These Hallowed Fields: An Intention for Camp Ramah

These Hallowed Fields: An Intention for Camp Ramah
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor Many generations of souls have played here, learned here, grown here. Some never leave. Friends, mentors, loves - this holy place has been home for thousands and thousands. For me, it's been a Berkshires, Nyack, Ojai, Palmer, Monterey journey. My grandmother, parents, sisters, and children have known this summer air, sing these holy songs, feel this Jewish pride. It is real and it is magic. May the power of Ramah continue spreading throughout the world, one whole person at a time. May these shining, happy young faces know that their hearts are connected to a tradition born of educator-dreamers, made real by thousands of grateful others. May the joy and love of Ramah, carried by these lucky children and adults, influence their communities, and through those blessed communities, the world. Thank You, Holy One, for the gift of this holy place. #ramah#CampRamah#ramahforever

The Day After Charlottesville

The Day After Charlottesville
Rabbi Menachem Creditor Huffington Post - 08/14/2017

In the aftermath of a horrific day in Charlottesville, there is an image I ask us to hold onto.

It is not the KKK in their hateful robes, not the tweets of a President who demonstrates more outrage when his daughter’s handbags are no longer carried by Nordstroms than when torch-bearing White Supremacists and American Nazis ravage a college campus and community in Virginia. The sound reverberating in our souls should not be the calls of “Jews will not replace us“ chanted enthusiastically by the “Unite the Right” hate rally in Charlottesville yesterday. These bands of bigots gathered in defense of a statue of Robert E Lee in a park that once bore his name but has been renamed Emancipation Park. The degradation of human beings, African slaves, that his military genius sought to perpetuate was their allegiance. And it …

Our Cherished Litany of Loss: Tisha Be'av 5777/2017

Our Cherished Litany of Loss: Tisha Be'av 5777/2017 © Rabbi Menachem Creditor
You, Jerusalem, (God, Your name burns my mouth.) golden watch-towers, heart-pulsing sacred stones, center of the universe, lion’s share of all the beauty that could be…
millions clamor for Your love… …You, O Jerusalem
Eternal City, why do You sit alone?
I miss You so very much. I miss You in Your absence, long for You because You are not here, because I am not there, with You. That is about me, not about you. I mourn for myself when I mourn for You.

An Intention for Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat Before Tisha Be'av

An Intention for Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat Before Tisha Be'av
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor This is meant to be the saddest Shabbat of the year. May that be so. May our vision ("Chazon") defy the limitations of our pasts and lift our whole world with determined hope and defiant light. May our hearts be strong enough to see suffering where it endures, acknowledge it, address it, and thereby banish it forever, in fulfillment of the verse: "Sacred Love is without end when Divine Compassion does not cease." May we truly see every other, knowing that the destruction of the past is less possible when we look into each other's eyes. In this way, the way of deep seeing and divine compassion and sacred love, may comfort be closer than we imagine. Amen. #shabbat #chazon #9av #BuildOnLove

Among the Mourners of Zion: What Rabbis Do

Among the Mourners of Zion: What Rabbis Do
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor My heart is just beyond broken for the loss for our brothers and sisters Yosef Salomon z"l, 70, and his two children Chaya Salomon z"l, 46, and Elad Salomon z"l, 36, murdered this past Friday night in their home while celebrating the birth of a new grandchild.I just left the Tent of Mourning in Elad, Israel, where many, many people are in shock and mourning. Tears streaming down my face, barely able to speak, I will never forget this wretched, awful day. I sat with Yosef's son, whose baby was born last week. This new father was still wearing the hospital bracelet, and his son's bris will take place during Shiva. As it turns out, this young man has worked at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, and had friends in common with some of the rabbis with whom I'm traveling. All I can see in my mind's eye is his sad eyes. Some of these words were written before the visit took place, and all of them will …

The Beginning of the Flourishing of Redemption

Tears. Free flowing tears. I was just witness to such pain, such ravage. I've been here before. But this time overwhelmed even more. It's one of those encounters that rabbis hold onto for Yom Kippur sermons. But this real moment is not a story for me to choose to use at my leisure. That is the definition of privilege, and life is too short. I just met with 3 Syrian refugees being treated at the Galilee Medical Center. Please, take a moment and say that out loud. Israel has brought in 3,000 Syrian refugees in need of medical treatment. We spoke with these 3 men, each of whom has suffered serious injuries and is recovering under the care of Israel. And it is actually Israel, the government of Israel, that made the decision to offer this care at this scale. This is a government owned hospital. I'm so very proud of my homeland for demonstrating these middot, these deep humanitarian values. The three patients were willing to share their stories with us, and I saw their faces ch…

the prophets' boutique [a #poem]

the prophets' boutique [a #poem]
© rabbi menachem creditor walk with me
through downtown Jerusalem
this Friday afternoon
see through these wide, crying eyes
the miraculous art
of Ben Gurion's dreams:Hebrew lotto signs
ever-present Jewish cranes
King George's great synagogue
(though the truly great ones
never need to say so) can't take one step
not even one
without noticing it allmanhole covers and exquisite flowers
spikey signs and rabbinic schwarma
overwhelm meyears ago, I sat right here
soldiers and Pre-Shabbat shoppers
passing by (maybe the same ones!)
I wept then and weep now
over their very existence
each of them a treasure. (three Israeli girls just asked two chabadniks if they could put on tefilin. that's new.) King David could have never imagined
the prophets' boutique
he founded. I just can't stop seeing
can barely imagine blinking
I'd miss something These broken stones feel somehow stable beneath my feet. They're always shifting, …