Feb 17, 2020

To My Daughter at the Gates of Auschwitz

To my Daughter at the Gates of Auschwitz
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Impossible. It just isn't.
I don't see it. She's not there.
There doesn't exist. It can't exist.

I can't. I can't see it.
I can't see her there.
So there mustn't be there at all.
I must be having a nightmare. 

But it is there. And she's there.
It is a real, cruel thing. It is.

(And, my deepest consciousness screams,
"Are you really surprised it is real?
Have you been paying attention to today?
How are you shocked at all?) 

I once stepped through those wretched gates, 
brick nightmares promising freedom to the damned.
My family.

I even returned with a Jewish singing group.
I'm even heading back next year
with a diverse group of leaders
determined to learn from each other's pain.

But I can't endure her there,
even now.

She shouldn't be there.
There shouldn't be there.
Barbed-wire blasphemy
doesn't belong anywhere in God's earth.
Not there, not here,
No where. No when.

(No, deepest consciousness, I'm not truly shocked. I know it's there and then and here and now and I'm just a father who wishes his children didn't have to face our own devastation and its horrors and I miss my glorious daughter and she's wearing our People's blue and white like a prayer-shawl and she saw the confiscated shawls of our murdered ancestors in glass cases beyond those gates and she is alive and we will never forget and of course I know all of this but our forged-by-fire Hope is based on cultivating the capacity to be surprised by evil, to be shocked by violence, to never accept such brutality as the way it is, to dream of the world as it ought to be, to see life through God's Eyes not only my own.)

We have to face our past and rage against it.
I know. I just hate it so much.
I wish the world were already closer
to the way it is supposed to be.
I wish this world deserved our children. 

I open my eyes.
(Hadn't realized they were squeezed shut.)

I see her. 
I see my hero.
I see the future.

Jan 28, 2020

**Big Announcement!** "Loud, Proud, and Jewish" is published!

**Big Announcement!**
"Loud, Proud, and Jewish" is published!

With essays from a diverse group of Jewish leaders, "Loud, Proud, and Jewish" explores an unapologetic Jewish Pride that stands within and for - not against - the world, even in this moment of Jewish vulnerability and growing antisemitism. Read and be inspired! 


9              Introduction
                Rabbi Menachem Creditor

13            Foreword: This is Our Moment
                Melanie Roth Gorelick

17            Raise up the Joy
                Rabbi Annie Tucker

26            My Mom Used to Say
                Ruth Zakarin

32            How We View Ourselves
                Rabbi Amitai Fraiman

37            Proudly Jewish and American
                Rabbi Rachel Ain

42            Seriously, Honestly, and Joyously
                Rabbi Jason Fruithandler

47            To Be Seen
                Rabbi Debra Newman Kamin

53            Jewish Advocacy: Privilege and Permission
                Rabbi Jack Moline

61            When Amtisemitism Becomes Us – and What We Must Do About It
                Rabbi David Evan Markus

81            Neither Silenced Nor Afraid
                Jonathan Fass

87            Privilege and Vulnerability after the Pittsburgh Shooting
                Sarah Rudolph

94            Shema
               Julia Knobloch

95            Olam Chesed Yibaneh: Building this World from Love
                Rabbi Claudia Kreiman

Jan 14, 2020

A Jewish Reflection on the Census

A Jewish Reflection on the Census

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

In Jewish terms, the act of counting residents is unambiguous: everyone matters.[1] Regarding the individual – citizen and resident alien alike – the Torah frames the governing power’s responsibility to count equally every person in its jurisdiction by invoking its opposite: Egyptian slavery.[2] Just as Jewish tradition outlines the responsibility of those in power to provide adequate food, rest, and justice[3], it also obligates residents who are not (yet) citizens to abide by the nation’s covenantal laws.[4] While the very category of ger (resident alien) indicates a legal distinction between citizens and non-citizens, there is no difference in the assertion of communal responsibility for both.[5] The poor, the widow and the orphan of society are to be represented with dignity. Judaism affirms that by counting everyone, we both distribute justice ethically in our midst and we structurally remind ourselves that everyone counts.

[1] Ex. 22:20, 23:9; Lev. 19:33; Deut. 1:16, 10:18-19, 24:17, 19
[2] Lev. 19:34
[3] see Exod. 20:10, 23:12; Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 5:14, 24:19-22, for some examples.
[4] Lev 24:16-22; Deut. 29:10
[5] See Jeremiah 7:6; 22:3; Ezekiel 22:7, 29; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5 for some prophetic responses to injustice perpetrated against resident aliens.

Jan 13, 2020

This Friday Night (7:30pm) at Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester​!

Looking forward to teaching this Friday Night (7:30pm) with Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester​ during services, where I'll be delivering the Isaac Memorial Lecture during Social Justice Shabbat!