Apr 29, 2015

Differing Abilities: Supporting Lifelong Learning at @CNSBerkeley Thursday, May 14 7-9 pm

Join us for a parent workshop presented by
Congregation Netivot Shalom's own
Debby Graudenz

Differing Abilities: Supporting Lifelong Learning
at Congregation Netivot Shalom
Thursday, May 14
7-9 pm

We all learn in different ways. Understanding who our children are,
how they learn, and what we as parents can do to support them can help them become avid, successful, lifelong learners. 

This workshop is free to all and free childcare is available with prior reservation.

Please RSVP to Lauren at preschool@netivotshalom.org for attendance and childcare requests.

Sponsored by The Jewish Federation of the East Bay, JF Library,
Congregation Netivot Shalom Preschool and JCC East Bay. 

Apr 23, 2015

Call Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Paul Ryan at 202-224-3121 to tell them to support background checks not the corporate gun lobby!


Call Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Paul Ryan at 202-224-3121 to tell them to support background checks not the corporate gun lobby!

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is headquartered less than three miles from the Sandy Hook Elementary School.  
According to NSSF news release, "Executives from the nation's firearms and ammunition manufacturers, distributors and leading retailers are in Washington, D.C. this week for the eighth annual congressional "fly-in" sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry.

The executives are meeting with Members of both houses of Congress on such matters as the $42.9 billion national economic impact of the firearms industry, the need to pass the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015, and the important role of the Senate and House in pushing back against an administration that is using executive overreach to pursue a gun control agenda it could not achieve legislatively.
"Each year we look forward to meeting directly with our elected representatives to help ensure that the significant economic contribution of our industry is understood and that we will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to help ensure that our member companies can continue to engage in lawful commerce, grow their businesses and provide good-paying American jobs," said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. "The firearms and ammunition industry has been central to America's heritage of self-reliance, enjoyment of outdoor traditions and in key respects our very freedoms."  
Wayne Weber, president of Heckler & Koch USA, explained the purpose of the annual NSSF Congressional Fly-In, "It is important to be here so that our voice is heard because we represent a large contingent of Second Amendment supporters from a manufacturing and retailer standpoint, as well as all the individual citizens out there."

This video also highlights the purpose of the NSSF Congressional Fly-in. http://video.ammoland.com/video/National-Shooting-Sports-Founda#.VTjp6pvGdNg.twitter

According to opensecrets.com, the NSSF spent $3,070,000 to lobby for gun rights last year.

Meanwhile this Mother Jones video explains the $229 Billion economic toll of gun violence.

The $229 Billion economic toll of gun violence is far greater than the $42.9 billion national economic impact of the firearms industry and yet Congress fails to take meaningful action to prevent gun violence.

We must #OutShoutTheCorporateGunLobby who profit from gun violence in our nation. Please #HonorWithAction today to #EndGunViolence.  Please take a few minutes to make a phone call.


Thank you for your continued support.

-Newtown Action Alliance
Please sign this PETITION if you have not done so already:
Say No to NRA's Federally Mandated Concealed Carry Laws

Sponsored by: Newtown Action AllianceFaiths United to Prevent Gun ViolenceConnecticut Against Gun ViolenceNew Yorkers Against Gun ViolenceRhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence 


Please sign this petition then contact your representative at 202-224-3121 to block the NRA from forcing every state to allow just about anyone to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public.

Dear Congress, 
Please oppose the NRA’s “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity” legislative proposals (S. 498, H.R. 923, H.R. 986 and H.R. 402) that would allow individuals like George Zimmerman to carry loaded guns in Connecticut and in states with sensible permitting requirements.  
[Your name]

Do Not Force States To Conform To The Weak Laws Of Other States

Over 70,000 Americans and GOP presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee are attending the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits in Nashville this week.

The NRA continues to push its guns everywhere and anywhere agenda and its supporters are engaged and politically active. They are contacting their representatives in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House in support of the NRA’s “National Right-to-Carry” bills and more and more members of the 114th Congress are cosponsoring these egregious and dangerous bills to allow individuals with concealed carry permits from states with weak permitting requirements to conceal carry in all 50 states.
S. 498 – Introduced by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), this legislation would allow individuals who possess concealed carry permits from their home state, or who are not prohibited from carrying concealed in their home state, to exercise those rights in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.  This bill currently has 23 cosponsors.  
H.R. 923 – Introduced by U.S. Representative Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), this legislation is the House companion bill to S. 498.  The legislation would allow individuals who possess concealed carry permits from their home state, or who are not prohibited from carrying concealed in their home state, to exercise those rights in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.  This bill currently has 17 cosponsors.  
H.R. 986 – Introduced by U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), this bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.  This bill would also provide legal protection for law-abiding concealed carry permit holders against states that violate the intent of this bill.  This bill currently has 114 cosponsors.  
H.R. 402 – Introduced by U.S. Representative Rich Nugent (R-Fla.), this bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.  The bill currently has 81 cosponsors.  
The Newtown Action Alliance, Faiths United Against Gun Violence, Connecticut Against Gun Violence, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence strongly oppose S. 498, H.R. 923, H.R. 986 and H.R. 402 bills as these federally mandated concealed carry laws would weaken the ability of the states to ensure that dangerous people are prevented from carrying guns to keep its citizens safe. States do not have standardized permitting process to issue the concealed carry permits. Individuals in Connecticut who wish to obtain a concealed carry permit must submit “an affidavit signed by an instructor certified by the State, the National Rifle Association, or the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection stating that the applicant successfully completed a safety or training course in the use of pistols or revolvers” and those with a felony or misdemeanor convictions, misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, mental illness, or a restraining or protective order are not eligible.

According to Center for American Progress report
  • At least 10 states will issue a permit without first requiring some form of firearms safety training.
  • At least 10 states will issue permits to people convicted of violent misdemeanor crimes.
  • At least 19 states will allow people with a demonstrated history of drug or alcohol abuse to carry guns.
Weak laws and permitting systems in a number of states have allowed dangerous people to carry concealed guns, often with tragic results:
  • 722–according to media reports, the number people since 2007 who have been shot and killed by someone legally permitted to carry a concealed gun.
  • 1,400–the number of felons who were issued concealed-carry permits by Florida in 2007.
  • 2,400–the number of concealed-carry permits issued from 2007–2011 by North Carolina to people convicted of misdemeanor crimes or felonies
George Zimmerman has an extensive history of violence and run-ins with police—both before and after he fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012—that includes assaulting a police officer, four incidents involving domestic violence, and a road rage incident that involved threatening the other driver.  Yet, despite this history, Zimmerman is still eligible to carry concealed, loaded guns under Florida’s weak concealed-carry permitting laws. If Congress mandates national concealed carry, every state will be required to allow individuals like Zimmerman to carry guns within their borders.
Concealed carry permits are not like Driver’s licenses. Driver’s licenses allow local law enforcement to easily contact other states to verify out-of-state licenses whereas out-of-state concealed carry permits would be nearly impossible to verify since those records are typically not available to local law enforcement.
WE MUST #OutShoutTheNRA!
Each one of us from every state must stand together with one strong voice to oppose these egregious and dangerous legislative proposals that would allow dangerous people like George Zimmerman to carry loaded guns in Connecticut or in any state with a sensible permitting process.

Apr 21, 2015

Rabbi Tzvi Graetz: Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism

Every year at this time of the month of Iyar, I remember Adi, Nadav, Michael, Johnny, and many others. These are the names of people I knew who fell in defense of our country. They are known as  'Halal' חלל, which is a Hebrew word loaded with meaning. Although this term is already used in biblical Hebrew, in today's Hebrew usage, it  describes the soldiers who have died in the wars, the fatal casualties, the fallen soldiers.

Halal also means space. For example, a 'halal' of a room means the open space of a room, in other words, the part that is not occupied by tangible objects. Thus, 'Halal' is  a way of describing emptiness, a void or a hollow, which is how we feel on this day of Yom Hazikaron - Remembrance Day - when we think of those soldiers who are no longer with us. If we feel this so strongly, imagine how the families of the fallen ones feel today and every day of the year, year after year. They wake up with that void and go to sleep with it, בשכבך ובקומך when they sit in their homes, and when they walk by the way, and when they lie down and when they wake up.

Our obligation today is to tell our children the story of how we became a nation, and that we are here, in large part, thanks to the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers ושננתם לבניך.
If we fail to do this, we desecrate their memory which is another meaning of the word 'Halal'. 

And finally, Halal is also the word used to play the flute לחלל בחליל which is the optimistic legacy the fallen soldiers have left for us which is to play the instruments of our lives and of our nation, to rejoice in it and to dwell in it with the joy of להיות עם חופשי בארצנו  to be a free people  in our own country.

As we enter Yom Hazikaron tonight, we remember the Halalim - the fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism,  and their families, who have sacrificed so much to enable us to live here. And tomorrow night, as we begin Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's 67th  Independence Day, we should all play the חלילים- our flutes - rejoicing in our sovereignty and in being a united people in our own land. 

Rabbi Tzvi Graetz 

Masorti Olami | +972-2-624-7106 mail@masortiolami.org |

Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Apr 14, 2015

Coming up at CNS! The Green Prince, Celebrating Robert Alter, Food Stamped, ACCFB, and more!

A Film Screening of 
"The Green Prince"
Sunday, April 19 at 6:30 pm
in the CNS library.
sponsored by V'Zot Yisrael

This film showing is dedicated to Michael Meltzer z"l who as film series organizer had planned to show this film. 

The Green Prince tells the story of the son of a founding leader in the Palestinian organization, Hamas, who becomes a spy for Israel. 


Join Netivot Shalom members at the Alameda County Community Food Bank
on Tuesday, May 5, 12:30PM-3:30PM. Register with Daniel in the shul office to sign up!

Netivot Shalom and the 
Center for Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley celebrate 
Robert Alter!
Tuesday, May 5  -- 6pm
at Congregation Netivot Shalom
Robert Alter, CNS member, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, and founding Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley, has been awarded two degrees of Doctor Philsophiae Honoris Causa; one from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one from the University of Haifa, for his work as "a leading scholar in the field of comparative literature, who combines in his work a passion for language with tireless intellectual curiosity." The Honorary Degree Ceremonies will take place in Spring 2015 in Jerusalem and Haifa. In celebration of our friend and teacher's many accomplishments, the Center for Jewish Studies and Congregation Netivot Shalom will cosponsor a public lecture by Professor Alter on May 5th at Netivot Shalom, celebrating the newest parts of his translation of the Hebrew Bible, followed by conversation with colleagues and light refreshments. All are welcome!
Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact info@netivotshalom.org for more information.
with filmmakers 
(& CNS members!) 
Shira & Yoav Potash 
Sunday, May 3, 
doors @ 6:30 PM
Congregation Netivot Shalom
1316 University Ave, Berkeley

$10-20 sliding scale
All proceeds support Hazon, the Jewish environmental justice organization

Food Stamped is an informative and humorous documentary film following a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Through their adventures they consult with members of U.S. Congress, food justice organizations, nutrition experts, and people living on food stamps to take a deep look at America's broken food system.

"Entertaining and inspiring." - San Francisco Chronicle

learn more at

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