Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2013

Channukah & Thanksgiving: It's Complicated

Channukah & Thanksgiving: It's Complicated (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Much has been made of the overlap of Channukah and Thanksgiving this year, a convergence that will not occur again for over 79,000 years.  On the one hand, the meanings of the days are similar: Channukah is a story of Jewish rededication, the Maccabees reclaiming contaminated sacred space, marking God's miraculous intervention in the military and ritual lives of our ancestors. Thanksgiving is an American story of bounty, gratitude expressed by formerly persecuted minorities, blessed to find home again through miraculous arrival.But both these also narratives require of us, as American Jews, deeper and clearer thinking. Both holy days contain more within their stories than meets the eye, more than their ritualized re-tellings readily offer. The commonalities of these hidden, darker strata are also striking, perhaps even shocking: Channukah is a serious challenge to the modern Jew, as comfortable (if not mor…

Towards a Jewish Mystical Theory of Activism

Towards a Jewish Mystical Theory of Activism(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
According to Rabbi Chayim of Volozhin, the "World to Come" is a person's deeds themselves. That is to say, we do not do what we do in this world, then have an accounting once we die, and then enter a different reality called "The World to Come." 
Rather we do good or bad in this world, and those deeds impact the world directly, making it into a world that's better or worse. That's "The World to Come" - the world we bring into being ourselves. This sacred and humanist theory of impact compels each of us to see every one of our thoughts, words, and deeds as consequential. Nothing is neutral. 
It can be both exhausting and exalting to live in this way. Mostly both.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor ▶

A Short Thought on the Iran Deal

Short thought: I'm terrified and don't trust Iran to mean well, not to Israel, not to "the West", not to LGBT Iranians. The choice, I believe, is between continued diplomatic sanctions (which hurt many on the ground) and trying to wiggle into an international invasive supervision of the nuclear project. Military strikes only calcify enmity and wouldn't end this situation in a real way. So, I'm caught between  wishing things could be better than they are and recognizing they're not. So, in "conclusion", I'm terrified by any agreement, since it inherently involves compromise with a nation whose leaders I do not trust.

Fwd: Chancellor Arnold Eisen Says "L'Chaim!" to Conservative Judaism

Dear JTS Community,Following the publication of this year's Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project report—and the uproar that has since followed—I would like to offer my personal perspective on the current conversation.I am addressing the questions raised and the challenges facing our community in an article on the Jewish Week website today and in its print edition on Friday, November 29. "Let's Drink a L'Chaim to Conservative Judaism" is both a personal statement and a message from JTS: we're here, we're learning and growing, and there's still a lot of work to be done.Your thoughts on this essay, the new Pew report, or the current climate in the Jewish world are most welcome.Sincerely, 
Arnold M. Eisen
The Jewish Theological Seminary
Forward to a friend.

Netivot Shalom's Adult Education Committee Presents: Torah signs (Chironomy) with Glenn Massarano!!

Netivot Shalom's Adult Education Committee Presents:Torah signs (Chironomy)  with Glenn MassaranoDec 17th at 7:30-9pm, January 19th, 10:30am-12noon Congregation Netivot Shalom || 1316 University Ave, Berkeley

Come and learn about the hand signs that are used by the gabbai to cue the torah reader!  We'll learn a little about the history, how the signs are made, and how to give the signs.  We'll also practice giving and using them. While not necessary, consider reviewing a section of Torah that has a good selection of trope before you come.  This class is open to everyone, and is primarily for Torah readers and Gabbai'im.  It expects that you have familiarity with the trope.  If you have any questions, contact glenn massarano at
Co-sponsored by the CNS Ritual and Adult Education committees. No charge, but donations to the Adult Education Fund are appreciated to help support this and similar ritual- and adult-education opportunities. 

Rabbi …

Celebrate International Human Rights Day with AJWS and the SFJCC!!

David Wolpe on Ha'aretz: "Conservative Judaism: Not dead yet"

Conservative Judaism: Not dead yetWe all have a stake in renewing an intellectually honest and Torah-rooted Judaism that does not turn its back on the world.By | Nov. 20, 2013 | 2:45 PM Conservative institutions are looking for ways to revitalize the movement and make it more appealing to young Jews. Photo by United Synagogue / JTA Photo Service Text size Comments (0) Print Page Send to friend Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share THIS STORY IS BY Rabbi David Wolpe RELATED TAGS Reform Jews Orthodox Jews Judaism

Receive [a #poem]

Receive © Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Flowing, surrounding, holding, held.
Breathe, be known, accept, receive.
Easier to give than be given, but also good, sacred.

FW: Housing appeal for Transgender Iraqi Refugee on TDOR (from JFCS/East Bay)

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, as we mourn those who have lost their lives to transphobia, I hope you consider helping one transgender Iraqi refugee who has managed to escape with her life.This is a wonderful opportunity to help directly -- and the help is needed right away!

The LGBT Refugee program of JFCS/East Bay serves refugees and asylees who have fled their country due to persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We are eagerly seeking housing for a transgender MTF 38-year old Iraqi who is scheduled to arrive to the US for the first time mid-December.
Do you have a room in your home in the EastBay or < st1:city w:st="on">San Francisco to offer?Do you know a friend who does?Could you offer a place for a few months?Our program assisting these courageous people relies on help with housing from the community.We are open to a range of price you might charge for rent, and the time you might offer.
Refugees who come in to the US through this…

Support @CNSBerkeley 's Sister Community in Cuba!

Support CNS' Sister Community in Cuba!
Dear Netivot Shalom Friends, It has been many years since I wrote about Cuba  for CNS.  Since then, there have been a lot of new members so many people do not know of our connection, particularly to the Jews of Santiago de Cuba and the Community of Guantanamo. Services at Comunidad Hebrea Hatikva de Santiago de Cuba - our sister congregation When I started in 1994, there was a small community that extended across the island but had little knowledge of Judaism and how to participate in community.  People were slowly returning to their religious practices after being deserted by the Russians in 1989.  By 1992, lack of food and medical care was so severe that very hungry people were returning to their religious practices for comfort in spite of the law that read anyone who was a Believer could not be a member of the Communist party.  The significance of this was that Believer's could not hold top jobs nor their children go to the best schools or…

The CNS Holday gift drive! Make a difference in the lives of E. Oakland families!

Mazal Tov!! Today marks ten years since the historic ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that same-sex couples in Massachusetts could no longer be denied access to civil marriage.

Mazal Tov!! Today marks ten years since the historic ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that same-sex couples in Massachusetts could no longer be denied access to civil marriage.

Fwd: Weekly News from Congregation Netivot Shalom

SHABBAT SHALOM - WEEKLY NEWS Click here for the printable version of the Shabbat Announcements! Shabbat Vayishlach   16 November 2013 / 13 Kislev 5774
Rabbi Menachem Creditor  
Rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom  
Psukei D'Zimra - Gerry Levitas Shacharit - Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Torah Service -  Joel Gerwein  
Calling Gabbai - Glenn Massarano
Pointing Gabbai -  Jerry Derblich

Torah Reading (pg. 198) Bereishit 32:4-33:20
Rishon  32:4-6 - Maia Fleming-Singer
Sheini 32:7-9 - Elie Singer
Shelishi 32:10-13 - Jenni Mangel
Revi'i 32:14-22 - Jerry Derblich
Chamishi 32:23-30 - Jerry Derblich
Shishi 32:31-33:5 - Benjamin Epstein
Shevi'i 33:6-20 - Benjamin Epstein
Maftir 33:18-20 - Benjamin Epstein
Haftarah (p.222) Obadiah 1:1-21 - Brenda Goldstein 

Drash - Rabbi Dorothy Richman
Musaf - Rabbi Daniel Kohn
Board Rep - Mel Sibony
Birkat HaMazon - TBA
Greeters: Ken Schnur, Debby Graudenz

KIDDUSH is sponsored by all the CNS Past Presidents:
Celia Concus, Claudia Valas, Art Braufman, Ken …