as we all march for Israel, they fight for Israel's internal strength as we all march, they and we are in this together. I am a progressive Zionist who proudly supports both AIPAC and New Israel Fund as manifestations of Theodor Herzl's two-fold vision:1) securing international legitimacy for the right of the Jewish people to a state of our own (ie, AIPAC), and 2) deepening the life of our national home (ie, NIF). 
And, having battled against BDS in Berkeley many times, I can truly say how profoundly grateful I am that NIF does its work. Please, join the NIF at the parade and beyond. We are in this to…

two minutes [#poem]

two minutes
© Rabbi Menachem Creditortwo minutesstanding silent
bodies swaying
next to frozen cars
as a national shofar blares
stopping timetransforming
highway into shul
childhood into something else
adults into children
strangers into barrack-mates
citizens into a People
people into survivors
survivors into symbolsswaying insecure
determined to remember
fight and protect
preparing to mourn
struggling for airnever again
will highway be highway
child be child
memory be memory
strangers be strangersnever again
for two minutes----
° menachemcreditor.org
° netivotshalom. org

Tonight at 7pm: Berkeley Synagogues' Yom haShoah Commemoration

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This Sunday at 7pm: The Berkeley Synagogues'
Communal Yom haShoah Commemoration
Congregation Beth El, Congregation Beth Israel, and Congregation Netivot Shalom Sunday, April 27th, 7pm at Congregation Netivot Shalom 1316 University Ave, Berkeley This year, as every year, we gather as a larger Berkeley Jewish community on Yom haShoah, in reflection, ritual, and mourning for the 6 Million. Our community's rabbis and members will stand together, pray, and recommit ourselves to being recipients and vessels of Jewish communal memory, unspeakable pain, and of holy righteousness and resistance during the Shoah.As part of the Berkeley Jewish Community's Yom HaShoah observance and commemoration this year, Arthur Shostak, professor emeritus of Drexel University, will speak about his passionate effort to write about a critical missing piece of Shoah history before it is too late. He is focused on 'forbidden caring behavior' which Jews provided to other Jews at great risk to their li…

The Torah's Call to the NRA: Do not profit from the blood of your fellow...

This Shabbat: a CNS Scholar in Residence: Rabbi Jay Michaelson!

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We will have three opportunities to learn from Rabbi Michaelson during this special Shabbat:
1) Erev Shabbat (Friday Night), as part of RelishDavening (5:30) and Dinner (6:30) $12 for adults // $10 for kids // $45 max/family -- Please RSVP if attending Dinner to Daniel at office@netivotshalom.org! Rabbi Michaelson's talk during dinner will be: "Evolving Dharma: How the "Meditation Revolution" is Changing Judaism." By now, it's not unusual for American Jews to meditate, to do so in Jewish contexts, and to mix and match among Jewish, Buddhist, and other forms. But how do we get beyond 'Meditation 101' and get serious about personal and social transformation? How does the current 'meditation revolution' impact how we think about Jewish practice? And how can we tailor our practice to specific, achievable goals?
2) Yom Shabbat (Shabbat morning), Rabbi Michaelson will deliver the drasha during Netivot Shalom's Shabbat davening.
3) After Birkat h…

The world we all see will only become the world we all need when each one of us pauses, takes turns describing to another the world we each long for, and if we then commit to building that collective dream, grander than any one of us has the capacity to imagine alone.

Visit the Toledo Blade page and tell them to cancel Ted Nugent's appearance at their festival.

the moment of noise starts now. a FB flashmob. join in, be heard. Visit the Toledo Blade page and tell them to cancel Ted Nugent's appearance at their festival. Certainly, nothing goes worse with family fun than the virulently racist rhetoric of a man who has no regard for the dignity or rights of others. https://www.facebook.com/thetoledoblade

this is what i wrote on the Toledo Blade page: "I'm an American faith leader, and I'm asking you to cancel Ted Nugent's appearance at your festival. His brand of hatemonger-ing tears at the fabric of our nation. We need better, and you deserve dignity, not shame."

Entering Pesach, Commanded to Live Free

Entering Pesach, Commanded to Live Free
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Today was a terrible day. A shotgun-wielding man opened fire at two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City, killing three people, including a teenager and his grandfather.  It's beyond awful. And totally in synch with so much that is wrong around us. Many of us are raging, but we know, deep down that healing's only going to happen when we, along with other faith communities and civic leaders, make a stand on behalf of a more noble society. If you are interested, I wrote the following two pieces in the immedate aftermath of today's tragedy.A Prayer in Light of the Shootings in Jewish JCC's and Assisted Living Centers in KansasEvil Shall Have No Power, Nor Shall Death: A Chad Gadya of Rage Pastor Michael McBride, my brother and teacher, reached out with comfort and strength today, as did many others. I shared with them, and I share with you, my conviction that the strength of the emerging voice for sanity …

Evil Shall Have No Power, Nor Shall Death: A Chad Gadya of Rage

Evil Shall Have No Power, Nor Shall Death: A Chad Gadya of Rage
©Rabbi Menachem Creditor
One sacrificial offering,
one little kid.
Our Founders bought
with their blood.
Then came inventors
who dreamed noble dreams
and brought them
to those in power
to build a better world
our Founders bought
for their little kids
with their blood.
Then those with power
forgot to dream of anything
besides power.
They bit and burned
the inventors
turned noble dreams
into monetized weapons,
sold each other's kids' blood,
that drowned out
the power to build a better world
our Founders bought
for their little kids
with their blood.
Then the Angel of Death
came to the Holy Blessed One, saying,
"I have no need of all these souls,
sent to me faster and faster,
by your children
who dream only of power.
Quench their thirst
so that they might dream big dreams
and reclaim the nobility
of pursuing a better world."
And God wept, saying,
"My children,
you've vanquished Me,
you've van…

A Prayer in Light of the Shootings taking place right now in Jewish JCC's and Assisted Living Centers in Kansas

A Prayer in Light of the Shootings taking place right now in Jewish JCC's and Assisted Living Centers in Kansas
© Rabbi Menachem CreditorPlease God,
watch over every child,
every elder,
all of us.Enough violence.
Enough!We're just so broken with all of this.People, this is the prayer you are called to offer right now: call the news station in your city right now. Call your leaders right now. Pray. Scream. Hug each other. Stop your hopelessness.The time to act as a noble human family is now.If you haven't been crying over dead children when they seem 'far away,' please realize that distance is an illusion.Act now.
If you don't,
Pesach has no liberation to offer.

Act now. If you don't, Pesach has no liberation to offer.

Please God, watch over every child, all of us. Enough violence. Enough! I'm just so broken with all of this. People, call the news station in your city right now. Call your leaders right now. Pray. Scream. Hug each other. Stop your hopelessness. The time to act as a noble human family is now. If you haven't been crying over dead children when they seem 'far away,' please realize that distance is an illusion. Act now. If you don't, Pesach has no liberation to offer.

Letter to the New York Jewish Week, RE: Stephanie Ive's "Why New Israel Fund Is Marching For Israel," April 11

Stephanie Ive's "Why New Israel Fund Is Marching For Israel," (April 11) eloquently articulated the textured Zionism I champion. I am a progressive Zionist who proudly supports both AIPAC and New Israel Fund as manifestations of Theodor Herzl's two-fold vision:1) securing international legitimacy for the right of the Jewish people to a state of our own (ie, AIPAC), and 2) deepening the life of our national home (ie, NIF). Having battled against BDS in Berkeley many times, I can truly say how profoundly grateful I am that NIF does its work to help more people say "yes to a better Israel."
Rabbi Menachem Creditor Congregation Netivot Shalom Berkeley, CA
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Rabbi Menachem Creditor
menachemcreditor.org ▶netivotshalom.org

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Letter to the Wall Street Journal, RE: Ayaan Hirsi Ali's op-ed "Here's What I Would Have Said at Brandeis," April 10

I have not always agreed with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but her case ("Here's What I Would Have Said at Brandeis," op-ed, April 10) is made simply, passionately, and with respect for disagreement. Calls for an internal "Muslim Reformation" do resonate for me as a rabbi, as the internal reformation of Judaism, emending tradition where needed, birthed my own sacred home. Perhaps she is correct? But can a call "from the outside" be resonant "on the inside?"
Rabbi Menachem Creditor Congregation Netivot Shalom Berkeley, California

Pesach Crowdsourced Questions 5774/2014

Pesach Crowdsourced Questions 5774/2014 (Extra credit for the rhymes!) Compiled by Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Melissa Nunes-Harwitt: G-d's the One who made us free / What does that require of me?
Adrian Strizhak: This day is different in which way for you; how would you change to see it through?
Avi Greene: I must be me in order to be free. How do I transmit this to my baby is truly the key.
Jennifer Massie: Ma nishtanah ha laila hazeh? What is the next line - I can't remember... Meh.
Alex Weinberg: We need a ________ like we need a _____________ on the Seder plate. What is this year's fruit (and more importantly big issue/challenge that we need to tackle.)
Lyn Davidson: How do we find real freedom in an over-regimented, NSA-surveillance world? Or if you want to put it another way, how do we meaningfully feel, "I personally was redeemed from slavery to the mixed blessings of technology?"
Melissa Nunes-Harwitt: How do we embrace the past / without letting it hold us fast?
Ste…

Fwd from JTS CHancellor Arnold Eisen: New Questions for Modern Families - A Passover Conversation

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Dear JTS Community:

Passover has been a high point of Jewish families throughout the ages, and remains so in contemporary North America. Celebration of the Passover seder is one of the principle sources of continuity that links Jews throughout the generations and around the world. At the same time, however, we know that the Jewish family today is different in many respects than it has been in the past. The people gathered around our seder tables in 2014 present a new vision of family, one that offers new possibilities as well as new challenges.

At The Jewish Theological Seminary, we are thinking creatively about these changes and how to inspire Jewish families, in all their varieties, to see themselves as part of these age-old and ever-changing dramas of Jewish history. We invite you to join us in raising the questions that need to be asked and answered. Let’s take the occasion of this most special family gathering to focus loving attention on the changing character of our families.

I wo…

On "Self-Appointed Saviors" of Agunot

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On "Self-Appointed Saviors" of Agunot
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Most of the time my hashkafah/worldview is based upon respecting different opinions. But someone just commented on a thread about Meir Kin's abuse of his ex-wife by not providing her a get (religious divorce), and labeled those trying to free this person from her abusive former husband "self-appointed saviors." To this commentator, I can only say the following: HOW DARE YOU. A Jewish man in an Orthodox community cannot step into the shoes of a disempowered Orthodox Jewish woman and therefore has no right to contest those who champion her dignity. Adding to the wrongness of the commentator is his glossing over the fact that most of the activists are Orthodox Jews working towards human justice and halachic parity within the Orthodox community.

Pesach Resources: Davening Times, Pesach Kashrut, Chametz Sale, Seder Kits & More!

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CNS Presents: Pesach Stuff! Davening Times, Pesach Kashrut, Chametz Sale, Seder Kits & More! Join Our ListQuick LinksCNS Website! Make a Gift to CNS! CNS Online Calendar! CNS Blog! CNS Preschool! Rabbi Creditor's Blog! CHAG SAMEACH!
CNS Pesach Davening Schedule: Mon. (April 14) 7:15am: Morning Minyan and Fast of the Firstborns (including the siyy