Dec 1, 2020

Three years ago today, I flew from California to New York to interview to become the Rabbi and Scholar in Residence for UJA-Federation of New York. Three years later, I am still overwhelmed by the privilege of serving our holy community in this way. May we be blessed to come together and do untold good for others. Today is #GivingTuesday. Please consider supporting this vital work by making a gift to support our work in the world: https://www.ujafedny.org/givingtuesday

 Three years ago today, I flew from California to New York to interview to become the Rabbi and Scholar in Residence for UJA-Federation of New York. Three years later, I am still overwhelmed by the privilege of serving our holy community in this way. May we be blessed to come together and do untold good for others. Today is #GivingTuesday. Please consider supporting this vital work by making a gift to support our work in the world: https://www.ujafedny.org/givingtuesday

Nov 25, 2020

Thrilled to share my comment on this week's Parsha, published on MyJewishLearning.com!

Thrilled to share my comment on this week's Parsha, published on MyJewishLearning.com!

"Our matriarch Leah is introduced in this portion as having “weak eyes,” while her sister Rachel is described as beautiful. (The Hebrew word for weak, rakkot, can also be translated as “soft.”) Why are Leah’s weak eyes specifically mentioned in the Torah?..."

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/parashat-vayeitzei-leahs-hidden-blessing/

#VaYeitzei #Leah #Tears #Blessing

Angels ascend and descend, bridging Heaven and Earth, and every once in a while, our eyes open again to the wonder of it all.

 

Nov 23, 2020

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on #hope.

"The sociologist Peter Berger calls hope a “signal of transcendence,” a point at which something beyond penetrates into the human situation. There is nothing inevitable or even rational about hope. It cannot be inferred from any facts about the past or present. Those with a tragic sense of life hold that hope is an illusion, a childish fantasy, and that a mature response to our place in the universe is to accept its fundamental meaninglessness and cultivate the stoic virtue of acceptance. Judaism insists otherwise: that the reality that underlies the universe is not deaf to our prayers, blind to our aspirations, indifferent to our existence. We are not wrong to strive to perfect the world, refusing to accept the inevitability of suffering and injustice."

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks #hope




What does it mean to have "soft eyes," as did our Mother Leah? May we cry for the world we wish to see, may we see our tears as our teachers. Bless you, friends. #StaySafe #StayHome #Thanksgiving2020 #BuildOnLove

 

Nov 22, 2020

Six Drawings

For the past six weeks, it has been humbling and inspiring to be part of a Jewish Studio Project Spiritual Direction group, led by the amazing team of Karen Erlichman & Joel Kushner. My fellow participants were generous of soul and graceful beyond words. Each week we learned, listened, and created together, and transcended the limits of the screen with open hearts. This was a deeply real experience.

These six drawings are what poured out from my soul in conversation with text, self, God, and community.

May we be blessed with teachers and friends who draw us out and mirror the truth of our whole selves with such care and skill. Grateful, grateful, grateful. 









#art #selfcare #othercare #create #love

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on healthy limits and survival.


"Without limits, civilizations can be as thrilling and short-lived as fireworks. To survive they need to find a way of containing energy so that it lasts, undiminished. ... As Rees-Mogg said, “uncontrolled energy is merely a big and usually destructive bang.” I believe that we need to recover a sense of limits because, in our uncontrolled search for ever greater affluence, we are endangering the future of the planet and betraying our responsibility to generations not yet born. There are such things as fruit we should not eat and fire we should not bring."

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

tattered abundance (a poem)


tattered abundance

© menachem creditor
.
this moment is too much
numbers on the register
register as lost lives
.
the silence of the cashier
scanning my family's nourishment
invites blind, tearful empathy
.
watching sad shoppers
in anticipation of this week's
sad day of abundance
.
my reused paper bags
are tattered after months
and months and months
of holding it all...
.
... yes, Precious Lord,
I am grateful for all I have.
And I'm so damn sad, too

Nov 20, 2020

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on #leadership.


 "Leaders begin with an envisioned future, but they also know that there is a long journey between here and there; we can only reach it one act at a time, one day at a time. There is no miraculous shortcut – and if there were, it would not help. The use of a shortcut would culminate in an achievement like Jonah’s gourd, which grew overnight, then died overnight. Abraham acquired only a single field and had just one son who would continue the covenant. Yet he did not complain, and he died serene and satisfied. Because he had begun. Because he had left future generations something on which to build. All great change is the work of more than one generation, and none of us will live to see the full fruit of our endeavours. Leaders see the destination, begin the journey, and leave behind them those who will continue it. That is enough to endow a life with immortality."

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

What an honor to share time and Torah with my friend and teacher, Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, on this #Transgender Day of Remembrance (#TDOR),


What an honor to share time and Torah with my friend and teacher, Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, on this #Transgender Day of Remembrance (#TDOR), in a conversation hosted by Congregation Beit Simchat Torah - CBST, a beautiful shul community with whom UJA-Federation of New York is always proud to partner. (Note: The program actually begins at 9:21)

Click here: https://fb.watch/1TJDEr1S9u/

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance (#TDOR), may we all be seen and honored for who we truly are. May this Shabbat find us ready to see each other, truly see each other, and love each other well. #ShabbatShalom

 

Nov 19, 2020

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the abuse of #language.


 "...to misuse or abuse language to sow suspicion and dissension is not just destructive. It is sacrilege. It takes something holy, the human ability to communicate and thus join soul to soul, and use it for the lowest of purposes, to divide soul from soul and destroy the trust on which non-coercive relationships depend."

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Every generation is asked: Who are you? What do we, in our moment, answer? #Toldot #Torah #WhoAreYou

 

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on #leadership & #responsibility.


Abraham was not a conventional leader. He did not rule a nation. There was as yet no nation for him to lead. But he was the role model of leadership as Judaism understands it. He took responsibility. He acted; he didn’t wait for others to act. Of Noah, the Torah says, “he walked with God.” But to Abraham, God says, “Walk before Me,” meaning:

Be a leader.
Walk ahead.
Take personal responsibility.
Take moral responsibility.
Take collective responsibility.


- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Nov 18, 2020

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on laughter and faith, grief and persistence.

 

“I find it moving that Isaac, who underwent so many trials, from the binding when he was young, to the rivalry between his sons when he was old and blind, carries a name that means, “He will laugh.” Perhaps the name – given to him by God before Isaac was born – means what the Psalm means when it says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with joy” (Ps. 126:5). Faith means the courage to persist through all the setbacks, all the grief, never giving up, never accepting defeat. For at the end, despite the opposition, the envy and the hate, lie the broad spaces and the laughter: the serenity of the destination after the storms along the way.”

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

To be vulnerable is to be brave, to be kind is to be strong.

 

Nov 16, 2020

So very humbled by this review of "When We Turned Within (Vol. 1)" by Jonathan Fass for the Jewish Book Council


So very humbled by this review of "When We Turned Within (Vol. 1)" by Jonathan Fass for the Jewish Book Council:

“When We Turned With­in chal­lenges read­ers to revis­it many of the com­plex, often painful moments of the past months. Its diverse voic­es con­nect us to a com­mon expe­ri­ence despite our iso­la­tion. It puts words to the feel­ings many of us have strug­gled with since March and reads as a state­ment of hope that our lives will be whole again soon.”

read more here: jewishbookcouncil.org/book/when-we-turned-within-reflections-on-covid-19

There's more than enough blessing, there's more than enough love. #Toldot #Torah #BokerTov

 

Nov 15, 2020

What a thrill to have served this last Shabbat as the Goodkind Scholar-in-Residence at Community Synagogue of Rye! [recordings]

What a thrill, to have served this last Shabbat as the Goodkind Scholar-in-Residence at Community Synagogue of Rye with Rabbi Daniel Gropper, Cantor Melanie Cooperman, Rabbinic intern Lily Goldstein. A truly inspired community, dedicated to justice and healing! So grateful to spend time with these special souls!

Here are the recordings of our learning sessions:

Nov 11, 2020

So moved by this rendition of #OlamChesedYibaneh by the River of Grass Unitarian Universalist Congregation​. Every clip, every image, every voice. Thank you, Amy Carol Webb​, for creating this spectacular arrangement! We will build this world from love. We will. We must. #BuildOnLove

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Humility

 


"Love is selfless. Forgiveness is selfless. When we place the self at the center of our universe, we eventually turn everyone and everything into a means to our ends. That diminishes them, which diminishes us. Humility means living by the light of that-which-is-greater-than-me. When God is at the center of our lives, we open ourselves up to the glory of creation and the beauty of other people. The smaller the self, the wider the radius of our world."

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z"l

#love #selfless #forgiveness #humility #leadership

The speech American needs now.

Doctor Who | The Doctor's Zygon War Speech Extract

Torah in honor of all our Veterans, who honor us through sacrifice and service, who answered duty's call. #VeteransDay #supportourveterans

 

A #VeteransDay prayer by Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, #Chaplain, U.S. Navy #Chaplain (Ret.) #SupportOurVeterans

 


Nov 10, 2020

Failure is the supreme learning experience, and the best people, the true heroes, are those most willing to fail. - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

 "Failure is the supreme learning experience, and the best people, the true heroes, are those most willing to fail. Whenever a young rabbi comes to seek advice after making a mistake, I tell him about professional photographers. They take dozens of exposures in the hope that one will be presentable. A success ratio of one in several dozen sounds like failure. But it is that willingness to endure failure in pursuit of an ideal that marks the true professional. In fact, that is not a bad definition of faith. One of the most empowering truths of Judaism and Christianity is that God forgives our failures so long as we acknowledge them as failures. He does not expect us to be perfect. As Ecclesiastes says: “No one on Earth is so righteous as to do only right and never to sin.” God lifts us when we fall, gives us hope when we despair, and believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. In truth, the great religious leaders did not believe in themselves at all. “I am not a man of words”, said Moses when asked to lead the Israelites. “I cannot speak, I am only a child,” said Jeremiah when told to preach God’s word. “The credit belongs,” said Theodore Roosevelt, to one “who strives valiantly” and errs often, “because there is no effort without error or shortcoming.” Even if such a person fails, he “fails while daring greatly, so his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”. Even more than the strength to win, we need the courage to try, the willingness to fail, the readiness to learn and the faith to persist."

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z"l #leadership

The West Wing: Vinick and Bartlet Chat Over Ice Cream [CLIP] | TNT

Something to work toward: thoughtful conversations by political leaders. Listen, I also believe in the coming of the Messiah. We Jews are good at reaching for the moon, or peace. Or both. #BuildOnLove

Choosing Love: Torah in Honor of my Father

I offer this Torah in honor of my precious Abbah, who models kindness and tender love and a fierce commitment to a better world. Today is his birthday, but he is the gift.

 

Nov 8, 2020

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z"l

"Empathy, sympathy, knowledge and rationality are usually enough to let us live at peace with others. But not in hard times. Serbs, Croats and Muslims lived peaceably together in Bosnia for years. So did Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda. The problem arises at times of change and disruption when people are anxious and afraid. That is why exceptional defences are necessary, which is why the Torah speaks of memory and history – things that go to the very heart of our identity. We have to remember that we were once on the other side of the equation. We were once strangers: the oppressed, the victims. Remembering the Jewish past forces us to undergo role reversal. In the midst of freedom we have to remind ourselves of what it feels like to be a slave."

- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z"l

Nov 7, 2020

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z"l

"Life is not robbed of meaning because one day it will end. For in truth – even in this world, before we turn our thoughts to eternal life in the World to Come – we become part of eternity when we write our chapter in the book of the story of our people and hand it on to those who will come after us. The task – building a society of justice and compassion, an oasis in a desert of violence and corruption – is greater than any one lifetime. ...This is still a violent, aggressive world. Peace still eludes us, as does much else. We have not yet reached the destination, though we see it in the distance, as did Moses. The Torah ends without an ending to tell us that we too are part of the story; we too are still on the journey. And as we reach the Torah’s closing lines we know, as did Robert Frost in his famous poem, that 'I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.'"
- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z"l

Nov 2, 2020

**Special Announcement** New Book: "Will We Be Worthy: Reflections of an American Rabbi" by Rabbi Gary Creditor

 **Special Announcement**

"Will We Be Worthy: Reflections of an American Rabbi"
by Rabbi Gary Creditor

foreword by Ruby Eisenberg-Creditor
edited by Rabbi Menachem Creditor
cover artwork: Ariel Creditor

What a privilege it is to be my father's son. In honor of my precious Abbah's birthday (on Nov 10), and prayerfully toward tomorrow, I'm thrilled to announce the publication of "Will We Be Worthy?," a curated selection of my father’s writings, focused on a Jewish vision for America. Collectively, they point toward a spiritually grounded, ever-aspirational national trajectory for the United States.

Be it Emma Lazarus & Immigration, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), 9/11, Gun Violence, Trayvon Martin, Cross Burning, or Equal Marriage, my father's voice reminds us all that Jewish creativity is never complete, as it serves as a bulwark against the threat of an increasingly complex and vulnerable world, a model of intentional evolution and interconnectedness of all being. In short: ‘it is what it is’ is not good enough. Jewish history teaches us that we can and therefore must make things better for all people.

When my father writes of his own glimpses into his ancestor’s eyes, when he reflects upon the experience of losing a friend, when he marshals Jewish energy to fight for a living wage, when he comments on a sports icon or the fate of our planet, he is channeling the calling that called his soul to action. Through his model we are being offered nothing less than the chance to be part of the great work of being partners with the Divine.

This is my father; this is my teacher.

_________________________
https://www.amazon.com/Will-We-Be-Worthy.../dp/B08M8FNV1H/