Aug 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: How We Can Help

From Rabbi Creditor
Hurricane Harvey: How We Can Help
Whoever rescues a single life, it is as if they have rescued the entire world.
- Talmud
Elul 7, 5777
August 29, 2017
Dear Chevreh,
We have all been monitoring closely the situation with Hurricane Harvey in Texas. At the moment it is too soon to tell the full extent of the damage to synagogues and people's homes. I have been in touch with friends and colleagues in the area, and hope your loved ones - everyone's loved ones - are safe.
If you'd like to make a financial contribution here are some options:

I've included below the words of a prayer entitled "A Prayer During and in the Aftermath of a Devastating Stormwhich we will recite this coming Shabbat morning.

With hope for a safe and sound tomorrow,
Rabbi Creditor


for all those affected by Hurricane Harvey 
by Menachem Creditor, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA

Elohei haRuchot, God of the Winds,[1]

Fixated as we are by incalculable losses in our families, our neighbors, human beings spanning national borders, we are pummeled into shock, barely even able to call out to You.

We are, as ever, called to share bread with the hungry, to take those who suffer into our homes, to clothe the naked, to not ignore our sisters and brothers.[2] Many more of our brothers and sisters are hungry, homeless, cold, and vulnerable today than were just a few days ago, and we need Your Help.

We pray from the depths of our souls and we pray with the toil of our bodies for healing in the face of devastation. We join our voices in prayer to the prayers of others around the world and cry out for safety. We look to the sacred wells of human resilience and compassion and ask You for even more strength and hope.

God, open our hearts to generously support those determined to undo this chaos.

God, be with us as we utilize every network at our disposal to support each other. Be with First Responders engaged in the work of rescue as they cradle lives new and old, sheltering our souls and bodies from the storm. Be with us and be with them, God.

Be with those awaiting news from loved ones, reeling from water and wind that have crippled cities, decimated villages, and taken lives. Be with all of us, God.

Be with us God, comfort us, and support us as we rebuild that which has been lost.

May all this be Your will.

[1] Numbers 27:16 [2] adapted from Isaiah 58:6-7

Congregation Netivot Shalom | 1316 University Ave, Berkeley, CA, 94702

Aug 24, 2017

This Sunday, I'm Following Ben

From Rabbi Creditor: 
This Sunday, I'm Following Ben 
August 23, 2017 
Rosh Chodesh Ellul, 5777
Dear Chevreh,  

This week will be a hard one, but it will also be a powerful and beautiful one. Among the blessings of the Bay Area is a commitment to diversity. Yes, that can be a truly strange and complicated reality in our Berkeley world, but in this moment of our city's life, it is a blessing we embrace.

This weekend, white supremacists and neo-Nazis are planning to rally in the Bay Area in an attempt to demonstrate their power. We, as a Jewish community, as an American community, as human beings committed to extending love and safety for all, will be part of an enormous response. 

Netivot Shalom, along with thousands of sisters and brothers as the "Bay Area Rally Against Hate," will be wiser than to confront hate with anger, better than to lend any of our passion to shouting matches with hatemongers, and greater than the tribal trauma Jews know all too well. I will be speaking about this during a special Drash this coming Shabbat morning at shul. (Todah Rabbah to Edna Stewart, for inviting me to speak in her place, as she was originally scheduled to give the drash this Shabbat.)

We have been here before. We have seen this before. And this Sunday we will love deeply and wisely. 
This Sunday, we will follow our beloved friend and fellow CNS member Ben Stern, who has invited us to "stand with courage, kindness, and hope." I will be standing and marching with my hero, Ben, and invite you to join us. We will meet this Sunday, August 27th, at 10:30am, at Oxford and Addison, to join the larger rally. Many other groups will participate in the rally, including the East Bay JCC and Bend the Arc. Please note: We recommend taking public transit or building in extra time; streets nearby will be closed.

As Ben writes:

"In 1938, none stood up in Poland or the world.
In 1978, 60,000 people joined him in Skokie, Illinois.
2017, this Sunday, Ben hopes he will not be standing alone."

Friends, I invite you to join me in answering Ben's call. 

We stand with you, Ben, as you stand - as you have always stood - for courage, kindness, and hope for all.

rabbi creditor
Rabbi Creditor

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CNS Mission Statement
Netivot Shalom invites you to engage in a cross-generational discovery of Jewish inspiration and purpose.
Our community is defined by the values of:
  • Belonging - we believe, as a participatory egalitarian community, that every member has a voice.
  • Learning - we provide introductory and continuing encounters with Jewish wisdom.
  • Ritual - we strive to deepen personal engagement with the sacred.
  • Justice - we embrace Judaism's call to perfect the world.
Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

Aug 20, 2017

These Hallowed Fields: An Intention for Camp Ramah

These Hallowed Fields: An Intention for Camp Ramah
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Many generations of souls have played here, learned here, grown here. Some never leave. Friends, mentors, loves - this holy place has been home for thousands and thousands.

For me, it's been a Berkshires, Nyack, Ojai, Palmer, Monterey journey. My grandmother, parents, sisters, and children have known this summer air, sing these holy songs, feel this Jewish pride. It is real and it is magic.

May the power of Ramah continue spreading throughout the world, one whole person at a time.

May these shining, happy young faces know that their hearts are connected to a tradition born of educator-dreamers, made real by thousands of grateful others.

May the joy and love of Ramah, carried by these lucky children and adults, influence their communities, and through those blessed communities, the world.

Thank You, Holy One, for the gift of this holy place.

#ramah #CampRamah #ramahforever

Aug 14, 2017

The Day After Charlottesville

The Day After Charlottesville
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Huffington Post - 08/14/2017

In the aftermath of a horrific day in Charlottesville, there is an image I ask us to hold onto.

It is not the KKK in their hateful robes, not the tweets of a President who demonstrates more outrage when his daughter’s handbags are no longer carried by Nordstroms than when torch-bearing White Supremacists and American Nazis ravage a college campus and community in Virginia. The sound reverberating in our souls should not be the calls of “Jews will not replace us“ chanted enthusiastically by the “Unite the Right” hate rally in Charlottesville yesterday. These bands of bigots gathered in defense of a statue of Robert E Lee in a park that once bore his name but has been renamed Emancipation Park. The degradation of human beings, African slaves, that his military genius sought to perpetuate was their allegiance. And it is not these images that should fill our eyes, though they are truly horrific. READ MORE HERE....

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