Nov 14, 2017

Announcing the Publication of #IntenseBeginnings!

The book is published!!!

Deep thanks to Dahlia Lithwick and Jane Taubenfeld Cohen for their humbling blurbs (pasted below) and to my very precious Ariel Creditor for the cover artwork!

Intense Beginnings is a collection of essays on Spirituality, Israel, Jewish History, and Justice that poured out during an especially tumultuous year of my life. Rereading them, I have found myself transported back into moments I wish had never been, knowing that these crucible encounters also opened my eyes and transformed my life for the better. They were each, in a very real sense, intense beginnings. Those essential moments sparked these words and have added great meaning to my in-process, examined life.

I am grateful for it all.




“Menachem Creditor's writing shows us the gift of Judaism Now, perhaps more than ever, we need our faith leaders to step forward and speak out bravely about the deep connections between our religious moral values and social justice.  Rabbi Creditor has modeled for years the kind of fierce ethical commitment to justice — for women, for the poor, for victims of gun violence, for communities of color, for our cousins in Israel — that lies at the heart of Jewish teaching and scholarship. The essays collected here offer a roadmap into difficult conversations. You may not always agree with his conclusions but Creditor’s courage in marrying law to faith to social justice in these pages stands as an intense beginning to a dialogue; an invitation to speak out boldly about how the work of tikkun olam must proceed.” 
- Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Supreme Court correspondent, Slate

“This is not the first time that I’ve read the essays included in Intense Beginnings. But it is the first time I have read them together. And the power of Menachem Creditor’s words is more than what is on the paper. It is the voice he gives to what usually lives inside, not expressed so openly and directly. Each page is filled with emotion that uncovers the feelings we have inside of us through our lens as Jews, as parents, as Jewish professionals, as people. The love, the joy, the anger are ways for us to enter or reenter our own moments of connection and disconnection. I love that I can be reading one essay and feel politically charged and another, feel personally understood. I look forward to reading these essays again and again to see what is unleashed.” 
- Jane Taubenfeld Cohen, Vice President of School Services, Prizmah Center for Jewish Day Schools

Nov 10, 2017

[#BuildOnLove NewsLetter] Mitzvah Opportunity, New Book, Essays, Videos, and Special Pricing for other Titles!

Dear Friends,

I'm thrilled to share with you the news that my second collection of essays, Intense Beginnings, is about to be published! Stay tuned for that information in the coming weeks. In honor of the new book's release, some of my other titles are available at reduced prices. (See the bottom of this email for the links to those titles, as well as some recent essays/video blogs I've shared.)

But on this Veterans Day, where we share gratitude for servicewomen and servicemen - like my amazing sister, Navy Chaplain Rabbi Yonina Creditor - who give and give on behalf and in defense of our nation, I especially want to tell you about some work in which I’ve been involved these past months, during which I joined the board of the One America Movement. It’s a remarkable movement – bringing people together across religious, racial, cultural and political divides to participate together in community service projects, and a shared meal and conversation. It started soon after the 2016 election, when a group of faith leaders sat down and mapped out a different vision for the country. We talked about how to bridge the growing divisions in our society, how to address the growing isolation we feel from each other, the “bubbles” we increasingly find ourselves living in. We dreamed about how to build a movement for a better way of treating each other — and how to begin by living out the values behind that movement. The end result was this organization, the One America Movement, led by a colleague and friend I have come to admire enormously – Andy Hanauer. I encourage you to read his piece from last May “Isolation Won’t Save Us” which you can see here. I'm also writing to ask if you’d consider contributing. I’m passionate about this work – I wouldn’t have joined the board if I didn’t believe fervently in its importance and that it can make a difference in our national life. Please consider donating here.

Chevreh, we are living in a deep, transformational moment. I myself am exploring new ways in which I can offer my gifts in the world, a world in such need of the love we each have to offer. Just this past week, I stood side by side, heart to heart, with the sublime Neshama Carlebach and other amazingly talented and passionate Jewish musicians and poured out my song, Olam Chesed Yibaneh, with an audience whose shared singing and deep hope lifted my heart higher than it's ever been before. You can witness that holy moment by clicking here. (The whole concert was ecstatic, and Olam begins at 2 hours, 9 minutes.) I share this experience not only because of the exquisite love of that moment, but also because we all deserve the hope and inspiration that moment offered.

If we hold each other right and well, if we build this world from love, then hope and inspiration will flow ever stronger in your own heart. And, in this way, I believe with all of me, we can change the whole world for the better. We must. And we will.

See below for some of titles available at reduced prices and some new essays/videos!

Shabbat Shalom!


Selected Books

The Preacher's Daughter Was Shot
Facebook Live video (Nov. 5, 2017)

A Prayer after the Church Shooting in Sutherland Springs (Nov. 5, 2017)

Parashat VaYera: Which Fire Will it Be?
The Times of Israel (October 29, 2017)

Finding Holiness at San Quentin
YouTube (Oct. 26, 2007)

Parashat Noach: It Will Be Good
The Times of Israel (October 18, 2017)

The Deepest Thing Inside (Yom Kippur 5778/2017)
The Times of Israel (September 30, 2017)

To Kneel [a Poem] (Nov. 5, 2017)

Nov 5, 2017

The Preacher's Daughter Was Shot -

A Prayer after the #Church #Shooting in #SutherlandSprings, near #SanAntonio

A Prayer after the #Church #Shooting in #SutherlandSprings, near #SanAntonio

© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Please, God, please....
Open our eyes,
so that our hearts break appropriately.

How much blood must be spilled by guns in America before we remember  stand for life? Before we are brave enough to do the right thing?

We cannot become numb.
We will not become numb.
Do not become numb.

Faith demands we do not stand idly by.
We will not become paralyzed.
We cannot. It is not allowed.

Not when there are lives to save.
Your Images, torn and bloodied, God.
That is what we have done,
what we keep on doing...

Tears won't bring our fallen
sisters and brothers back.
So, living sisters,
So, living brothers,
cry, dry your shocked eyes,,
and get involved.

Too much blood spilled,
sanctified ground defiled.

We have sinned,
we have sinned,
we have sinned.

And, if we take no action,
we will have learned nothing,
we will have sinned again,
and needless deaths will be our fault.

This is on us.
Help us save each other, Dear God.
Help us.


Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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