May 30, 2016

#EnoughBernie

#EnoughBernie
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Bernie Sanders is a pure voice, a compelling visionary. Who didn't build a caucus of allies during his decades in Congress. Criticism of him, however undesirable it is for his supporters, is just as objective as the slings and arrows his campaign is actively slinging at Clinton.
Moreso, the harm Bernie's campaign will cause millions if he weakens the obvious Democratic nominee when she faces a hateful demagogue in the general election calls for a robust reaction, before it is too late. His campaign has run its course, and his message will continue to be influential. But he is not the leader we need.
As Jewish tradition puts it: "A wise person is preferable to a prophet." We know that prophets might have been right and pure, but their inability to bring people along is what made the doom they saw even more inevitable, and why Judaism has always tempered expectations and insisted upon grounded leaders.
We dare not allow our yearning for a perfected vision (Sanders) to make darkness (Trump) more likely when a strong, effective - and yes, wonkish - and well-qualified candidate (Clinton) is a viable and worthy option.
It is time to unify, step forward, and get out the vote, for the sakes of so many.

May 11, 2016

68 Words, 68 Years

68 Words, 68 Years
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

From the fiery furnace we rose
knowing what it is to be hated,
Jewish blood spilled
every century
every continent
hasn't erased our hope,
to be free, to be a blessing.

Wielding weapons we wish we didn’t need,
we fight with tears in our eyes,
praying that same prayer we've always prayed:
peace.

What new songs will we teach our precious children?

Our home, our land, our choice.

May 5, 2016

Our Testimony: A Yom haShoah Message

Our Testimony: A Yom haShoah Message 
Rabbi Menachem Creditor


Tonight and tomorrow we commemorate the Shoah. We seek testimony from the precious survivors in our communities, comfort from each other, answers that will not come. W e stand silent, we cry loudly, we light candles. All of this is right, all of it is wrong. 

"Lo Amut Ki Echyeh/I will not die, but rather I will live" sing the Psalms, words we just recited every day of Pesach.  In the annals of our People, tragedies beyond number have hurt us, threatened our tradition, our very existence. Despite it all we are here. We are here. Tonight and tomorrow, that is the loudest response Jews around the world offer. We are here, and we are here to stay. Our children will live. Judaism will live. 

Lo Amut:  
We will not die. 
Ki Echyeh: We will live.

There is no answer to the Shoah, no theology, no historical explanation that will suffice. We scream at and to God. But, as the great Elie Wiesel famously put it, "When others have asked me, 'Where was God during the Holocaust?' I respond 'No. Where was man?'"  Similarly, Pirkei Avot teaches us: "In a place where people are inhuman, be a human." And, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel exhorted us: "To be only human is to be less then human." We are called to so very much on this agonizing day on our sacred calendar.

So, Chevreh, this is what I believe we are called to do:

Stand proud to be a Jew in the world.
Act as a proud Jew in the world. 

We know that the best response to the unfathomable hatred the Nazis perpetrated as others stood by is to pour out unending Love as we stand together with every other threatened People in the world. That is our testimony. Never again. 

The hope that has lasted thousands of years, to be free to be a purposeful People on Earth, to be a blessing to all who seek blessing, to channel our own suffering for the betterment of the world: that is the testimony we are called to demonstrate. 

Will it answer the agony of the Shoah? Never. Are we called to Life? Forever. That is our Eternal mitzvah: LIVE. If those precious souls who, to this day, share testimony of the horrors they face can live despite despair, we are called to no less.
May we be true bearers of this terrible lesson, proud to be Jewish, indefatigably alive, and unequivocally resolute.

To Life, Chevreh, to Life,
Rabbi Creditor

Blog Archive