Jun 23, 2022

** Announcing the Publication of "All Who Can Protest: A Rabbinic Call to End The American Gun Violence Epidemic"!! **

 ** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT **

Dear Friends,

All Who Can Protest: A Rabbinic Call to End The American Gun Violence Epidemic” is now live! My fellow editors Rabbis Rachel Timoner, Michelle Dardashti, and Isaiah Rothstein and I are deeply appreciative of the 37 new contributions from rabbinic colleagues representing a rich tapestry Jewish expression, united in voice to End the American Gun Violence Epidemic. The second section of the book contains excerpts from the first 3 Rabbis Against Gun Violence anthologies: Peace in Our Cities (2013), Not By Might (2016), and Holding Fast (2018)

For the Table of contents and contributor bios, click here: https://tinyurl.com/AllWhoCanProtest01 )

(The Kindle version will likely not be available for a month or so.)

Especially today, when the Senate might sign into law the first (very small) step forward on American Gun Reform and when the US Supreme Court blocked New York's law banning guns in public, we know we have much work to do together.

We're proud to amplify each other's voices in society, and are ready to continue this urgently important work in the world.

Please share news of the book’s publication, tagging fellow authors, so that we can generate good buzz and strong circulation!

For now, dear friends, from our hearts, thank you.

May our world be blessed with health, safety, dignity, and peace.

Kol Tuv,

Menachem

Jun 16, 2022

Jun 14, 2022

Holding onto the Light (recorded June 14, 2017)

It's possible to look at any week's Torah reading, and then news headlines that are happening all around. And to wonder: is there a connection? And then you find a connection. You find yourself grounded in the text and in the world. And then something else happens. So you recalibrate. And then something else happens. And then you wonder: can I keep on doing this? Can I keep on adjusting to the moment? How can I hold onto the light? (originally recorded June 14, 2017)

Jun 8, 2022

Stand Up & Get Loud: The Call of (Women's) Leadership - in honor of Laurie Girsky, upon completing 3 years of leading UJA Women


Stand Up & Get Loud: The Call of (Women's) Leadership
in honor of Laurie Girsky, upon completing 3 years of leading UJA Women.
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Jun 7, 2022

Morning Torah: Share Blessing! (Broadcast #561)


Rabbi Menachem Creditor has been broadcasting Morning Torah on UJA-Federation of New York's Facebook page every weekday since March 18, 2020. This video was originally shared there (the 561st live broadcast) on June 6, 2022. 

#ParashatNaso #Naso #Torah #Commentary

May 31, 2022

*CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS* All Who Can Protest: A Rabbinic Call to End The American Gun Violence Epidemic

 *CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS*


All Who Can Protest: A Rabbinic Call to End The American Gun Violence Epidemic

edited by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Rabbi Michelle Dardashti, and Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein

How can this be? Over and over and over and over, we are shocked to our cores by mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting. Or, even worse, we become less shocked. We must heed the teaching of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who wrote,

"When I see an act of evil, I'm not accommodated. I don't accommodate myself to the violence that goes on everywhere; I'm still surprised. That's why I'm against it, why I can hope against it. We must learn how to be surprised. Not to adjust ourselves.”

In the aftermath of recent mass shootings, including at the Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, California, ALL WHO CAN PROTEST will document the ongoing call of American Jewish rabbinic leadership to END THE AMERICAN GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC.

Has your rabbi delivered a message of protest in response to Gun Violence? Contributions of 500-800 (plus or minus) words are due June 20, and must be sent IN WORD FORMAT to torahwithin@gmail.com.

May 27, 2022

The poetry of Yehuda Amichai, the #Uvalde & #Buffalo #GunViolence Massacres, the rebuke of Parashat Bechukotai, and the prophetic voice of Dr Seuss - one urgent message: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."

The poetry of Yehuda Amichai, the #Uvalde & #Buffalo #GunViolence Massacres, the rebuke of Parashat Bechukotai, and the prophetic voice of Dr Seuss - one urgent message:
 
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."
 
May we do our part in making this world safer for our children, for our elders, for our schools, for our neighbors. That is the way.


May 26, 2022

From The Atlantic: "Gun culture may be harder to change than gun laws"

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2022
The Daily
Katherine J. Wu headshot

Katherine J. Wu

STAFF WRITER

Guns are part of everyday American life. Then: If Donald Trump is attempting to pave a path back to the White House in 2024, the road ahead just got a little rockier.

10 years after Sandy Hook

Two black-and-white images of adults hugging children

(AP / Getty / The Atlantic)

Connecticut is where 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost a decade ago. Today, it is also a state in which it is still very easy to legally carry a gun. My colleague Graeme Wood, a Connecticut resident and gun enthusiast, proved just how easy last weekend, when he enrolled in a daylong class on guns and gun safety—the primary obstacle standing between him and a bona fide certification to carry a lethal weapon.

Anyone, Graeme observes, “with an IQ higher than a mango’s could pass” the class, which cost about $75. After that, it’s simply a matter of presenting yourself and your fingertips to the police, and paying a small fee. Anyone who’s not registered with the government as a criminal or psychiatric inpatient, and is not an “illegal” resident, is expected to be green-lit for gun ownership.

“I asked the instructor, who had spent decades working in fire and law enforcement, whether the officers at my local police station might refuse to issue me a carry permit, just because they thought I looked squirrelly and mentally unstable,” Graeme writes. “‘If they rejected people on that basis, do you think I’d have a permit?’ he joked. ‘But seriously. You could go in wearing your underpants on the outside and it wouldn’t matter.’”

Certainly this pipeline could be tightened. But, as Graeme explains, such a change might not make much of a difference—in Connecticut, or anywhere else in the United States. Nearly 400 million guns—many more than there were when Sandy Hook was attacked—are in civilian hands in the country already, woven into the fabric of daily life, and embedded deeply into American culture. Yesterday, an 18-year-old man carried one of them, a rifle, into an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and killed at least 19 children and two adults. In the aftermath of the tragedy, people across the world are grieving; parents are fearful for their kids’ lives. And yet, little seems likely to change. Whatever will may exist for reform and gun control, my colleague Ronald Brownstein writes, this country’s political infrastructure probably won’t let any meaningful legislative action through.

That doesn’t mean we remain complacent. “These kids and all the people who die every day,” the emergency physician Megan Ranney told me, “deserve better than for us to forget them.”

May 10, 2022

Exploring Netzach: Morning Torah

The poetry of this being the Sefirah week of Netzach (endurance, grit) as I tested positive two days ago wasn't lost on me. And the tenderness of Jewish tradition's teachings about Netzach spoke so deeply within me too.

May 3, 2022

"Firsts" [ #DailyPoem ]

Firsts

What if we only used first names?
How would we know our tribes?
Would our fathers be remembered less,
or would we remember our mothers equally?
I'll tell you one thing:
No one would be the last anything,
for we'd all be firsts.
art: Yak Sap, "Hello...My Name is Yak Sap", mixed media on 3D wood construction

Apr 29, 2022

Hearts Made for Love (by God): Acharei Mot #LGBTQ #PRIDE

 

Hearts Made for Love (by God): Acharei Mot #LGBTQ #PRIDE https://youtu.be/ZDuoXocfQGk via @YouTube
ty @AWiderBridge for this beautiful, inclusive #Jewish #PrideFlag

Apr 27, 2022

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame. #YomHaShoah

,אַשְׁרֵי הַגַּפְרוּר שֶׁנִּשְׂרַף וְהִצִּית לֶהָבוֹת
.אַשְׁרֵי הַלְּהָבָה שֶׁבָּעֲרָה בְּסִתְרֵי לְבָבוֹת
...אַשְׁרֵי הַלְבָבוֹת שֶׁיָדְעוּ לַחְדוֹל בְּכָבוֹד
.אַשְׁרֵי הַגַּפְרוּר שֶׁנִּשְׂרַף וְהִצִּית לֶהָבוֹת


Blessed is the match consumed
in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns 
in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength 
to stop its beating for honor's sake.
Blessed is the match consumed 
in kindling flame.

- Hannah Szenes z"lm after she parachuted into a partisan camp in Yugoslavia

#YomHaShoah

Apr 14, 2022

Rachel Brodie's "Taxonomies of Jewish Identity." And a tweet.

I've been scouring social media for mentions of Rachel Brodie z"l, whose funeral is in a few hours in California. And, inevitably, I'm finding lots of times over the years when I couldn't help but post something about or from her. This tweet from 2012 says so much. The graphic in the background is what she called "Taxonomies of Jewish Identity," lines of connection between the countless ideas in her capacious mind/soul. The quote demonstrates her quick wit and her functional brilliance.

God, I miss her so very much. It's very hard to understand my world without her.

for a glimpse into her professional presentation of the gifts of her person: https://lnkd.in/djGVhH6a

Apr 8, 2022

Shabbat HaGadol Teaching in Response to the Attack in #TelAviv (@UJAfedNY Morning Torah Broadcast #522). #ShabbatHaGadol #WhiteShirt #MustBeFriday #Ukraine #ShabbatShalom


Shabbat HaGadol Teaching in Response to the Attack in #TelAviv (@UJAfedNY Morning Torah Broadcast #522). https://youtu.be/Qu15TsKayC4 via @YouTube #Metzora #ShabbatHaGadol #WhiteShirt #MustBeFriday #Ukraine #ShabbatShalom

Mar 27, 2022

ANNOUNCING: Honey from the Rock: A Pandemic-Era Rabbinic Anthology

For 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic redefined life itself in every corner of the world. No one could have imagined the immensity of our losses, nor could anyone have foreseen the new possibilities that have emerged as a result of communal and individual relocation. Rabbis have joined the armies of angels responding to all of this, channeling the best of Jewish tradition to support their communities and make meaning of the world we share. New technologies have extended the reach of religious leaders far beyond the physical boundaries of community that once felt more defined, and their soulful offerings have helped countless others feel less alone. Honey from the Rock is an anthology of reflective writings from within the rabbinic community, representing a true diversity of voices, grounded and vulnerable, inspiring and honest, published in order to amplify the meaning and comfort rabbis have offered during a very difficult time in human history.

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WKHSZPZ
ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WKKL2J9

to view the Table of Contents, click here.


from the FOREWORD by BETSY STONE, Ph.D

One of the many roles of clergy is to “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” In our two years plus of COVID, we are all afflicted. Afflicted by the pain of loss, by the disruption of loneliness, by the challenge of ongoing adaptation and disorientation. And yet many are also comfortable. We have homes, reliable food sources, medical care. We have technology that allows us to connect, albeit differently. The heat works. We learn new skills, whether baking sourdough or a musical instrument. We connect more deeply with family and with ourselves. During the darkness and light of COVID-19, our clergy leaders have challenged us to grow. These sermons, delivered during the past two years, remind us that we are part of both a historical lineage and of a specific time. We are Jews in time and Jews in THIS time. Both create obligation. How are we obligated in response to the murder of George Floyd? Must we care for the stranger? How do we reconnect with ourselves and with each other? How can we react to political turmoil and to personal pain? These sermons are written to challenge and push us, to force us to confront ourselves. And they are written to comfort us, to bring a sense of shleimut, wholeness, to a people that is isolated and desperate. What are the challenges of COVID times? Our Rabbis remind us to remain human and connected, to lock eyes with another. They push us beyond the boundaries of seeing others as disease vectors, to see each other’s pains and joys. They demand that we accept that we are all flawed, with empathy and kindness. They tell us to look inward and outward, to offer the same care to others as to ourselves, to manage ourselves, to control our anger. To lead at a time like this demands huge personal cost. Clergy has adapted, pivoted. They work harder than ever before. They listen and comfort. They have become epidemiologists and security experts. They work long hours and worry about us more. And we need more from them. More teaching, more comfort, more funerals, more flexibility. COVID has brought out the best of us and the worst of us. These sermons demonstrate how profoundly our clergy have risen to the challenge of comforting our afflictions and afflicting us when we are too comfortable. Kol HaKavod.


from the AFTERWORD by Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz

The two years behind us have been like nothing we’ve ever experienced and the days in front of us still feel uncertain. So, how do we find our footing in this mess? What can we look towards as we begin again? We are like butterflies. The butterfly doesn’t create chaos. It withstands chaos. It navigates chaos and it does so by focusing on its intergenerational mission and its home. May we do our part to fulfill our destinies as butterflies among people. May we find our way in the tempest, spreading life and hope in its chaotic winds, may we do our part to ensure that we, and our children and our children’s children always know our way home. And let us say, Amen.

Mar 4, 2022

A Prayer for Ukraine

A Prayer for Ukraine
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

God of Peace,

We call to You, hearts pounding, as we pray for the people of Ukraine who are suffering under tyrant’s attack. Hear their prayers and ours. Support our commitment to stand with them in their time of great need. Please.

Dear God, how can we say Never Again when bombs fall on Babi Yar, when millions must run for their lives or take shelter in synagogues and subway stations? Haven’t we learned? You Who Remembers all, do not forsake us as we relearn these painful lessons.

In every generation there arise those who, in selfish pursuit of power, privilege might over moral right, precipitate needless earthquakes despite the tsunamis of human pain that will follow. Holy One, spoil the oppressors’ evil plans, diminish their power.

God, We have also witnessed great heroism during these dark days, human beings pushing back against tanks with their bare hands, the brave Jewish President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky and his family, millions of Ukrainians fighting to protect their homes. This is Your Image, strong and courageous, fierce and present. This is Your Outstretched Arm. We ask that You remind us to offer our own.

As one of Ukraine’s greatest teachers, Rav Nachman, once taught: “The Exodus from Egypt occurs in every human being, in every era, in every year, and in every day.” Holy One, may this teaching be fulfilled speedily and in our days.

May peace rain down upon the people of Ukraine. May we study war no more.

Amen.

#ukraine #prayer #peace

Feb 21, 2022

Paul Farmer Resources: Books | Essays | Videos


Paul Farmer resources:

 Books  |  Essays  |  Videos

A second Siyyum of the entire Torah as a UJA-Federation learning community! #Shehechiyanu




This morning, we marked a second Siyyum of the entire Torah as a UJA-Federation of New York learning community! So grateful for the kind souls who have built this community each morning since we began on March 18, 2020. Every revolution of Torah is holy, and though we are transformed by the journey, we complete a cycle and begin the next in the very same breath.
 
For the entire archive of all 486 broadcasts to date, click here: https://www.facebook.com/ujafedny/videos/

I dedicate this morning's Siyyum to the memory of my precious Savta, Kuneh bat Avraham Ya'akov veNechama z"l. May her memory be forever a blessing.

** Announcing the Publication of "All Who Can Protest: A Rabbinic Call to End The American Gun Violence Epidemic"!! **

  ** SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ** Dear Friends, “ All Who Can Protest: A Rabbinic Call to End The American Gun Violence Epidemic ” is now live! M...