Dec 22, 2016

Hallelujah

Hallelujah
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

For the love of God,
for the love of People,
for Love itself...

please,
please,
please...

don't wait.
Live fully.
Live now.
Love emphatically.
Love freely.

And, dear friends,
where Love is challenged by hate,
love harder by being softer.
This is the way.

Hallelujah.

#loveistheway #love #heart #soul #life #inspiration #god #humanrace #Hope #hallelujah

Dec 19, 2016

Rest Will Come Later: A Faithful American Intention

Rest Will Come Later: A Faithful American Intention
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

this new reality threatens
a great undoing
abandonment
descent

but

our faiths
our country
our families
our values
our neighbors
they all call

so

no time
for hopelessness

so

instead
we will
          stand
                    choose
                               commit
                                           hope

we will choose to hope,
as did those before us:

We will remember
that “the sovereign power
of all civil authority
is founded in the consent
of the people. 
(Roger Williams)”

We will “hold
God and people
in one thought at one time,
at all times,
suffer harm done to others,
make compassion our greatest passion,
and make our greatest strengths
love and defiance of despair.
(Abraham Joshua Heschel, adapted)”

We will be “a nation
that extends care, compassion, and concern
to those who are locked up and locked out
or headed for prison 
before they are old enough to vote.
(Michelle Alexander) ”

We will be “dedicated 
to the great task remaining before us
…that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom –
and that government 
of the people,
by the people,
for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.
(Abraham Lincoln, adapted)”

We will choose to hope.
We will be with each other.
We will not be silent.
We will not be resigned.
We will call out hate.
We will do more than endure.
We will resist.
We will overcome.
We will build this world from love.

(And, yes, child,
when this brutal test is done,
there will be time for crying.
But, for now, no more weeping and wailing.
We must get to work,
building up a Beloved Community
faster than it can be torn down.
Rest will come later.)

May God and each of us bless the United States of America, and all who look to her for hope, until every person "shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree. (Micah 4:4)"

May the Source of Life grant sufficient wisdom and strength for the work ahead.

Amen.

............................
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbi, Congregation Netivot Shalom
Chair, Rabbis Against Gun Violence (#RAGV)

Scheduling Inquiries: ra@netivotshalom.org or (510) 549-9447 x103

To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to thetisch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com!

Dec 11, 2016

Rain

Rain
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Thank You for the Rain,
for a gift that can't be held.

Precious Life slips through
trembling open closed clenched caressing hands
but its flow, its flow,
the joy of its touch...

it always slips through, 
but o' the rapture of its holy touch...

lingering droplets of life
on the ground,
in the trees,
in my hair, 
in my eyes...

Thank You for the Rain
for a sound that brings 
instant memory
of a force beyond ourselves.

purifying, drenching, pounding, carrying away,
burrowing deep into
the forgotten depths
an earth that can feel so barren,
into a world thirsty for Love...

thank You for the Rain.

Please, please, please...
please
let it rain some more.

Dec 5, 2016

Despite it All

Despite it All
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

no matter what
despite it all
even as we break
we breathe

no matter what
despite it all
even when breathing is harder
we hope

no matter what
despite it all
even when hope falters
we love

so
no matter what
despite it all
we breathe
we hope
we love

Nov 29, 2016

Please support "Refugee Artists in Greece," an effort led by Dafna Bearson


 
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From Rabbi Creditor: 
Please support "Refugee Artists in Greece,"
an effort led by Dafna Bearson
Dear Chevreh,

Over Yom Kippur, Dafna Bearson challenged us all to:

"embrace [the prophet] Isaiah's challenge to move beyond prayer and actively repair the brokenness in ourselves and the world around us; to see ourselves in each stranger and reach out to strangers and friends with compassion. So that someday soon each child will grow up in a beautiful garden." (click here for her impassioned drasha)

Dafna has embodied the Jewish response to the prophetic call through her months in a Refugee Camp in Greece this Summer, her advocacy on campus and at shul, and now, through her leadership of "Refugee Artists in Greece,a project dedicated to amplifying refugee voices through their art.
Friends, I'm asking you to do more than tearfully cheer her on. Let's invest in justice. I'm making a gift right now, which needs $4,000 to happen. Stand with Dafna. I do.

Click here. Save the world by saving one life. Show our teacher that we're listening and in this together. Help Dafna help others and fulfill the Jewish moral lesson that faith is what we do with our bodies, with our means, and with our power. 

Our gratitude and admiration are one thing. Our commitment is the thing that matters more. Dafna is leading us forward, and I'm hoping you'll empower her to keep doing just that. Click here to make your gift.
rabbicreditorgala

With much love,
Menachem

-----
CNS Mission Statement

Netivot Shalom invites you to engage in a cross-generational discovery of Jewish inspiration and purpose.

Our community is defined by the values of:
  • Belonging - we believe, as a participatory egalitarian community, that every member has a voice.
  • Learning - we provide introductory and continuing encounters with Jewish wisdom.
  • Ritual - we strive to deepen personal engagement with the sacred.
  • Justice - we embrace Judaism's call to perfect the world.


Nov 21, 2016

Living with the Unimaginable: A Thanksgiving Prayer During a Difficult American Moment

Living with the Unimaginable: A Thanksgiving Prayer During a Difficult American Moment
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Dear God,
words feel so small
for these feelings

prayer in response can feel
right or inadequate
timely or timeless

this time it feels different
like we’ve traveled through time
to yesterday’s darker threat
we thought contained in history

suddenly lists reemerge
lists of Your Divine Images
othered for the sin of knowing You differently

Comforter,
suddenly what we realize
we know so much less than we had thought

Eternal One,
is there time for comfort
or does that come later?
(will it come?)

Precious Lord,
We kneel.
We pause to kneel.
We must pause if we are
to regain the semblance of balance
and fulfill our good work in the world.
Your world.

On this complicated sacred day
where whiteness has been whitewashed
many times over
abuse masked as beneficence
power over disguised as national narrative
we pause.

Dear God,
We ask:
Please
be with us as we
confront
resist
self-reflect 
absorb
the unimaginable.

May we find the gratitude
for being charged with good work
for having the strength to pray
for having the wisdom to act
for having each other’s concern in our hearts
for Your vision of a Beloved community in our eyes.

Loving God,
we give thanks for
the true privilege
of humility
of listening
of sharing
of pausing

of loving each other
in Your Name.

For all this, God,
we thank You.

Dear God,
we thank You for blessing
each of us with each other.

Amen.

Nov 18, 2016

A Gift for Shabbes! "There is Hope!"



A Gift for Shabbes!

"There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen z"l
"There is hope for your future." - Jeremiah 31:17

Dear Chevreh,

What a week. Tomorrow, in my introduction to the Torah Reading, I'll share a short reflection on how this week can be held well by the Parsha. For now, I'm glad to share with you all a manifestation of hope in which I'm glad to have participated during this last week, a collaborative musical collection entitled " There is Hope." (click the link to download the album!)

My dear friend Rabbi David Paskin and I launched a project called "There is Hope" with the intention of curating a free digital album of music dedicated to hope and healing in uncertain times. 

The artists who responded with generosity and passion include: Marsha Attie, Stacy Beyer, Joanie Calem, Neshama Carlebach, Jennie Chabon, Steve Dropkin, Maya Elise, Adam Feder, Josh Goldberg, Sue Horowitz, Billy Kaplan, Larry Karol, Naomi Less, Chava Mirel, Dan Nichols, Pizmon Jewish A Cappella, Juval Porat, Rick Recht, Chana Rothman, Melita Silberstein, Julie Silver, Peri Smilow, and Craig Taubman.

The musicians featured in this collection have given of their souls to heal, to help, to bring light to others. We all offer these songs, the soundtracks of our own soul's, to anyone in need of reassurance and comfort in these uncertain times. There is an immense need for hope, now more than ever, as hatred seems to gain momentum with each passing news item. But, as the prophet Jeremiah, who witnessed destruction and violence in his lifetime, taught us: there is always hope. We affirm, through our music, through our very souls: There is hope.

Our collective blessing to every listener, to you:

May you sing and dance, act and love, 
expanding the cracks in your heart to let ever more light in.
May we build this world from love.
Together.

"There is Hope" is available for free digital download at www.hopesongs.net.
Shabbat Shalom!

............................
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbi, Congregation Netivot Shalom
Chair, Rabbis Against Gun Violence (#RAGV)

Scheduling Inquiries: ra@netivotshalom.org or (510) 549-9447 x103

To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to thetisch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com!


Nov 10, 2016

journey to [a #poem]

journey to [a #poem

© rabbi menachem creditor

listen so well,
stretch my soul
into her quivering mouth
for meaning

trying, trying, hoping,
desperate to discern

what is she saying?
what needs to be heard?

how can I be in a place
I don’t understand?

how did we get here?

Never mind that.
We’re here.

Where do we go now?
Go. Go to yourselves
to a land that I will show you

I
now
must

leave behind what I know,
the land I thought I knew
journey to…

#poetry #poetcommunity #life#inspiration #poem #journey #uncharted#path #humbled #hopeful

multi-faith service of togetherness

Nov 9, 2016

The Journey Ahead

Broken Glass: Yes, My Child

Broken Glass: Yes, My Child
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

The world turned upside down
with America first
tonight

1938 Germany
glass ceilings broke
burning synagogues
neighbors' hatred the accelerant
... tonight?

today my child tells me
she is scared
I am too

But.
And.

It is not 1938
and we do not go gently
and we do not go alone
we dare not go alone

broken bonds
threefold cords
calling for repair
for love
for love

yes, my child:
it will get worse
before it gets better
yes, my child:
I am afraid

But.
And.

I am here. Alive.
You are here. Alive.

Shards of broken glass
history's sharp, bloody call
to overcome,
to never forget
to walk this narrow bridge unafraid
to live fiercely with, not against

that banner yet waves
over kneeling brothers and sisters
hands up, heavy spirits all
teary eyes searching heaven
for reassurance

we are not resigned
not resigned
despair, an unforgivable sin

we will not hate
I will not hate

Say it with me, child:
I. Will. Not. Hate.
I. Will. Not. Hate.

the obligations of citizenship
have just begun.

Yes, my child:
the work has just begun.

#poem #poetry #poetcommunity #life #America #kristallnacht #remember #zachor #riseup #notresigned #Democracy #election2016 #children #fear #citizenship #service

Nov 8, 2016

For America, With Trembling Hands

For America, With Trembling Hands 
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Each line drawn with my trembling hand, this act, this obligation, this privilege is complete.

My daughters, my mother, my matriarchs in my crying eyes as I voted for President.

So many others in America, incarcerated, gunned down, ignored - the fate of so many is in our hands. Was in my hands. Your hands.

I pray we do right today, America. One more step toward life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Toward justice and equality. For all. 

Really, God, for all.

Amen.

#vote #voting #Prayer #election2016

Nov 1, 2016

White Privilege at Shul

White Privilege at Shul

 
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From Rabbi Creditor: White Privilege at Shul
Rabbi Creditor video

Dear Chevreh,
This message is a hard one to articulate well. I received a call from someone who was asked a question while at Netivot Shalom. That is not surprising. We love questions!

But Jewish tradition celebrates the exploration of what motivates questions as well. (For instance, see the well known Torah study book: "What's Bothering Rashi?") So what prompted this shul-wide message is what surrounds the question.

I formatted my thoughts in a video I encourage you to watch. I'm not sure it came out right. I'm a white man. I'm not typically aware of that. Yes, as a Jew, I know what it means to be marginalized. But this is different. If I were black, then... ...actually, I can't even complete that sentence, because I don't have any notion of what it is to be black. In this case my best role, I believe, is to make sure we hear the question that was brought to me. 

(Between recording the video on Facebook and completing this message, I've now heard from a dozen shul leaders around the country that they have similar stories. We aren't alone, and the challenge is larger than one shul's.)

Click the graphic above or right here for the rest of this message.

May we listen well to each other, and learn from our mistakes.

Kol Tuv,
Rabbi Creditor

-----
CNS Mission Statement

Netivot Shalom invites you to engage in a cross-generational discovery of Jewish inspiration and purpose.

Our community is defined by the values of:
  • Belonging - we believe, as a participatory egalitarian community, that every member has a voice.
  • Learning - we provide introductory and continuing encounters with Jewish wisdom.
  • Ritual - we strive to deepen personal engagement with the sacred.
  • Justice - we embrace Judaism's call to perfect the world.

............................
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbi, Congregation Netivot Shalom
Chair, Rabbis Against Gun VIolence (#RAGV)

Scheduling Inquiries: ra@netivotshalom.org or (510) 549-9447 x103

To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to thetisch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com!