Sep 18, 2020
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 17, 2020
Sep 16, 2020
Hearing the call, knowing we're there for each other... the Shofar is a sound-experience that can transcend any physical limitations, and bring us together, even and especially this year. Let's roar into Rosh HaShannah and birth a beautiful year for the whole world.... #ShannahTovah #BuildOnLove
Sep 15, 2020
Wisdom in the Time of Corona
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.
Sep 14, 2020
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Sep 11, 2020
Erev Shabbat... 9/11.... On this day, I stand tearfully, fiercely, remembering those we lost, and honoring heroes like my holy sister, Rabbi Yonina Creditor, who is a US Navy Chaplain today but was a New York City EMT on 9/11. Today I remember. I weep. And I dug down deep to find the strength to sing the song I wrote for my precious daughter, Ariel, for her Simchat Bat in the months following the attacks. We MUST build a world from Love. For our children. For the world. We must. #BuildOnLove
Sep 10, 2020
Sep 9, 2020
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Aug 31, 2020
A Blessing for all our Children
Aug 28, 2020
Aug 26, 2020
Aug 25, 2020
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]
Aug 24, 2020
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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:
- "My Black Skin" by Dena Robinson in Lilith
- Translating Black Lives Matter into Yiddish byAnthony Russell
- Source sheet created by Rabbi Shawn Zevit: https://mishkan.org/.../6-23_final_ks06.20_for_website.pdf
- "Shalhevet Institute Explores Black and Orthodox Jewish Identities" By Evan Henerson in Jewish Journal
- Speak Torah to Power: "Resilience Through the Practice of Lament" by Dr. Koach Frazier
- BEFORE WE SCOLD DESEAN JACKSON AND OTHERS FOR ANTI-SEMITISM WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ‘CHOSENNESS’ - https://religiondispatches.org/before-we-scold-desean-jackson-and-others-for-anti-semitism-we-need-to-talk-about-chosenness/
Jul 31, 2020
Jul 30, 2020
Jul 29, 2020
Jul 28, 2020
- VIDEO The Segregation Myth: Richard Rothstein Debunks an American Lie | (NowThis) - youtube.com/watch?v=2roWLzrqOjQ
- VIDEO Richard Rothstein on Legal Segregation in America (Economic Policy Institute) - youtube.com/watch?v=8IevTFx_WMQ
- INTERVIEW 'The Color Of Law' Details How U.S. Housing Policies Created Segregation - an interview with Richard Rothstein (NPR)
- ARTICLE: "Un-forgetting the segregationist history of Palo Alto (and Daly City, and San Francisco, and…)" (June 25, 2020 via TheSixFifty)
- Housing segregation left Black Americans more vulnerable to Covid-19 (July 10, 2020 from Vox.com)
- Your ZIP Code and Your Life Expectancy (from nytimes.com on May 20, 2020)
Jul 27, 2020
Jul 26, 2020
- 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.
- John Lewis' March on Washington Speech Inspired a Generation. Here's How He Recalled Its Impact. (from TIME.com)
- Two Versions of John Lewis’ Speech (from billmoyers.com)
- John Lewis' NYTimes obituary (from nytimes.com)
Jul 24, 2020
Awash in memories of Ramah Day Camp In Nyack where I was blessed to spend 13 sacred, formative summers, where I fully experienced Tisha Be'Av for the first time, where I sat with my beloved teacher Rabbi Stanley Bramnick z"l, where, through the gift of the music I learned from him I once again am sitting with him, crying about the broken-ness of the world and dreaming of its rebirth. Shabbat Shalom, friends. May our tears be limited. May our singing never end. #ShabbatChazon #ShabbatShalom
Jul 23, 2020
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Jul 13, 2020
Announcing the publication of: A Journey of the Heart and Soul -- poetry & illustrations by Ariel Creditor
A Journey of the Heart and Soul
poetry & illustrations by Ariel Creditor
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!
Jul 10, 2020
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Jul 1, 2020
So appreciate Ittay Flescher's mini-review of "When We Turned Within." Since its publication, we've already raised over $1,000 to support UJA-Federation of New York's #COVID relief work! Buy your copy today!
Jun 30, 2020
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Jun 11, 2020
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
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
Jun 8, 2020
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May 28, 2020
May 27, 2020
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May 25, 2020
As you speak of prayer this Memorial Day, I want to share my pre-recoreded prayer for today's first virtual Memorial Day ceremony at Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1pm EST. https://t.co/C5Vabuc0Ye pic.twitter.com/DXNJYzi6Ku— Arnold Resnicoff (@ArnoldResnicoff) May 25, 2020
May 22, 2020
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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.
May 7, 2020
May 5, 2020
What a joy to share a blessing and some Torah this Tuesday morning, and to remember our teacher Rabbi Aaron Panken z"l, and his passion for truth and Torah!!
May 1, 2020
Apr 30, 2020
Apr 29, 2020
Apr 28, 2020
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.
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 27, 2020
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Apr 5, 2020
A Nighttime Prayer for Our Healers
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
You Bring Day and the light.
You Bring Night and the dark.
And You Divide them,
keeping each in place.
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.
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.
Rabbi David Wolpe in WashingtonPost.com: "Divorce is a death" Rabbi David Wolpe http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/...
A new Bigger on the Inside post: #Hook - "There You Are" "There you are, Peter!" Over time, our eyes can become dim. ...
I wrote this song for my daughter, born right after 9/11. This world will be built by love: ours and God's. In the best and worst of m...