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Showing posts from September, 2009

Register for "Discover Judaism!" Semester One- Torah Discovery!

This Fall: "Discover Judaism!"
An intro to Judaism cosponsored by Congregation Netivot Shalom and Lehrhaus Judaica;
please call Rachel at Netivot Shalom at 510-549-9447 x101  to enroll.

Discover Judaism: Join this series of classes, designed to help you access the deep meanings of Judaism through a friendly, beginner-level journey.  Participants can join one series at a time, and are welcome to begin at any point.  Jews and non-Jews are welcome!

Series 1: Torah Discovery
With Rabbi Menachem Creditor

The Torah demonstrates the earliest dynamic conversations that became Modern Judaism.  One book of the Torah, each with its unique style and content, will be discussed each session.  We will also engage questions of Biblical authorship, interpretation, and theology. No Hebrew is required for this class.

Dates:   Tuesdays, Oct. 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3, 10
Time:    7:30 to 9pm
Place:   Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley
Class fee: $50-$75 — (sliding scale, no one turned away for lack …

Kol Nidrei 5770/2009: "Hidden Treasures"

Kol Nidrei 5770/2009: "Hidden Treasures"
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

dedicated in love to the Netivot Shalom Community

Olam Chesed Yibaneh / We will build this world from love.(Ps. 99:3)

Some time ago, my father shared with me a powerful story, a story of a grandfather and a grandson. The grandfather, a traditional Jew, lays on his deathbed and makes a final request of his grandson. The grandson is prepared to create a religious school, give tzedakah - anything his beloved grandfather asks. So when the grandfather asks him to become a scuba diver, the grandson is shocked. He stammers his confusion to his grandfather, who explains:

"When I was on the boat coming over from the Old Country, I remember one picture very clearly: When we all saw the Statue of Liberty come into view, many of those on the decks of the boat threw their tefillin overboard. I want you to become a scuba diver so that you can rescue those pairs of tefillin."

As it turns out, this legend has made t…

jpost: "Policemen wounded in Temple Mt. riots"

Policemen wounded in Temple Mt. riotsSep. 27, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST Twelve policemen and 15 rioters were wounded Sunday in riots on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and later in the Old City. Approximately 150 Muslim worshipers participated in the disturbance on the Temple Mount, which began when a group of Jewish visitors was admitted into the compound. Rioters hurled rocks at the group and at policemen who were escorting them, lightly wounding two policemen. Police responded with stun grenades and the visitors were escorted away. The riots died down, but the Temple Mount was subsequently closed off to visitors. Later some rioting developed on the streets of the Old City, and additional policemen and rioters were wounded in those scuffles. Several rioters were arrested by police. Rabah Bkirat, an official with the Muslim religious body in charge of managing the site, said some of the protesters had come because of rumors of an "invasion" by Jewish settlers.…

The text of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the UN General Assembly

The text of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the UN General Assembly
Sept. 24, 2009

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.

I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.
The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events.

Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth. Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.

Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi offi…

from PJA: On Health Care, Our Fundamental Principles this Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur and Healthcare:
What's the Connection?

On Health Care, Our Fundamental Principles

by Elissa Barrett
The Jewish Daily Forward

"We know that we bear collective
responsibility for building a just and holy community (kehilla kedosha)...collectively we bear responsibility for our neighbors vices and well-being."

As the nation fights over the details, the need for comprehensive medical care for all remains a fundamental tenet of Jewish tradition, as PJA Executive Director Elissa Barrett explains in her Yom Kippur themed Op Ed.
Click here to read the article.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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Standards for Magen Tzedek Released

Standards For The Magen Tzedek Released by the Hekhsher Tzedek Commission The revised Standards for the Magen Tzedek Service Mark have been released.  Click here for the press release and here for the standards. There is a period for public comment on the standards and we would appreciate your feedback.  Email comments to prior to December 9.  For more information about Magen Tzedek click hereIn this week's Forward, Nathaniel Popper's article entitled, "New Kosher Food Certification May Be Most Detailed In the Industry" about Magen Tzedek describes most favorably the work of the Hekhsher Tzedek Commission.  The article quotes Scott Exo, director of the Food Alliance, discussing the impressive breadth of the Heksher Tzedek Certification which bills itself as the "most comprehensive third-party certification for the production, processing, and distribution of sustainable food." The article notes that the Magen Tzedek target…

JTA Blogroll: "Conservative movement and AJWS play on Yom Kippur practices in charity initiatives"

Conservative movement and AJWS play on Yom Kippur practices in charity initiatives By Jacob Berkman · September 22, 2009
I've received a couple of emails regarding interesting Yom Kippur charity initiatives that play on the various prohibitions of the holiday.

The American Jewish World Service is asking that its supporters take the money that they would have spent on food, were they not fasting on Yom Kippur, and donate it to the AJWS to help fund its projects that build farming capacity in the developing world.

The organization is asking its supports to give $36 to its "Fighting Hunger From the Ground Up" initiative.

On the other foot, the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly is using the prohibition of wearing leather shoes on Yom Kippur to try to help buy shoes for children in the developing …

Hayim Herring in the Jewish Week: "Challenges Of An Open-Source Age"

Hayim Herring in the Jewish Week: "Challenges Of An Open-Source Age"
by Rabbi Hayim Herring
Special To The Jewish Week
About three years ago I received a call from a stranger who had a heartfelt dilemma. He wanted my opinion about whether digital davening with a minyan would fulfill his obligation to say Kaddish for a parent who had just died. He was concerned that saying Kaddish at his synagogue every day was not feasible and wanted to dedicate some days to gather a minyan via the Web. If so, should he ask his synagogue for help to sponsor a digital minyan? I vaguely recall making a comment about the idea being worth exploring and referred him to his congregational rabbi.
So much has changed since that telephone call, and today's open-source environment, where information is increasingly open, available and less controlled, has
led to a big leadership dilemma.

Let's imagine how this digital…

Kol HaKavod to Rabbi Steven Wernick & Forward: "United Synagogue Chief Apologizes for Perceived Slight"

Dear Chevreh,

I share this Forward article not for the sake of attacking Rabbi Wernick, but to admire him publicly for apologizing - that is a model of professional and personal accountability which would make a big difference if practiced on the local and national levels in our movement as well.  It feels completely appropriate in this moment of the Jewish calendar to acknowledge mistakes and then restate the committed relationship we celebrate together.

Shannah Tovah,

Forward: "United Synagogue Chief Apologizes for Perceived Slight"By Gal BeckermanPublished September 17, 2009
The new head of Conservative Judaism's congregational arm has asked his fellow rabbis to forgive him in a Sept. 17 letter apologizing for a recent interview with The Forward in which he said Conservative rabbis lack "missionary zeal," and work instead "to get paid.""I talked before I thought," wrote Rabbi Steven Wernick, the …

a Yearlong Sunday Morning Series at CNS with Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Rabbi Shalom Bochner!

Announcing a Yearlong Sunday Morning Series at CNSwith Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Rabbi Shalom Bochner!During the coming year Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Rabbi Shalom Bochner will explore six subjects on six Sunday mornings during the coming year, part of the larger celebrated CNS Sunday Morning Minyan and Speaker series!  The themes of these six presentations will connect to exploring the concept of a Jewish Community.Shacharit begins at 9:30 AM, followed by breakfast and a talk/discussion from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM.  Everyone is welcome! ·Oct 25: Rabbi Menachem Creditor:"The Necessity of Windows"·Nov. 8: Rabbi Shalom Bochner: "Jewish Obligation/Relationships Beyond the Self" ·Dec. 6: Rabbi Menachem Creditor: "Jewish Leadership" ·Jan. 10: Rabbi Shalom Bochner: "Jewish Communal Education"·Feb. 7: Rabbi Menachem Creditor: "Jewish Norms/Values" ·Mar. 21: Rabbi Shalom Bochner: "The Place of Generations

3 amazing articles from the Jewish Week/NextBook Issue on Prayer

Standing Before God, Standing Before Communityby Sandee Brawarsky
On the shelves of Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon's office are many editions of the siddur, prayer book, including a Farsi version with Hebrew and Perso-Arabic side by side. "I don't like to speak in denominational terms," he says, "I think we all have to learn from each other—the tradition is the same, the challenge is the same."

In a recent interview in his office, he spoke about the function of the shaliach tzibur, literally messenger of the community, referring to the prayer leader. Known widely as Roly, he is a rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun (BJ) in Manhattan, a congregation with a reputation for spiritual depth and vitality. The tradition there is that the rabbis and cantor jointly lead services.

Rabbi Matalon speaks with the accent of his native Argentina. After receiving his ordination from the Jewi…