Dec 21, 2014

The Streets of Tel Aviv

The Streets of Tel Aviv © Rabbi Menachem Creditor

The streets of Tel Aviv are so incredibly real. Jewish poets' names on street signs, playgrounds named for righteous gentiles, memorials for a slain leader flanked by a utility cover emblazoned with the name of a Hebrew municipality...

...a mechitza minyan housed in a local high school named for a Russian Yiddish writer (who was killed in the Warsaw Ghetto holding a copy of the Zohar), prayers led by women and gay men, a room filled with brides and grooms and and babies and scholars and melodies from a start-up minyan in New York...

As opposed to Jerusalem, whose very air is pervaded by mythic power, the amazing world of Tel Aviv is real and gritty, grounded and reflective of living Judaism defined by living Jews making day-to-day life.
I'm not sure which is holier any more. 

Dec 18, 2014

A Comment on Justice and Israeli Democracy

A Comment on Justice and Israeli Democracy
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
sparked in conversation with Yehuda Kurtzer

Of course, 'justice' is so very complicated, and democracy is, at  best, people reaching together towards a just, collective future. I defended (and continue to defend) Israel's right to defend itself militarily. I don't claim to know all of the security information the government has.

I also took public positions supporting Israeli investigations into Israel's conduct during the war, and write critically (as I did recently in reaction to Naftali Bennett's NYTimes Op-Ed and in reaction to the proposed Jewish State bill) when Israeli government officials take positions with which I disagree.

In the case of Israel's High Court invalidating Jewish converts' Jewish status based on their subsequent secular lifestyles, I believe the justices, duly appointed, made an unjust decision. Yes, it was reached through due process. But so was the US Supreme Court's terrible recent  decision to gut the Voting Rights Act.

Perhaps this is similar to how some people differentiate between p'shat (exegesis) and drash (eisegesis): 'P'shat is what I say, and drash is what you say,'  meaning: I support (and worry about) Israel's democracy, and don't always agree with what it produces.

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° menachemcreditor.org

Dec 17, 2014

Crosswalk Minyan [ a #poem ]

Crosswalk Minyan
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Perched on this porch
God's Name
spelled in leather letters
on my arm and head
I pray with the minyan below
filling streets and crosswalks
driving buses, walking dogs.

To the prayers
their lives comprise
I say Amen.

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