Mar 31, 2014
Mar 28, 2014
- Salary commensurate with education and experience.
- Benefits include health and disability insurances, paid personal/sick and vacation days, as well as federal and Jewish holidays.
Mar 26, 2014
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Mar 25, 2014
A Prayer for a Just Society, Soon and in Our Days
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Offered March 25, 2014 in the US Capitol Building in collaboration with the holy work of JubileeUSA and FactCoalition
We ask for Your help tonight. Help us remember to see Your Image reflected in the faces of every human being. Inspire the work of our leaders to love You by loving each other, to honor You by honoring those most vulnerable in our world.
We are united tonight, acknowledging that every voice on every side of every issue is obligated as one to start the work of ending our systemic empowerment of abusive, faceless corporations, to continue the work of healing our nation from pervasive economic inequality, and to do everything in our power to eradicate interpersonal indignity, wherever it continues to exist within our legal tradition.
Please, Eternal One, imbue our halls of law and our halls of justice with righteous egalitarianism, with equal justice and protection, with compassion that overpowers greed.
Remind us, Source of Life, that people living in capitalist societies are called to use moral language like "obligation" and "responsibility" as fundamental aspects of business plans.
Give us the strength to keep fierce feeling alive in our souls. Justice work can be exhausting, leadership can be distracted, and we can too easily feel shut down by the weight of the world on our shoulders. But we know, Dear God, deep in our souls, that this burden we are blessed to share with You.
God, Remind us of our holy power to feel fiercely and act in solidarity with every one of Your infinite human reflections, everywhere in Your world. With Your Spirit pulsing in our bodies, God, we stand more able, more hopeful, more alive. The abundance of life pulsing in our bodies obligates us to call out for justice. And so we call out, and shout, and march, and act, remembering that your prophets have taught us that:
"While some are guilty, all are responsible." (Heschel)
We know that we are responsible.
"Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right." (Ps. 106)
We wish to be so blessed.
Grace us, God. Please. We need more hope than ever so that we can achieve justice for more people than have it today.
We ask You, God, to support elected officials, religious leaders, and business owners alike, gay and straight alike, atheists and faithful alike, as we aim to dignify the rich and the poor - alike.
Right here and right now, with each other as witnesses, we pledge stand as part of the sacred effort.
May this year be a better one throughout this Nation, and throughout Your Creation, thanks to the actions You call upon us to take on behalf of the most vulnerable, each one a sparkling, dignified reflection of You.
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Mar 24, 2014
Courage in the Face of Gun Violence
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Our courage is most manifest in the endurance of our prophetic voices. We're in this for the long haul, called to shout, post, preach, and act until this destruction is cured. The NRA is built to last. But their mission is young compared with the Prophets'.
Mar 23, 2014
Mar 21, 2014
Congregation Netivot Shalom
Come explore a Talmudic text dealing with the qualifications for leadership! Does wealth matter? Pedigree? How 'in-touch' should we expect leaders to be with the 'real lives' of their constituents? What happens when a failed leader learns? Is there room for growth and forgiveness in politics?
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
To the many people I know (and many I do not) who have reached out in support, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Given the fast-paced and rhetoric-laced tenor of so many Israel-related conversations, it can become hard to know if anything helps. But here's what I believe: it's better than most people think. I'm currently working on a longish HuffPo piece sharing my reflections post-AIPAC, and while I'm not interested in engaging with the Dershowitz experience, it has also provided a beautiful context for what is already happening. As one friend, Hillary Chorny, put it: "When you speak out of love for Israel, [it] isn't left or right: it's straight-up holy." I believe that the emerging conversation is a holy one, that Zionism is bigger than politics, and that the Jewish capacity for debate is only growing.
To those who disagree, I can only say this: We spend too much time screaming about not being heard. Speak your heart's truth to build a better Israel. Everyone is listening, and time's awasting.
Mar 20, 2014
Mar 19, 2014
I have deleted the blog entry of the original letter, and I appreciate his clarification.
Mar 18, 2014
Mar 17, 2014
Mar 15, 2014
Rejected Shul Slogans - Purim 2014
Compiled by Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rejected Shul Slogans
1. "This is the shul of affliction." – (Alex Weinberg)
2. "I upped my donation. Up yours." – (Rabbi Charles Arian)
3. "Eat, Pray, Argue." (Rabbi Gail Labovitz)
4. NOT the shul you wouldn't be caught dead in.. (Rabbi Gail Labovitz)
5. "Moses Died for Your Sins… Too soon?" (Rabbi Matt Rosenberg)
6. "Cheapest Dues in Town and A Rabbi That Shows It!" (Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger)
7. "Join us for Yom Kippur... We serve ham and cheese sandwiches." (Rabbi Noam Raucher)
8. "We practice relational Judaism so much even Jesus loves us!"(Rabbi Noam Raucher)
9. "We put the "ish" in Heimish!" (Rabbi Jason Miller)
10. "Temple Beth Mavet: We. Are. Kaddish." (Rabbi David Wise)
11. "Our self-righteousness is your problem." (Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder)
12. "Because we have always done it this way." (Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone)
13. "We put the fun in dysfunctional." (Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone)
14. "We're like your family only more dysfunctional" (Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder)
15. "You'll love us. We are a warm, Amish shul." (Rabbi Michael Beals)
16. "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you .... the first half of Hatzi Kaddish" (Rabbi Rob Scheinberg )
17. "Hate evil and love good, and pay your damn dues on time." (Rabbi Ben Goldstein)
Rejected Netivot Shalom Slogans
1. "We're good enough, we're smart enough, and gosh darn it people like us!" (Jennifer Massie)
2. "Netivot Shalom... we'll be the happy place you need after you leave Berkeley Bowl." (Shifra Pride Raffel)
3. "Netivot Shalom: It used to be a liquor store and now it's... almost as fun." (Sandra Rosenblum )
4. "So refreshing and invigorating, we almost called it Neti-pot Shalom!" (Rabbi Mike Rothbaum )
5. "The shul you go to instead of the one you won't" (Sarah Lefton)
6. "CNS: Participatory and egalitarian - a shul where, if you want something done, you get to do it yourself." (Joan Bradus)
7. "CNS - Creditor Never Sleeps." (Sue Douglass)
8. "Never wear white shoes after Labor Day. The rest is commentary." (Andy Cohen)
9. "Congregation Netivot Shalom: Paths of Peace, much better than Highway of War" (Rabbi Shalom Bochner)
10. "Netivot Shalom...at the intersection of Yahadut/Judaism and Berkeley" (Rom Rosenblum)
11. "Jesus was here" (Liz Creditor)
12. "Daven 'til you drop" (Coby Rudolph)
13. "What's for kiddush?" (Coby Rudolph)
14. "Featuring, "Race to the Lox!" Saturdays at 12:30." (Coby Rudolph)
15. "A sandals and socks kind of shul." (Coby Rudolph)
Rabbi Sue Fendrick's Rejected Shul Slogans
1. Where "shalom" is in our name because a war we started in our old congregation led to a breakaway.
2. If you have to ask, it's assur/forbidden.
3. Welcoming all kinds of Jews--with incomes of $250K plus.
4. Where our rabbis are so odd, you'll feel normal by comparison.
5. So much frummer than the apikorsim down the street.
6. Whatever we are, it's definitely not Orthodox or Reform.
7. We're so kosher, we only serve water at Kiddush. Just to be safe.
8. Gayer than your mother's hairdresser.
9. Reconstructing Judaism one misogynist xenophobic insanity at a time.
Mar 14, 2014
Mar 13, 2014
Would You Let Your Children Read the Megillah of Esther?
Shabbat Dedicated to Reflecting on Handgun Violence
Rabbi Gary S. Creditor
March 14th, 2014
I wonder: if we really stopped to read the Megillah of Esther carefully and critically,
If we paid attention to Haman's designs upon the Jews,
If we analyzed the details of the Jewish self-defense,
Would we let children read this book?
Would we merrily dance around in costumes?
Would we make this holiday such happy holiday?
You all know that I will be dressed up in costume tomorrow night and we will be as raucous as possible. At the Purim dinner we will sing some traditional yet silly songs. This is our normal modes operendai for Purim.
But perhaps it is the reflection that age allows, or because of issues about our society today, as I have been reading and rereading the Megillah that I hear episode after episode of extreme violence. It is a loud subtext of the Megillah. There is violence towards bodies, violence towards women, violence against children, violence towards Jews and violence towards Persians.
This is the story about a very bad, violent and malevolent society.
The Megillah of Esther, far from being a silly children's tale, is a very adult book, a clarion warning about violence and what it does to society. The Jewish observances that stem from, that are included at the end of the Megillah for no real rhyme or reason shows the radically different Jewish view.
On this Shabbat, Saturday and Sunday, synagogues and churches around the country are dedicating themselves to reflect on the issue of handgun violence and the need to control the sale of arms and lessen the violence in our society. It is an epidemic that must be addressed. Though other issues come to the fore, if we forget about and ignore the issue of handgun violence, we really do it at the peril of lives. Reading Megilat Esther is most appropriate on this Shabbat.
Violence Against Bodies:
The Megillah says that in the third year of Ahashverosh's reign he made a party and they drank for 180 days. After Esther was chosen as queen, he made another party. When Esther evolves her plot to save the Jews she throws two parties for Ahashverosh and Haman. Now they were certainly not drinking sarsaparilla! Regardless of historical inaccuracies, the Megillah reports a society that abused their bodies through alcohol. And we know that intoxication goes hand in hand with other forms of violence, whether it be physical, sexual or with guns.
Violence Against Women:
We usually make light about Vashti and her role in the plot. But when we read the Megillah it is clear that it portrays the subjugation of women in the Persian world. After all, if you can do this to the queen, you can do this to any woman. Vashti was not invited to a grand ball. She was commanded to appear naked in a scene that superseded the Roman debaucheries. Though it allowed Esther to enter the story, it is important to listen to her voice too, that she is also subjugated to a drunken tyrant. Esther was also subject to death for appearing without proper summons and authorization. It is absolutely clear that the women were opportune for violence and abuse.
Violence Against Children:
Haman's degree to exterminate the Jews was all inclusive, "from young men to old, babies and women." We can look at this from both sides. We do not have to imagine the impact of genocidal violence upon children for there is sufficient literature from the Holocaust. But in Persia this was to be hand-to-hand combat and slaughter. Can you imagine what Haman had planned? The violence against children destroys the last shred of humanity. Several times the Megillah alerts us to this degradation of the society of perpetrators, not only of the victims.
Violence Against the Jews:
Violence Against the Persians:
The climax of the Megillah is the actual battles between the Jews and Persians. The latter thought that they were going to murder defenseless prey and instead confronted a seriously armed camp. How many Jews died? We don't know. There had to be some amount of casualties. How many Persians died? Ignore the hyperbole and the questionable historicity. On the first day in Shushan there were 500 dead plus Haman's ten sons. On the second day in Shushan they killed 300 more. In the rest of the country they killed 75,000. And then they publicly hang Haman's ten sons. And we sing and dance and make sounds with groggers while we recount all of these deaths, no matter how righteous in self defense it was.
Shouldn't we read it in subdued voices?
Shouldn't we discuss how to tell this to children?
Do we really want to advocate for a violent society?
I can present the Megillah in many different ways. Surely I wish the Jews of Europe could have defended themselves, like the Jews of the Megillah, before, during and after the Holocaust.
My point of reference in this sermon is singularly focused on us, the readers of the Megillah, the revelers in the story and its projection of violence. This text is filled with violence against bodies, against women, against children, against Jews against the Persians, and by extension, against us too. We become desensitized to violence when we read this over and over and take the violence for granted, don't even bat an eyelash at the numbers of the dead, don't flinch at the threat to men and women, babies and children.
And if this is true about the Megillah, then it is certainly true about violent video games and the plethora of violent images on television and cable networks, in music and in art. The campaign to diminish gun violence is not just about guns, it is about all forms of violence, it is about our vision of society and of the world. They need to shape a different image where people are respected, where each human being is considered sacred, where life is holy and thus cherished and not threatened nor destroyed.
Whatever laws need to be enacted, do so.
Whatever curriculums need to be written, write them.
Whatever reforms of social exposition need to be implemented, change them too.
Somehow we need to create a kinder, gentler, more respectful society.
The end of the Megillah gives us a clue. There are two mitzvot created in the ninth chapter, mishloach manot and matanot l'evyonim, gifts to each other and gifts to the poor. There is no hint to why these behaviors are instituted. They don't connect to the plot. But maybe, just maybe they are created to be the antidote to violence. We give food gifts "each person to his neighbor" and other gifts to the poor. We break down the walls that separate us. We behave with mercy and kindness, even love to each other, and those we don't know. That is how to diminish violence in the world – change how we think about each other. That is what Isaiah was dreaming when he spoke about breaking weapons into plowshares, instruments to feed the world instead of killing. Just maybe….
"Once in the days of King Ahashverosh.."
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Purim Sameach.
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