Sep 18, 2020

One final blessing before Rosh HaShannah!

 

Three Prayers for This Strangest of New Years

 Three Prayers for This Strangest of New Years

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

NYJewish Week | September 16, 2020
jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/three-prayers-for-this-strangest-of-new-years

This strangest of years, in which expectations of any kind couldn’t possibly have predicted our reality, we find ourselves – at least I do – craving the sound of the shofar and the sway of fellow daveners. Has there ever been such a year?

Leaders of Jewish communities of every kind are working overtime to meet these every-year needs in a blend of tradition and innovation that would fill our ancestors’ hearts to overflowing. Look at the Jewish passion and spiritual creativity flooding the internet – has there ever been such a year?

Praise: To all those whose intense leadership became even more intense with the launch of the High Holidays at last week’s Selichot services. To you all — rabbis, cantors, educators, executive directors, youth professionals, volunteer leaders, fundraisers — you are giving everything you’ve got to lift the whole world up, screen by screen, community by community. We see you, we honor you, we bless you. Amen.

Request: May we learn/remember how to open up our hearts and minds and souls. May we reclaim the headlines with the shocking good we’ll do. May our children inherit some good decisions we’ll make to offset our countless mistakes. May we take really good care of each other and heal this fragile world. Amen.

Gratitude: For the blessing of one more year, one more day, one more breath, may we be ever thankful. And may we channel all the emotions coursing through our bodies to make this a year worth praying for. Amen.

Sep 15, 2020

from UJA-Federation NY: Wisdom in the Time of Corona - Reflections for 5781

Wisdom in the Time of Corona
Reflections for 5781

As we prepare to celebrate the High Holidays, UJA-Federation of New York is delighted to share an anthology of teachings given at our virtual UJA Community Pre-Shabbat Gatherings. We're grateful to all of the wonderful leaders who participated in this series from March to July, which brought teachers and listeners of all denominations and backgrounds to learn together.

Here you’ll find a sampling of the beautiful Torah and lessons shared over these past few months, covering an array of ideas. We hope you find meaning in the essays that follow, and that they continue to inspire hope, growth, and reflection during this time.
We’ve gained lessons in the preciousness of unity, the vitality of keeping an open imagination so that we can come together as a community again. May we be blessed as we take these steps to learn well from each other, and maybe to record what we are learning so that we can move forward, having internalized these lessons, and pass them on to generations to come.

An exploration of humility and submission as necessary components for reawakening our collective potential to heal our world - from the special Aleinu in the Rosh Hashannah prayers.

 

Sep 14, 2020

Remembering well and fully is the best way to make good decisions for a healthy, holy future. May we do no harm, and may we do much good in the year to come, starting today! #BuildonLove

 

A Prayer for the New Year

A Prayer for the New Year
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Dear God,
May we learn/remember how
to open up our hearts and minds and souls.
May we reclaim the headlines
with the shocking good we'll do.
May our children inherit some good decisions
we'll make to offset our countless mistakes.
May we take really good care
of each other and heal this fragile world.
Amen.

Aug 31, 2020

A Blessing for all our Children

A Blessing for all our Children

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Dear, Precious Ones, Our Children,

May you be blessed in your goings and comings, in your ongoing journeys through an uncertain world.
May God protect you from evil and from carelessness.

May your hearts grow in awareness and sensitivity.
May your minds deepen in appreciation and curiosity.

May you learn life's lessons and be strengthened.
May whatever successes you achieve find you humble and ready to share, graciously and generously.
May whatever challenges you face find you brave and ready to ask for help.

May you be blessed with good neighbors, good teachers, and good friends.
May this world invite your hearts' gifts and the gift of your hearts.
May your soul be resilient and heal fully and quickly whenever it needs to.

May we, your teachers and families, be blessed to witness your amazing paths forward, inward, and upward.
May you never doubt the overflowing love and gratitude we feel for you.
May the Source of Life pour through you and surround you as you choose your next steps.
May you know and share kindness, deep and true.

Thank you for being ours, and for being your own, glorious selves.
We love you more than we can say.

Finding the joy in each day, being grounded too - the Torah calls us to live full lives, nothing less. May our joy be great!

 

Aug 25, 2020

Thoughts on Psalm 23: "Who Walks in the Valley of the Shadow of Death?"

Who Walks in the Valley
of the Shadow of Death?
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
published on myjewishlearning.com

Among the best-known of any biblical chapter, the six verses of Psalm 23 are commonly recited at funerals and chanted as a meditation. Its mystical words echo in our ears:

"Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for You are with me..."

But what do they mean?

The classic King James translation of 1611, quoted above, capitalizes the “Y” in You, meaning that the one doing the walking is human and God is the companion. Robert Alter’s magisterial 2007 translation agrees. Human beings do not walk alone through life’s travails — through the “vale of death’s shadow” as Alter renders it — because God is always present.

Yet other interpreters suggest that the verse might not be pointing to the Divine Presence at all. Consider this teaching from the Talmud.... [click here to continue reading]




How can we build a society worthy of our children? A reflection on rebellions and justice from this week's Torah Portion.

Aug 3, 2020

I posted "I'm building a Racial Justice curriculum & looking for the best articles/reflections/resources by and about Jews of Color? Recommendations?" Here's some of what people suggested:

Websites/Orgs:
Books:
  • Color of Love by Marra Gad
  • Thoughts From A Unicorn: 100% Black. 100% Jewish. 0% Safe. by MaNishtana
Resources/Texts/Essays/Articles:
Videos:
Related Resources:
My other Racial Justice Resource Page: http://rabbicreditor.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_13.html

Good morning! A launch of a new week of learning, of sharing, of growing. May we transmit the lessons we've learned to the next generation! #LedorVador #fromGenerationtoGeneration


Jul 28, 2020

Jul 26, 2020

John Lewis Page


  • John Lewis' graphic novel "March", sharing a vivid first-hand of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation.

Jul 13, 2020

Proud to partner with the U.S. Census Bureau and encourage us all to stand and be counted! #Census2020

​Announcing the publication of: A Journey of the Heart and Soul -- poetry & illustrations by Ariel Creditor


Announcing the publication of: 

A Journey of the Heart and Soul

poetry & illustrations by Ariel Creditor

available at amazon.com/Journey-Heart-Soul-Reflections-veNefesh/dp/B08CMGM6Y7/


Ariel Creditor has published - AND ILLUSTRATED! - her first book, a reflective poetry book of the experience she shared on her senior trip to Poland and Israel with The Leffell School! She writes with clear, open, raw eyes of traveling as a Jewish teenager through Nazi camps in Poland and then landing in Israel, with hand-drawn art depicting what prompted each poem. All proceeds from the sale of the book support the Student Scholarship Fund at The Leffell School! Purchase your copy here!


Boker Tov all! Good Morning! Happy to share a little Torah to start the day off right!

Jun 26, 2020

Buy a T-Shirt and Build this World from Love!

Friends, I composed "Olam Chesed Yibaneh" 18 years ago with the hopes that our children would be part of a world reborn, a world built on love and respect and kindness. Let's wear that love on our sleeve and rededicate ourselves to that sacred vision, more necessary than ever! All proceeds from the sale of these T-Shirts will support the work of Keshet and UJA-Federation of New York's #PRIDE campaigns!

Reflecting on God as the Source of Breath. Have a beautiful Shabbat, everyone!

Jun 11, 2020

Thrilled to share Neshama​'s and my concert event with CJP - Combined Jewish Philanthropies​ Boston & The Ruderman Family Foundation!

Announcing the publication of When We Turned Within: Reflections on COVID-19


Announcing the publication of 
When We Turned Within: Reflections on COVID-19

Edited by Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Sarah Tuttle-Singer
Foreword: Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Cover art: Rabbi Karen Byer Silberman

with Essays, Prayers, and Poems by 165 contributors from around the world

paperback: amazon.com/dp/B089TS37YP
Kindle version here: amazon.com/dp/B089WGB8ZZ

For the full table of contents, click here: tinyurl.com/WhenWeTurnedWithinTOC

Special landing page designed by Reverend Ngozi T. Robinson: www.whenweturnedwithin.com

During the past months, our world has truly turned upside-down. We’ve lost so very much. What was casual just yesterday has become priceless today: smiles are covered beneath masks, generations divided by invisible boundaries, and physical togetherness deemed a danger.

And yet. Harmonies have been sung from balcony and bedrooms spanning the globe. Applause regularly erupts for cashiers and sanitation workers and nurses and those everyday heroes who keep the world balanced.

And yet. Synagogue buildings are empty and the comfort of a minyan has become digital. Funerals are hug-less, as are intergenerational family moments. And the number of souls we’ve buried… There simply aren’t words.

And yet. The skies are clearer and birdsong has returned. More people have convened for many a Zoom meal or online class than ever could have in person. We have come to know our neighbors just a bit more.

And yet. Amidst all this, protests erupted in reaction to the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, unarmed black people whose deaths have sparked an international response, shining light on the systemic racism and injustice that have cast a long, harsh shadow on the United States since its earliest days. The pandemic exacerbated already-present inequalities, and the murders in 2020 America of three human beings for the colors of their skin gave this injustice a face.

And yet. The responses to racism and isolation are growing in volume, and the voices of common citizens of all colors and orientations and faiths are calling out for justice, for an honest reckoning with the way things have been, for the end of all that keeps us apart, for a world in which no virus nor societal illness can deny a person their breath.

Friends, this book is much more than a record of loss. It is a collection of reflections, prayers, and poems of many, many individual souls who collectively tell the story of right now with depth and heart and startling brilliance. On these pages you will find honest testimony of a very difficult time on our planet.

It has been truly humbling work to assemble these voices and see patterns emerge, to feel the pain and longing and hope and faith and frustration and loneliness and transcendence of each contribution. I am more convinced than ever that all people share a common humanity, that our souls bind us together, that a better day is possible.

The arc of history will only bend toward justice under enough pressure, and the glorious weight of us all will be enough.

A few acknowledgements:

To the 165 serious, reflective, luminous, and lyrical authors who shared their hearts on these pages, thank you. You represent a true diversity of voices from within the Jewish community, grounded in reality and intentionally vulnerable, and allowed us to include you here to amplify each other’s vision of good in the world. Thank you.

To my co-editor, Sarah, whose brilliant and intuitive writing style has made her a widely-read and accessible touchstone for our time, thank you for joining me in this project. Your careful eye and sensitive soul are the reason so many authors lent their words to this undertaking. Working with you has been nothing short of sacred sharing. Thank you.

To my colleagues and friends at UJA-Federation of New York, where I am privileged to serve as the Pearl and Ira Meyer Scholar in Residence, my deepest gratitude. For allocating more than $46 million to date to meet needs across the New York region and Israel for the most vulnerable people, for embodying the heart and soul of our community, thank you. Proceeds from the sale of this book will support UJA-Federation NY’s work to make this world a better, safer, more just place.

To my precious family, (especially you, Neshama,) for inspiring me to build this world from Love, for being my holiest, safest, funnest place in the universe, thank you.

And finally, to the Source of Life, for being the invisible string that connects us all, thank You.

May the days ahead be better – for all people – than those we’ve left behind.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Sivan 5780
June 2020

Honored to share a blessing and some Torah this Thursday morning!

Jun 1, 2020

This morning's learning is dedicated to the memory of George Floyd z"l.

This morning's learning is dedicated to the memory of George Floyd z"l. Every breath I take renews my commitment to stand with those whose breath is taken away, to stand with those leaders who commit to correcting their ways, to those who march for justice. I will not be distracted by those few who seek to infect civil protest with destruction. I am proud to be part of UJA-Federation of New York's response to this moment, calling for #JusticeForGeorge and recommitting to our ongoing work for racial justice.   What can you do today to lift up the memory of George Floyd and Eric Garner and Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and  Breonna Taylor and Tamir Rice and countless other Black women and men who should still be alive today?  We have much work ahead. Seeking justice is an ancient mandate and a current, urgent call. We are each other's sisters and brothers. 

May 27, 2020

A Prayer for Today: "In the midst of it all"

A Prayer for Today: 
"In the midst of it all"
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Hebrew translation by Shemaya Shiloh-Phillips 

in the midst of it all
despite it all
because of it all
because there is an all
Thank You, Holy One.

בקרב כולם
למרות הכל
בגלל הכל
שיש הכל
תודה לך, קדוש
(ריבונו של הכל)

#intention #gratitude #prayer

Poured it all out today.

Poured it all out today. Taught from Abraham Joshua Heschel's "Religion and Race" in response to the murder of George Floyd. We have to earn our right at the base of God's Holy Mountain. As Heschel taught in 1963, "That equality is a good thing, a fine goal, may be generally accepted. What is lacking is a sense of the monstrosity of inequality." We have much work ahead friends, to recognize God's Image is the universal human condition, and that an act of violence is an act of blasphemy.

May 17, 2020

Olam Chesed Yibaneh, covered by Cantor Lisa Peicott​ of Wilshire Boulevard Temple​

What a day... every once in a while, I search YouTube for "Olam Chesed Yibaneh", sort by upload date, and am overwhelmed. This take on my soul's song by Cantor Lisa Peicott​ of Wilshire Boulevard Temple​, interspersed with images of light, color, and heroism is just right for these days of pause. Let's keep going, friends - keep building, keep loving, keep singing!
#OlamChesedYibaneh #BuildOnLove

May 8, 2020

Everywhere


Everywhere
Menachem Creditor

Those faces
on the screen are real:
real people,
real faces.

God's Eyes, everywhere.
God's Heart, everywhere.

#PoemsofPresence

A Poem "For When the World is Masked"

For When the World is Masked
Menachem Creditor

Deep, powerful feelings can be reawakened.
Even when the world is masked.

It can be a song.
Or the wind.
Or pairs of eyes on a screen, all facing out.

And, if tears then flow,
welcome them with a re-opened heart.

#PoemsofPresence

An honor to share blessing and Torah this Friday morning! #WhiteShirt #MustBeFriday #ShabbatShalom

An honor to share blessing and Torah this Friday morning! 
#WhiteShirt #MustBeFriday #ShabbatShalom

May 7, 2020

Boker Tov! Good Morning! What a blessing to share some song and Torah this Thursday morning!

Boker Tov! Good Morning! What a blessing to share some song and Torah this Thursday morning! I can't express how good it feels to connect with so many beautiful people every weekday at 9am on the UJA-Federation Facebook page (facebook.com/ujafedny)!


Apr 28, 2020

A Prayer for Tomorrow to Come just a Bit Quicker

A Prayer for Tomorrow to Come just a Bit Quicker 
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Dearest Source of All,
Through these tears we call to You.
Please, Oh Please, set us free.

No, we do not mean
aimless chaos, unaware selfishness,
people marching blindly,
trampling over one another.

God, we ask for Your Grace,
a flowing current of selflessness
surging between neighbors and strangers,
a reminder that we are Your Image,
each and all.

Please God, purpose.
Please God, health.
Please God, mutual care.
Please God, soon.

Amen.

Honored to share blessing and Torah this Tuesday morning, marking #YomHaZikaron and the one-year Anniversary of the #Poway attack. We stand in memory and unspeakable gratitude for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace, in the name of life. In their names, may we be blessed with no more fallen daughters and sons. 🇮🇱🌹

Honored to share blessing and Torah this Tuesday morning, marking #YomHaZikaron and the one-year Anniversary of the #Poway attack. We stand in memory and unspeakable gratitude for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace, in the name of life. In their names, may we be blessed with no more fallen daughters and sons. 🇮🇱🌹

Apr 17, 2020

A Prayer While Standing on an American Food Line

A Prayer While Standing on an American Food Line
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Source of Sustenance,
help us remember
this line is not like other lines.

Yes, the shock of lining up for food
today, here, now,
is real. And...

there is food
at the end of this line,
enough food for all.

HaZan et haKol, Nourisher of All,
may the fear we feel,
the anxiety reality provokes,
have its moment. And... 

May we be patient with those ahead
and behind us in line.

May we treat with respect
those who tend to us
who pick and package
and restock and bag the food
we need. And... 

May we be grateful
we'll have enough.

May we do what we can
to ensure others will also have enough.

May we remember
this is only a line.

Amen.

Grateful to offer some blessing and Torah this Friday morning! Shabbat Shalom!

Apr 5, 2020

A Nighttime Prayer for Our Healers


A Nighttime Prayer for Our Healers
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

God,
You Bring Day and the light.
You Bring Night and the dark.
And You Divide them,
keeping each in place.

Dear One,
We ask Your protection
upon those who guard us day and night,
placing themselves between life and death,
fighting to keep each in their places.

Holy One,
Your Image is best reflected
in those who wrestle the chaos,
in those whose care defies limitation,
and whose mighty hearts
need a respite that will not come any time soon.

Loving Soul of the Universe,
please, please, please
Heal our healers.
Sustain our sustainers.
Bless those whose work
these days and nights
holds up Your whole universe.

May we, Your children,
wake to a world reborn just a bit,
spirits renewed just a bit,
healers strengthened, just a bit.
Maybe more.

Please.
Amen.








your face this morning: a poem/prayer

your face this morning: a poem/prayer
rabbi menachem creditor
for Isaiah and everyone else

i've never seen so clearly
how truly precious is every other
i mean i've known and i've taught
but now, with a shining sweet friend
on my screen, singing out
to me to you to the One
sitting still
feeling still
breath steadied
letting the light of a new day in
these tears purify my eyes
to see better
to feel to hope again
i feel the fire in me
lit by the warmth of contact
birthed by the light
of your sweet face
dear one
your soul my friend
is luminous
and you share it
with purity

One final blessing before Rosh HaShannah!