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An Intention for Hope in the New Year

An Intention for Hope in the New Year
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor Hope. In the darkest moments it is still there. We've faced more than enough hardship to understand if it had evaporated. But it hasn't. Hope is a sustainable and renewable source of energy. The real question is each of us remembering to access hope, to nurture it, to channel gratitude for existence itself to fuel the internal and personal commitment to life, which is itself a resurgence of hope for life beyond the self. 'It is not good for a person to be alone,' after all. We are wired to connect. Therefore, hope within one holds the potential hope for at least two. A note about the furious pace of history:Time has always been on the march; we just learn more about each second more immediately than before. (Imagine how unsettling a live-tweet of the events of the 20th century might have felt.) 'The world is too much with us' is not a new sentiment, and the 'anatomy of hope' is similarly es…

As we close the book of Genesis and prepare for Exodus...

As we close the book of Genesis and prepare for Exodus, may we acknowledge our mortality, feel our own historic Jewish vulnerability, and the promise of liberation. And, as we re-experience our traumatic and inspiring sacred stories, the narratives that define us as Jews, may we remember that all people are worthy of being saved, and that freedom brings with it the responsibility to stand in solidarity with every vulnerable other. May there be no more plagues. May we all sing our freedom songs, sunlight touching our closed, relaxed eyes, feeling safe, side by side.

Something for Everyone - Coming Up at CNS in January!

Quick Links CNS Homepage CNS Calendar Support CNS! Get involved! Rabbi Creditor's Blog Shabbat, January 8-9 How American Jews Can Help Bend the Arc Toward Justice! A Bend the Arc Scholar in Residence Shabbat at CNS with Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Deputy Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Click here for more info! A Note from Rabbi Creditor: Something for Everyone -  Coming Up at CNS in January! 13 Tevet, 5776 Dec. 24, 2015
Dear Chevreh,
The incredible array of upcoming programs in January at Netivot Shalom demonstrates how the passions of our members broaden and deepen our life as a community.  CNS is surging forward into the new year with more opportunities for Jewish growth and learning than ev

light always calls [a #nospoiler #starwars #poem]

light always calls
[a #nospoiler #starwars #poem]
© rabbi menachem creditorstars, suns, sand, snow
aren't enough
the very cosmos can't fill
that kind of hole
place isn't anything at allacross fiery chasm
binding unbound
descent offering offered
order undone
torn, torn, torn, tornmother
father
son
daughter
ache for homelight always calls............................
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
▶menachemcreditor.org ▶netivotshalom.orgTo join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to thetisch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com!

A mini-reflection on officiating at ritual moments

A mini-reflection on officiating at ritual moments 
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
inspired by Tehilah Eisenstadt-Feil
My deepest growth as a ritual officiant  came when I realized I had forgotten to 'be the officiant' and was 'just' being myself under the chupah, at graveside, in the hospital. We are already the people we will be be under the chupah, at graveside, in the hospital, and that's why those moments are so raw and real. Ritual only wields its magic when our honest souls surrender to the moment and allow ourselves, as guides, to be guided.

CNS Social Action Committee meeting this Sunday, Dec 20

Social Action Committee meeting this Sunday, Dec 20Hello everybody,

Our next Social Action meeting is fast approaching! Please join us:
The 2nd Shul-Wide Social Action Planning Meeting Sunday, December 20, at 7pm
in the CNS library

We will hear from each of our 4 task forces - reproductive justice, refugees, environment, and hunger/poverty - and create a social action plan for the coming year. Hope to see you there!

Also, a big shout out to the volunteers and contributors of the lovely December 6 kiddush, who co-sponsored kiddush with Jim Mavrikios and Cynthia Whitehead: Kate Burch, Esther Brass, Tree Gelb Stuber, Jacob Richards, Tobie Lurie, Ednah Beth Friedman, Karen Pliskin, Norma Kaufman, Sari Broner, David Callen, and our kiddush mastermind Laura Callen - thank you for putting together a beautiful kiddush for our community!

See you Sunday,

Hilla Abel
Social Action Chair
Copyright © 2015 Social Action Committee at CNS, All rights reserved.

A Channukah Note: Glimpses of Light

A Channukah Note: Glimpses of Light (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Dear Chevreh,

It is just a few days before Channukah, and yet another intense week has unfolded. I'm sure you've been attuned to things happening in the world, too many to count. This won't be a message pointing to headlines. There are more than enough sources for information in our lives, and the world remains too much with us. Our precious Jewish communities are here for more than headlines - we are here to walk together in meaningful ways in the world.

Yes, we stand witness as individuals and as a sacred Jewish community and are called to respond with what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel z"l called "transitive concern," or sacred love. Yes, the pouring rain on my windowsill right now is surely God's Holy Tears, given this week's hurt in San Bernadino, Houston, Jerusalem, and beyond. May we be strong enough to offer God's Creation the comfort and healing it needs.   
All this demands th…

it's all true [a #poem]

it's all true (c) rabbi menachem creditor
it's true all of it the rain and the sun and the pain and the comfort and the unpredictable and the unexpected the dark, the dark but O, the light. It's all true.

VaYeshev 5776/2015: The Threat of Serenity

VaYeshev 5776/2015: "The Threat of Serenity" Rabbi Menachem Creditor | Huffington Post
11/30/2015
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-menachem-creditor/the-threat-of-serenity_b_8676908.html
The inspiration for this reflection came from a conversation many years ago with a friend about their love of skiing. I've never skied, and I never intend to ski. In fact, I don't understand why anyone does. It seems to me that the things all skiers have in common are the bruises and broken bones inevitably acquired in the winter months. Which is what I mentioned to my friend, who explained to me that, for him, skiing is a chance to relax and feel at peace. This was even more strange for me to hear, because when I relax, I like to do nothing. I spend most of my waking hours thinking and working and doing, and so when I can find a free moment I just love settling down into a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and either read a book or fall asleep. The tension between these two ways o…

A Prayer for the #BlackFriday14

A Prayer for the #BlackFriday14 Offered as part of the Interfaith Service and Rally, Wiley Manuel Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland, CA, Nov. 25, 2015 © Rabbi Menachem Creditor
inspired by Pastor Michael McBride, Yehudah Amichai, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement
Dearest God,
We stand before you because we must.
We stand before You because truths that should be self-evident are not so evident in our country.
Fourteen Black community activists participated in an act of civil disobedience one year ago at the West Oakland BART station, disrupting economic business as usual in the best tradition of our great society. They did this as part of nationwide protests to demand dignity and respect for all Black lives.
And, for this, the District Attorney's office filed criminal charges. For the crime of demanding dignity through non-violent protest they face more serious consequences than many police of…

Black Lives Matter and the Beauty of Israel: Working on Both with One Soul

Black Lives Matter and the Beauty of Israel: Working on Both with One Soul
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
I'm participating in the #BlackFriday14 action tomorrow, praying desperately that the focus remains true to the principles of #BlackLivesMatter. Conflation of American systemic racism with the plight of Palestinians: makes it impossible for Jewish BLM activists who love Israel to share in the work,ignores the wide historical differences between a) the UN Charter that established two states for two Peoples and b) African slavery,denies the foundational universalism and democracy of Zionism and the right of Israel to exist,confuses the difficulty of living under the daily threat of violent terrorism against Israelis with the intent to deny human rights to Palestinians,ignores the many Israeli/Palestinian peacemakers whose work could be the very model for American healing we need,makes it infinitely harder for liberal Zionists to do the internal work necessary to end the Occupation o…

A Blessing for a Baby Born Prematurely

A Blessing for a Baby Born Prematurely
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
My God,
this little soul (the child's name)
is pure.

Your sacred Image is manifest
in (the child's name),
forming and developing
unfolding
even as s/he is emerged and entered
into the world.

One day,
may it be far into the future,
this little soul will leave this world
and enter the next one.

May every moment
of this little one's life
be blessed
with love,
with health,
with life.

May s/he gain strength and resilience,
in and out,
body and soul.

I am grateful to you,
my God
God of every generation,
for this little one's life.

Blessed are You,
God who restores our souls
each day.

Amen.

Congregation Netivot Shalom Kashrut Policy (Adopted: Kislev 5769 / December 2008 )

Congregation Netivot Shalom Kashrut Policy Adopted: Kislev 5769 / December 2008  For any question of Kashrut, please contact Rabbi Creditor.   http://netivotshalom.org/kashrut-policy/
Kavanah / Our Approach: The term "kosher" is a statement of purposefulness. Torah Scrolls, food, and choices can be "kosher" (or not).  This document deals primarily with our food guidelines but reflects the larger approach of healthy & holy living we teach and live at Netivot Shalom.  In other words, our integrated commitments to ethical, environmental, and ritual elevation are Kashrut standards by which we abide as a community.  While individual members of the congregation have a wide variety of observances in their own homes, we have adopted the following rules as our kashrut policy for events, and expect everyone who purchases or prepares food for shul functions to follow this Kashrut policy.
Note: Netivot Shalom allows only dairy and pareve food at events held on our premises.��…