Nov 13, 2018

here before: a poem for a world on fire

here before: a poem for a world on fire
© rabbi menachem creditor

we deserve better
every one of us
scarred scared sacred

i can't breathe
over and over we cry
be it air or arms
doing the choking

fire in our lungs, eyes, nose
ash in the burning sky
we've been here before

and, beloveds, in this
we take strange solace


we've been here before
and we're here today
crying ashen tears
fire in our eyes

ready to bring and be
that better world
full of the air
we all deserve

Nov 4, 2018

a prayer for getting up

a prayer for getting up
- rabbi menachem creditor

up from Shiva, not ready, it's too soon, my wounds are still raw and open, I can barely see through my tears, but there's no time for grief (MygriefOurgrief)...

up from Shiva, commanded to walk back into the world, compelled to breathe, to see (seenoticewitness), to stand up (votemarchorganize), legs so shaky...

up from Shiva, excruciatingly aware: the world has changed. ButAnd in two days, two todays, Tuesday...

... we walk with bloodied feet to say enough to the willing slaughter of our nation's soul and children.

Beloveds, Shiva is over.
Get up, I tell myself (and you).
Vote your grief.

(P.S. God, are You there? Quick update: This existence You Birthed is exceedingly hard, and meanness seems closer than kindness between human beings some days. I'm grateful for life, for the changing leaves, for my children's lives, for my People, for people. And many of us feel very alone, and not so sure about the good things lasting in safety. All's not well down here. But we're determined to help, some in Your Holy Name, some because You seem a bit absent from the eyes of many humans recently. Maybe it's time for a little more Directed Love to pour out from heaven? Thought You should know we're here, hoping for more.)

#BuildOnLove #prayer #GetUp #hope #amen

Oct 29, 2018

A Few Observations...

After (in the middle actually) of non-stop speaking engagements in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in Jewish American history, a few observations:

1) We do not stand alone. The incredible solidarity surrounding the American Jewish community defies what my ancestors could have imagined. This attack does not represent a nation that will stand by as Jews are hurt. This is also what it means to be a Jewish American: to stand with our non-Jewish fellow Americans when they are being hurt. We should not love others less than we are loved as we weep from our deep losses.

2) We do not stand alone. This attack is one of 12 Gun Violence attacks on an American house of worship in the past 3 years. The Gun Violence epidemic claims 33,000 lives every year. This attack hit the innermost heart of the Jewish community. In the most horrifying and ironic way, this attack proves that we are truly American. The epidemic of weaponized American hatred includes us along with Sikhs, Muslims, African Americans, Immigrants, LGBTQ Americans, and every other minority. Which means...

3) We dare not stand alone. This moment of American history and this ravaging Shabbat massacre tells us that all is not well in our republic. Hate is emboldened, and White Supremacists are somehow mainstream. This was antisemitism, yes. But it is also a diseased American moment, where healing will only begin if we deny terrorism its goal: to isolate us within our particular trauma. We are not alone, we should not make ourselves alone. Even in this incalculable pain.

Much, much more to say. For now, rest well, friends. Sleep. Dream of a better tomorrow. When we wake, let's get to building those beautiful dreams into reality.


Oct 28, 2018

Prayer at Memorial Ceremony, NYC After the Mass Shooting in Pittsburgh

Prayer at Memorial Ceremony, NYC
After the Mass Shooting in Pittsburgh
October 28, 2018
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Scholar in Residence, UJA-Federation NY

Dear God,

Our nation has endured this Gun Violence epidemic for far too long.

These are our devastations: 11, 96, and 33,000.
11 Jews gunned down during Sabbath prayer
96 Americans killed by guns every day
33,000 Images of God erased every year in America
by cold guns wielded by hurtful hearts.

We have every reason to become numb,
to become used to this blasphemous trend.

How can we even register that Your children,
Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist,
Transgender, Gay, Straight,
Black and White,
are being erased
one bullet at a time?

And so, Compassionate One, we beg of You:
awaken us from the cruelty of our enduring dispassion.

Thoughts and prayers,
orphaned from concrete change,
are worthless in Your eyes
- as they should be in ours.

11 souls ripped from this world yesterday
for the crime of being Jewish in America,
today’s America, a country whose ongoing trauma
is fueled by too little standing up
and the growing poverty of our national soul.

Dear God, "No home is without its dead," we read in Your Holy Torah,
when the firstborns of a sinful nation were lost.
Our children, our precious children...
…seem to matter less to our nation
than automatic weapons.

Today, our Jewish community mourns our own, grieving to our souls.
But we know we do not stand alone.

The images of bloodied prayerbooks are shattering
and familiar.
12 shootings in houses of faith over the last 3 years…
Mother Emanuel AME Church,
Tree of Life Synagogue,
but also Pulse,
and also Las Vegas,
and everyday gun deaths that no one reports….

Worshipers felled by worshipped bullets,
encroaching national numbness,
while white supremacy, armed to the teeth,
decimates God’s sacred homes.

Dear God,

We know
there is only one way to repent:
we must save our children
from our sins
[God forbid…]

God, we know we must act,
and we know that, in order to act,
we must feel the urgency - Your Urgency.
We must channel Your pain
at the deaths of Your children
- in Your Holy Home -
and remind ourselves and
our leaders to look to the Tree of life


We've been too quiet,
mistaking status updates
and reactionary prayers for repentance.

And so, God,
as we feel the beginnings of our own weariness
in a news cycle that too quickly replaces yesterday’s devastation with today’s
we remember the eternal wisdom of Your Prophet, Isaiah:

"...those who hope in God will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint
." (Isaiah 40:31)

We pray to You for renewal
as we spread our protective wings over one another again,
courageous and hopeful,
sad and committed,
running to justice,
refusing weariness,
and choosing life,
as an interwoven community of survivors.

Holy One,
May we sing louder than the weapons
and merit to see You in each other's eyes,
sanctifying Your Name
by standing together
by rising up again,
this time rebuilding Your World
by saving each other.


here before: a poem for a world on fire

here before: a poem for a world on fire © rabbi menachem creditor we deserve better every one of us scarred scared sacred i can't b...