Jul 31, 2013

Announcing "Ketzev: The Netivot Shalom Youth Chavurah" -- For more information, contact Serena Heaslip at youthed@netivotshalom.org or 510-549-9447, Ext 107!


Marla Bennett z"l & Ben Blutstein z"l -- 11 years ago today. #Zachor

Marla Bennett z"l & Ben Blutstein z"l and others were killed and wounded in the bombing at Hebrew University's Frank Sinatra Cafe 11 years ago today. May their memories be a blessing. May hatred cease, comfort flow, and peace rear its head one day soon.

Jul 30, 2013

from Molly Shapiro: "Howdy Y'all!"


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CNS is looking for youth service leaders & childcare providers for the High Holidays! If you know of high school or college students coming home for the chagim, please contact Molly at molly@netivotshalom.org!
 
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From Molly Shapiro: Howdy Y'all!
23 Av, 5773 // July 30, 2013 

Molly Shapiro
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Shalom!

 

One very special Shabbat morning just months ago, I entered Netivot Shalom for the first time and was overwhelmed by the warm greetings I received from many people!

 

I couldn't believe how at home I felt, and was beyond thrilled when I was offered a way to become part of Netivot Shalom as the Director of Youth Community and Connection.  

 

Most of my childhood was spent amidst the palm trees in Southern California.  I grew up at Congregation B'nai Israel in Tustin, and for many years continued to work there as youth group staff and as the assistant director of the shul's Jewish summer camp.  I then moved to the Bay Area to study Psychology and Music at Mills College, and I am now proud to be an official Berkeley resident!

 

Now, I'm ready to get down to business! We've gotten off to a great start with a wonderful team of people helping me to jump right in.  I can't wait to help launch a new year of youth and family programming at CNS and invite you to be in touch with me to be part of this wonderful experience. (My email is molly@netivotshalom.org.)

 

Shavua Tov,

Molly Shapiro

 

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Death is Not Alone

Death is Not Alone
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Death happens, not always in due season, it's true.
But it is not alone.
Miracles pop into life.
Laughter bubbles during grief.
Sadness clouds happy eyes.

What does this mean?
Death, miracles, laughter, grief, sad, happy.

Jul 26, 2013

Ekev #ParshaTweet: If you follow Torah after I die, good. If not, hellfire. So listen! Please? - Sincerely (& urgently), Moshe Rabbeinu

A Pre-Shabbes Note! (It's Good to be Home)


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A Note from Rabbi Creditor
July 26, 2013
19 Av, 5773
Dear Chevreh,

It's good to be home.

I was blessed to spend these last weeks with my family at Camp Ramah in New England, where the Jewish values we
 cherish as Netivot Shalom pervaded meals, sports, art, music and much, much more. There are many special Jewish summer camps in the world but for me, as an egalitarian/traditional Jew, there is simply no place like Camp Ramah. My soul is refueled thanks to the magic of Ramah. (And, if this week is any measure of our community's year to come, that's going to be quite useful!)
These last few days have contained life and loss, catching-up and preparing to launch, reconnecting and newness. 

Just yeterday we lost Judy Lieberman z"l, a dear friend and leader of our community. Our Jewish values are lived through the holy work of our Chevrah Kaddisha and Shiva minyan leaders, and all of us who attend to this deepest of all mitzvot.

Just yesterday we started organizing our Malachim, our greeters, for Yamim Nora'im (Rosh haShannah and Yom Kippur). The High Holidays are the greatest opportunity we have to greet with warmth many, many members, and many possible members - and those just looking for a safe loving Jewish home for the holidays. Our Jewish values live in this way too.

Just yesterday a Beit Din was scheduled to affirm the Jewish identities of two people who have been in the process of converting to Judaism. 

Just yesterday a new Erev Shabbat celebration and dinner program for families was created by Molly Shapiro, our new Director of Youth Community and Connection. (The catchy name is "ReLiSh: Ruach Lifnei Shabbat", music and spirit before Shabbat - stay tuned for more!)

If you are waiting for your moment to jump in, don't wait. Jump. We exist as a shul to share life moments together, to support each other, to sing together, to learn and celebrate - to jump in together

Friends, there's so much more to share. Suffice it to say that this year is going to be a vibrant, strong, exciting year at Netivot Shalom. I can't wait for it to begin!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Creditor
 
---


Jul 24, 2013

So emotional. Just got back from Josh Kornbluth's "Sea of Reeds."

So emotional. Just got back from Josh Kornbluth's "Sea of Reeds," which (in part) depicts Josh's and my shared journey towards his Bar Mitzvah. There is no way I'll be able to express what tonight meant for me. As a person, as a rabbi, as a soul, I feel so incredibly known, so understood. The amazing Amy Resnick did more than portray me. She showed me the me that I pray every day I am. I do know myself. But that internal sense of who I am is hard to imagine anyone could truly know. I can barely breathe with the realization that I'm not alone, that there's more hope. That my work as a rabbi, as a teacher, as a friend, matters. Thank you, Josh. Thank you, Amy.

The Adoption and Jewish Identity Project is looking for stories!

The Adoption and Jewish Identity Project is looking for stories!
Are you, or is someone you know, an adoptee between the ages of 18 and 36 who was raised in a family that identified at least in part as Jewish?
In the coming year, we will be gathering stories from young adult adoptees raised in American Jewish families. This effort is part of a research study by the Adoption and Jewish Identity Project (AJIP), which aims to improve the lives of Jewish adoptive families by creating broader understanding of the unique religious, cultural, and identity issues they face.
Adoptees will be able to share their experiences and perspectives in a variety of formats. Anyone may submit his/her story either in writing or using other media (audio, video). We will also be conducting 15-20 in-depth interviews with selected individuals, as well as a number of focus groups. The collected stories will be used (either anonymously or for attribution, depending on your wishes) for a book about the complex identities of adoptees raised in American Jewish families.
If you are an adoptee interested in sharing your story, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AJIPAdopteeQuestionnaire to tell us a little bit about yourself, and we'll be back in touch with you with more details.
If you know adoptees who might be interested in participating, please send them this announcement and link to the online questionnaire, and invite them to participate.
We will keep all information provided in these questionnaires completely confidential.  Adoptees will be given the opportunity to choose whether to be identified by name or to remain anonymous in any publications or products that result from this project. 
Please note: Adoptees do not have to identify currently as Jewish in order to participate.
The Adoption and Jewish Identity Project is dedicated to improving the lives of adoptees raised in Jewish families by creating broader understanding of the unique religious, cultural, and identity issues they and their families face. AJIP is directed by Dr. Jennifer Sartori and Dr. Jayne Guberman.  Sartori is Associate Director of Jewish Studies at Northeastern University, and Guberman is an independent scholar and oral history consultant.



--
Laura Callen
Founder and Director
Adoption Museum Project

Oh My Heart

Oh My Heart
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Oh my heart, full to bursting,
soaking in her eyes, his smile,
hug, hurt.

Oh my soul, captured,
unprepared, surprised by life,
gratitude, pain.

If only it could always be this way,
but then again,
it can't.

Jul 22, 2013

Religious Progressives Predicted To Outnumber Conservatives, Survey Finds

religion
July 22, 2013
Katherine Bindley

Religious Progressives Predicted To Outnumber Conservatives, Survey Finds



A new study has found that while the number of religious conservatives is still greater than that of progressives, the religious left may have a better chance of maintaining its foothold with Americans over time.


"If you’re using a generational snapshot today as a proxy for the future, it is is safe to say that religious progressives hold a stronger appeal among Millennials," said Robert Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, which surveyed 2,000 adults in partnership with the Brookings Institute.


While the Christian right makes up 28 percent of the population and garners more cultural attention -- Jones found that there are 27,000 global monthly Google searches for “Christian Right" compared with just over 8,000 searches for “Christian left" -- religious progressives are only 9 percentage points behind, with 19 percent of the population.


With each generation, the popularity of religious conservatism has declined. Forty-seven percent of the Silent Generation (ages 66 to 88) are religious conservatives, compared with 34 percent of Baby Boomers, 23 percent of Gen Xers and 17 percent of Millennials.


"What we see is not a one-to-one replacement of religious conservatives with religious progressives," Jones explained. Instead, the ranks of religious conservatives over time are declining, while religious progressives maintain their share of the population. "But there's also this growing number of non-religious Americans." If the trends continue, religious progressives eventually will outnumber religious conservatives.


The findings echo research earlier this year that found the number of people who don't consider themselves part of a religion has hit its highest point since pollsters began tracking religious affiliations in the 1930s.


Claude Fischer, a sociologist at University of California Berkley, told The Huffington Post when the findings were released in March that Americans' move away from organized religion can in part be explained by politics.


"Increasingly, people identify and link organized religion with anti-gay attitudes, sexual conservatism, a whole range of those kinds of social cultural values," Fischer said.


The new survey raises the question of whether a religious left stands a chance of causing its own political groundswell. Jones, with the Public Religion Research Institute, noted that other findings in the survey show there would be considerable hurdles to such a movement.


Unlike conservatives, concentrated largely in the South and the Midwest, religious progressives are scattered throughout the country. They're also less likely to have a close attachment to religious institutions, to rate religion as a strong priority or to view religion as something that should be part of public debates. On top of that, progressives are a more diverse group of people when it comes to race and religion.




"If you want to turn to the question of like what does this mean about a progressive religious movement, you clearly have to think about some caveats," Jones said. "It becomes a very complicated heterogenous group of people to communicate with and organize with."


The Public Religion Research Institute survey was conducted May 30 to June 16 and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.

Jul 15, 2013

Tisha B'Av with Community Learning Schedule 5773



  kotel

This coming Monday, July 15th, marks the beginning of the 9th of Av (Tisha B'Av), a day when we recall the destruction of both Jerusalem Temples, among other moments of loss in Jewish history.

In addition to destruction of the Temples, tradition has suggested that the following tragedies occurred on Tisha B'av: the negative report of the spies in the desert, the fall of Betar (the last holdout of the Jewish people in the Bar Kochba Revolt), the edict for the Spanish expulsion of Jews, and the beginning of World War I. Historicity is perhaps less important than meaning here. Tisha B'Av is a day of loss. It is, simply said, a very sad day for the Jews.

On Tisha B'Av we refrain from eating, drinking, bathing, intimacy, wearing leather shoes, and learning Torah (except for topics pertaining to the day). This year our community will mark Tisha B'Av in the following ways:

Tonight - Erev Tisha B'Av (Monday, July 15): We will meet in the CNS Library at 8:15 pm for Ma'ariv and for the Book of Eicha, followed by a few of the Kinot, traditional sad-songs. People should bring flashlights, and prepare to sit on the floor (if possible), as it is a traditional sign of mourning, which Tisha B'Av is for the entire Jewish People. We will say the service, not sing it. The tone for this evening is unique in the Jewish tradition - soft, sad, and somber. There is an additional tradition to not reach out to those around us, not even to greet others, sequestering ourselves somehow to alone-ness despite gathering together. It is both magical and painful. (Note: Tisha B'Av fast begins at 8:26 pm on 7/15)

Yom Tisha B'Av (Tuesday, July 16): We will be joining together with Congregation Beth Israel for Shacharit starting at 8:00 am at Beth Israel (1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley), where services will follow the customs of Beth Israel. Following Shacharit and Kinot there will be learning sessions at 10:00  am, including one taught by our CNS Rabbinic Intern Josh Buchin. 


Community Learning Schedule 
@ CBI,1630 Bancroft Way on Tuesday, July 16

Sanctuary
10:00 am R. David Kasher: "Is there Any Hope?"
11:00 am: R. Eliahu Klein: "A Day in the Life of An American Prison Rabbi: Is There Antisemitism Behind the Wall?"
12:00 pm: Na'man Kam: "Eicher Yashvo Badad-- the loneliness of the mourner"

Social Hall 
10:00 am R. Mimi Weisel :" From the Depths: Musings of the lshbitzer Rebbe on EƬcha"
11:00 am: R. Gabriel Greenberg
12:00 pm: Josh Buchin: "The Lord Has Given and the Lord Has Taken Away: Understanding suffering on Tisha B'Av"


Tisha B'Av Minchah at Netivot Shalom (Tuesday, July 16): We will gather at 7:30 pm in the CNS Library for Minchah and Torah Service. Unique to this Minchah Service is the practice of wearing Tallit and Teffilin (traditionally not worn on the morning of Tisha B'Av). Minchah marks the start of the shift in the somber mood of Tisha B'Av towards the joy of Tu B'Av (the 15th of Av, a day, according to the tradition, of festivity and love) and the seven weeks of consolation. (Note: Tisha B'Av fast ends at 9:05 pm on 7/16)


Tradition teaches us that those who remember the destruction of Jerusalem and feel the brokenness of the world will be part of their rebuilding.

May that be so, soon and in our days,
Rabbi Creditor and CNS Rabbinic Intern Josh Buchin

 


9 b'Av: Mourning in the shadow of construction sites in Jerusalem means a Jew's soul is called to notice & feel the world's pain & then act.

Jul 13, 2013

One Rabbi's Thought on White, Black, and Brown in America

One Rabbi's Thought on White, Black, and Brown in America
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Friends, I don't claim to speak with authority on legal cases. But i do know this: I am a proud American who acknowledges that white Americans do not have the same daily experiences as black and brown Americans. Tonight's verdict is a symbolic reinforcement of the feelings of so many black and brown young men (and their families) in our communities. And so, though I don't know if my readers are feeling personally assaulted by tonight's news, I offer the following thought as an American rabbi:

God, always in our world, is writhing in agony at the commonplace disenfranchisement of our children, particularly our young men. Each of us is a precious image of God, worthy of human respect, worthy of dignity. Each of us is called to champion the call of justice, so that no human soul is forgotten.

Our skins might be different shades, but our souls come from the same Source. May God be with us all in our pain and give us the strength to channel our outrage into organizing for healing & justice.

Jul 8, 2013

Judaism's "Version" of Utopia

Judaism's "Version" of Utopia
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Dara Horn's reframing of Olam haBa as "the world to come will come" (ie, we build the world that will come), means Jews don't worry about Utopia. We believe in human responsibility for this world. (As Reb Huey lewis taught in a berraita: "there ain't no perfect world anyway.")

Though the rabbis call Shabbat a "taste of the world to come," the permeating language of God's Creative Power throughout the "day of rest" awakens the power (and need) within every Image of God to create once the havdalah wicks are ignited.

I am Not Free When my Sister is Silenced

I am Not Free When my Sister is Silenced
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Today I am a sad Zionist. I am not free when my sister is silenced, when my mother is in exile, when my sister is assaulted.

Today women were cordoned off from their People, not even allowed to approach our Wall. The prayers of every Jew are null and void today. No voice counts unless all voices are heard.

Today God cries. It's the month of Menachem Av, a month of sadness. The Talmud tells that God coos like a dove amidst the ruins of Jerusalem, saying, "Oy to my children, who caused their own exile from My home." Today God wails with that two-thousand-year-old cry again.

Oy for our children, who deny the prayers of their mothers.
Oy for our sisters, who throw eggs at their sisters.
Oy for our People, who writhe with anger at difference.
Oy for our spirit, placed in exile by the Police in the Jewish Homeland.
Oy for God, who still cries because our sins.

I am Not Free When my Sister is Silenced

I am Not Free When my Sister is Silenced
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Today I am a sad Zionist. I am not free when my sister is silenced, when my mother is in exile, when my sister is assaulted.

Today women were cordoned off from their People, not even allowed to approach our Wall. The prayers of every Jew are null and void today. No voice counts unless all voices are heard.

Today God cries. It's the month of Menachem Av, a month of sadness. The Talmud tells that God coos like a dove amidst the ruins of Jerusalem, saying, "Oy to my children, who caused their own exile from My home." Today God cries that two-thousand-year-old cry again.

Oy for our children, who deny the prayers of their mothers.
Oy for our sisters, who throw eggs at their sisters.
Oy for our People, who writhe with anger at difference.
Oy for our spirit, placed in exile by the Police in the Jewish Homeland.
Oy for God, who still cries from our sins.

Jul 7, 2013

Clouds pass overhead / the sky holds so much aloft / such a blessed day. #nature #haiku #radicalamazement

#Devarim #ParshaTweet: If you choose your words carefully (& heed them), even a desert can be a honeymoon. #everywordcounts

Ynet News: Cabinet Adopts Haredi Draft Bill

13:36 , 07.07.13

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Haredi Draft
Photo: Ohad ZwigenbergYair Lapid Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg 
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Cabinet Adopts Haredi Draft Bill

Despite some inside criticism, ministers approve outline for haredi enlistment, to be put in action in four years; Lapid: Historic day; MK Porush: Black day for Jewish settlement
Omri Efraim

The cabinet adopted the equal share of the burden outline, according to which 21-year-old haredim will be drafted to the IDF, beginning in 2017, excluding 1,800 who have proven themselves scholarly-gifted and will continue to study the Torah.


Fourteen ministers voted in favor of the outline, while only four opposed it.

The outline, finalized last May by a committee headed by Minister Yaakov Peri, also recommends that haredi draft-evaders will be criminally sanctioned. The bill will be presented later for a Knesset vote.

Related stories:


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the thorny issue at the outset of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday and assured the haredi sector that "we will make the change gradually while taking into account the special needs of the haredi public."

"We have two aims in mind," the PM said, "integrating haredi youth in the IDF and in the civil service, and integrating them in the work force.

"I consider it very important to integrate Israeli-Arabs, as well. The outline is incomplete but this issue must be dealt with," he added.

The outline for the haredi draft, one of the last elections' main issues and an ancient divide inIsraeli politics, is based on the Peri Committee's conclusions, which set out to enlist all yeshiva students for the first time in either military or civil service.

Finance Minister and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, whose election campaign relied heavily on the issue of the haredi draft, called the outline a "historic change," and claimed it will benefit both the haredi sector and Israeli society as a whole.

"There will be real equality after the cabinet meeting," the finance minister said before the vote.

'Sad day for haredi Jews'

Lapid's enthusiasm was not met in kind by the haredi MKs occupying the opposition benches. "This is a sad day for haredi Judaism," exclaimed MK Meir Porush, of the United Torah Judaismparty.

"The government's abuse of the haredi minority verges on persecution and cruelty," he accused. "This day will be marked a black day in the history of the Jewish settlement."

A reluctant ally to the haredim, Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnua) called the outline "problematic," and added that though grandiose statements are made, the faults are being ignored: "Everyone wants civil service," he said, "but that's something that should be financed. A thorough discussion should be held."

Hatnua Chairwoman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was also unenthusiastic. Though she voted for the outline, she termed it a "lesser evil," and criticized it for affixing inequality between haredim and hesder yeshivas.

"The source of this inequality is in the political power exchange in government," she accused. "The haredim's seat in government was taken by the representatives of the hesder yeshivas' students."

But despite pointing out these faults, both she and her fellow party member Peretz voted for the outline, a decision Livni justified by claiming the outline points at the right direction.

"Since the attorney general determined the subject of inequality should be addressed the day the haredi draft is implemented, we postpone this struggle for that later date. We'll demand the improper deal with the hesder students be reopened."

Kobi Nachshoni contributed to this report

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