Feb 28, 2024

Ben Stern, Baruch Bendit ben Shimon Nussen veYentl, z"l

A Great One has left the earth, and we are poorer for our enormous loss. I am reeling, as are the countless people who loved and learned from Ben Stern, Baruch Bendit ben Shimon Nussen veYentl, z"l, a Survivor of two ghettos, nine concentration camps, and two death marches - and who lived until the age of 102 as a model of perseverance, testimony, justice, and love. My friend has died, and my heart mourns to its core.

Ben was a student of the great Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira in the Warsaw Ghetto. He witnessed, as a child in the Ghetto, the great educator Janusz Korczak, accompany by choice the children in his care out of the Ghetto to the camps, where he too was murdered. Ben created the Janusz Korczak Bnai Brith Lodge in Skokie and fought the Nazis when they threatened to March then in the 60's.

Ben's beloved daughter, Charlene, was among the founders of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, where I was blessed to serve, and where Ben and his beloved Helen z"l moved. For several years, Ben brought groups of teens back to Poland and to Israel to inspire them by demonstrating for them the life-force of Am Yisrael, the Jewish People. In 2017, at the age of 96, Ben helped lead a March Against Hate, facing an entire city with the strength of his indefatigable soul. When I introduced him to my beloved Neshama, he danced before us on the spot and blessed our marriage, knowing that he wouldn't be able to attend our wedding.

It will always be among my deepest honors to have been his student.

We will march, my friend. I promise.
You have acquitted yourself nobly.
You have made your People proud.
Rest. Finally, dear man, rest.

Feb 26, 2024

Broadcast 1,000 of Morning Torah! #Shehechiyanu

Beginning the morning of March 18, 2020, UJA-Federation of NY Scholar in Residence Rabbi Menachem Creditor began broadcasting a 15-minute daily opportunity on FB Live for the New York Jewish community to come together and start each day with Jewish learning and inspiration. Born as a timely, local response to the dislocating impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, these ongoing broadcasts have birthed a global community centered on sharing Torah and life every weekday morning. For the full archive, click here: https://rabbicreditor.blogspot.com/p/daily-broadcast.html

Feb 18, 2024

**Call for Contributions to A Timely Passover Haggadah Supplement**

Friends, I'm thrilled to be partnering with my friend and teacher, Dr. Ora Horn Prouser and The Academy for Jewish Religion community to publish a supplement to the Passover Haggadah to be used at our sedarim this year, giving expression to our solidarity with Israel and the Jewish People. We are calling for submissions of short pieces, drashot, poems, and prayers.
Pesach is one of the holidays that is most widely celebrated in the Jewish community. This year, as so many are struggling with the events of October 7, the tragic suffering of the hostages, and the rise of antisemitism in the United States and beyond, the texts and observances of Passover are open to new and difficult meanings, new interpretation, and deep connections. How are we thinking about the definition of freedom this year? How do we read Vehi She’amdah this year as we see on a daily basis those who “seek our destruction”? What is the new meaning in L’shanah Haba’ah B’yerushalayim as many in the American Jewish community are strengthening connections to Israel? What will we be thinking during Shefokh Hamatkha when we struggle with the concept of calling for God’s anger against our enemies? Creating a collection of materials to be used at the seder will be very useful and powerful for the Jewish community.
Pieces should not exceed 500-700 words. We ask that you additionally write one or two sentences sharing where in the Seder you think your contribution belongs. Submissions and questions should be sent to HaggadahSupplement@ajr.edu. We are on a very short turnaround time, so we need materials submitted no later than February 29. Please note that we will not be able to include all contributions.
We urge you to join us in providing a resource for the Jewish community that will help us all to process and celebrate this upcoming holiday – finding joy and allowing ourselves to experience sadness, and connecting to the Divine and each other, perhaps in different ways in the new world we are experiencing.
Thank you for sharing this with others as well.
Am Yisrael Chai!

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Shavuot: The Torah of Tenacious Love