Jul 19, 2016
Jul 18, 2016
No Room for Hatred in America
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
There will come a moment for reconciliation, but this is a moment for harsh clarity. Harsh clarity, and action.
Pastor Mark Burns gave the benediction at the #RNC tonight. There was no room for a Jew in his America, no room for a Muslim in his America, no room for an Atheist in his America. Perhaps there isn't even room for many Christians in his America. There is, in fact, No America in his America.
Melania Trump spoke at the RNC today. She outright stole Michelle Obama's speech about her husband from 8 years ago. Furthermore, as Shaun King put it so well: "What's wild is that this came on the same night where Republican Congressman Steve King said he couldn't think of any great parts of civilization created by people of color. Here we have a white woman stealing something great from a Black woman." This is worse than irony. This is theft.
There is endorsed homophobia within the GOP Platform at the RNC, and imagery generated by White Supremacists at the RNC. I'm not sure how the Republicans have allowed this to happen, and what they hope might be the future of the GOP, but those questions will have to wait. We do need a conservative voice for a robust democracy. Stephen Colbert did a great service to America today by hijacking the microphone at the RNC and responding to Trump in the most appropriate way: clownish parody.
Today, as a patriotic American Jew, I am committing to doing everything I can to not cede my country to a magnet for all this wrongness. For those who will see my active support for Hillary Clinton as partisan, I ask you to watch the video linked below. Consider how one certain Galilean Rabbi would respond to the hatred being given American airtime. And act accordingly.
Jul 17, 2016
Committed to Home: Reflections from Israel: 5 Years, 2 Years, and 1 Year Ago Today - And Today
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
I. Five Years Ago
just entered yad vashem's valley of the communities, saw my ancestral community (moldova) listed, and I'm lost. where/when is here?
staring at a boxcar with suddenly, intentionally stopped tracks that today point to (and, oy, would that they had led to) the forests of jerusalem. no words... my heart is devastated once again.
a grandson, a dear soul, spoke of his grandparents' legacy as partizans from vilna. when we recited the el maleh (prayer for memory), we added the words "those who fought" to the passive "those who were murdered." moved, afraid, and pulled by the commitment to act, and what must continue to mean for Jews today.
the irony (and tactile education) at yad vashem of being forced to wait in lines to watch footage of jews waiting in drastically different kinds of lines as I pass guided tours in hebrew, english, german, spanish by teen-aged guides to thousands of visitors. how can memory be translated? shared? preserved?
the transition from watching ethopian israeli soldiers training at yad vashem to visiting the fallen at har herzl cemetery is so hard to bridge. leadership, sacrifice, and the unity of the Jewish People in the face of national trauma? what would herzl say of israel today? what internal/external nation-building remains?
returning from extra-ordinary home hospitality in tekoa. troubled beyond words, trying to reconcile human warmth and the (unfathomable yet "understandable") readiness to dehumanize another type of person, based on years of violence and psychological trauma. but isn't that the case on every side?
II. Two Years Ago
Felt the heartbeat of the stones. Delivered notes from my students. Promised I'd be back soon.
Regarding the necessity to respond militarily to Hamas' relentless attacks on Israeli civilians: The need for such horrible things is the deepest tragedy. If Hamas weren't sending a barrage of missiles into every part of Israel, there would be no "knocking on anyone's roofs" in advance of returning fire (an incredibly humane act by the IDF in the context of terrorism, which never warns in advance). Reality is never simple, but it is sometimes horrifying clear.
A Prayer for Right Now: Dear God, Source of Life, May every human being on earth live without fear. May my family be safe tonight. May both prayers, O God, be fulfilled in the same moment, a moment that lasts for all eternity. Amen.
Clinging to hope, crying and trying not to lose my grip from the wetness of all our tears. May we see glimmers of hope here, there, and beyond any borders, soon and in our days. Amen.
I pray to the Oneness that Binds Creation to itself, and name that Oneness "God." There are infinite names for that Force that leads the world through Love. Sharing the Name for that Oneness is a delight, and no claim borne of Love lessens my experience of the One whose Name is Love.
III. One Year Ago
With Women of the Wall: Haredim yelling curses at us at the start of the month when we mourn the destruction of the temple - for gratuitous hatred. Irony? We don't need internal enemies, we'll just self destruct as a people.
More #AIPAC #RabbisInIsrael experiences than I can name in these scant pre-Shabbes moments. Two images demonstrate the diverse and passionate ideas and people we are meeting. In the last 2 hours we met with Dani Dayan, immediate past chair of the YESHA Council and Yariv Oppenheimer, General Director of Peace Now. Dizzying, and demanding demonstrations of the dignity of difference. #MyZionism
Flying home from home, feeling the weight of history, the despair of history, the power of history. Reeling from testimony from inspiring Jewish and Arab thought leaders, exhausted by non-stop learning, grateful for a stunning Shabbat in Jerusalem. Hearing the wisdom of rabbis and Israeli LGBTQ leaders, Palestinian visionary builders, respectful Knesset opponents, civil rights activists...
Just heard that hours after I took leave from my colleagues, a terrorist was stopped in Jerusalem before being able to murder with a bomb. On the same block they shared a falafel and delightful Saturday night together.
Just days ago, I promised the Western Wall stone I've now visited 28 times, a stone whose devotees include those who don't call me rabbi, that I'm coming home again soon.
Heart in the East, body heading West, committed to hope, committed to my Home.
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Jul 14, 2016
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Sacred Blue and Bloody Red,
Divine flow captured
in earthly art.
Heaven feels so very far away,
so very far. Again. So far.
Our determination to save lives
so beset, so often.
Red over Blue.
Nice, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minneapolis, Oakland, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Orlando, Chicago,
black, white, Arab, Jew, American, Muslim, Gay, Straight...
Has Heaven always been so far? Has it always been this way? How can we talk, breathe, dream, parent... live when the world is in such pain? How do we endure? Where is God today?
Might and Mercy,
Compassion and Judgment,
Splendor, and Foundation...
aspects, masks of the Divine,
tensions of a cosmic system,
manifest in this dimension...
Red and blue. Red.
Maybe it's always been this way...
Maybe it used to be more hidden,
The madness of God's universe,
Divine images erasing each other
red, red, red...
Once upon a time,
this secret knowledge was
reserved for the few,
the burden of knowing what was real
Now we all know what is real,
God's Red Flow visible to everyone.
The task? Keep your crying eyes open, see God's Face everywhere, sense God's Red Flow hidden deep within in every person, be God's Aching Heart in the world.
Grief now. Action now. Cultivate Hope. Love each other.
Emphasize Mercy, Compassion, Splendor. Render judgment on violence. Be mighty for, not at, one another.
We will see tomorrow.
#poetry #poetcommunity #life #inspiration #poem #mourning
#grief #comfort #chagall #marcchagall #kabbalah #god #mystic #nice #bastilleday
Jul 12, 2016
Jerusalem at 6am
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
I. The Cyclist of King David St.
Thinning, cropped hair,
dark skin over Eastern European features,
he passes me by,
inscrutable expression on his face.
Is it my tallis and tefillin bag? My American sandals? Perhaps it's that he noticed me noticing him.
Maybe he's just a man enjoying his morning ride, and being in Israel fills my eyes with Jewish meaning.
II. Davening in a Secret Garden
Definitely not pink.
Glowing, growing all around.
Strings from my tallis
dangle and sway,
suspended over newly-placed
I choose to daven
just yards from the Old City.
It's more colorful here.
III. Almost Home
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Almost there, I tell myself.
Just over that next hill,
and I'll be home,
safe and sound.
Walking is good, I tell myself.
Wandering is exploring,
the chance to take in new surroundings,
learn, adapt, and respond.
I'm so busy convincing myself the road ahead is clear and safe, I trip over a rusty metal plate in the sidewalk, reminding me where to place any bomb I might see.
Jul 1, 2016
To Kneel (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor for Landingham & Kaepernick, our angels in the wings Sometimes, it isn't about nuan...