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Showing posts from November, 2011

Psalm 30 - "Emotional Prayers" - A YouTube Comment by Rabbi Menachem Creditor "Conservatives Grapple With Gay Wedding Rite" "Conservatives Grapple With Gay Wedding Rite" Rabbis Create Traditional Service, But Some Couples Balk COURTESY OF GREGG DRINKWATER Tying the Knot: Conservative rabbis are seeking to devise a new marriage rite for gay couples. Should it be similar to the one for straight couples, or something different?
By Naomi Zeveloff Published November 28, 2011, issue of December 02, 2011. PRINTEMAILSHARE MULTIPLE PAGES Having recognized gay rights with their 2006 acceptance of gay unions, Conservative rabbis are now wrestling with the issue of gay rites.
Sitting on the Steps
(C) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

How strange,
to sit in a place
that has seen
so much of me.

These stones have
caught my tears,
echoed my song,
felt me gallop.

These stones have
heard me gasp and laugh,
and have witnessed
the bloom
and loss
and growth
of my heart.

These stones were built
to be strong enough
to weather the many lives
lived upon them,
generation by generation.
Aching Souls
(C) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

We back away but look back,
when we wish to stay.
We back away and cover our eyes,
when staying is unbearable.

We are not meant to endure in those intensities,
sublime or horrific.
We don't live there.
Insight has its limits.

We back away.

The truths we can barely endure,
mortality, injustice, and pain,
threaten to deaden caring souls,
to blind our eyes from seeing what hurts.

But even (especially) when we back away,
we see and feel.
We care.

An aching soul is a gift, a portal,
straight from the universe
through one person into another.

When such souls connect and collide and entangle,
desperate to support and be supported,
the ache's answer is suggested,
and the Universe experiences intense Light.

We see.
We ache.
We care.

Rabbi Aaron Alexander: "Reflections from My First CJLS Meeting: Access & Equality"

Rabbi Aaron Alexander: "Reflections from My First CJLS Meeting: Access & Equality"
Posted on Nov 21, 2011

By Aaron Alexander, Associate Dean, Ziegler School
Last week we intensely and passionately discussed and debated no less than eighthalakhic topics. However, this particular meeting illuminated one coherent theme:Access. Or, access, status, and equality in the light of Torah.Access to Revelation.
Access to Authority.
Access to Relationships.
Access to God on behalf of the Community.We talked deeply about real issues and real people. While it is impossible to cover everything at once, significant change demands careful attention, more questions than answers, and a healthy realization that different people understand and intuit God's will and word in diverse and distinct, yet equally valid ways. (What follows is my take on four of the issues discussed, and does not necessarily reflect…

A New Viral YouTube: "Try To Imagine A Jew"

If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.
Share This: Getting the message out takes multiple shapes and forms. The Hebrew only version of the YouTube video at the link below was posted just a couple of days ago by Masorti in Israel and already has about 5,000 hits. Take a look at this version with English subtitles. It may not be the most profound text ever written, but it does get a message across. If you share belief in the critical importance of pluralism in Israel, please help support the Masorti Foundation. Sincerely, David H. Lissy Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer To learn more, please contact:
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832
New York, NY 10115-0068
(212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414;

Rabbi Aryeh Cohen: "On the Culture of Greed"

Rabbi Aryeh Cohen: "On the Culture of Greed"
A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting discussing an upcoming ballot initiative which would eliminate the death penalty in favor of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Everybody in the room was opposed to the death penalty. The discussion was about the strategy that should be employed to convince voters to make the proposition law. The campaign's tactic was to argue that the death penalty was more expensive than life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (LWOP). This is, of course, true. As theLA Times reported: [An] examination of state, federal and local expenditures for capital cases, conducted over three years by a senior federal judge and a law professor, estimated that the additional costs of capital trials, enhanced security on death row and legal representation for the condemned adds $184 million to the budget each year. However, sitting in that room, eng…
"Faces of Israel"- a must see/experience!
Dear Chevreh,

It was my great privilege last night to host and be a part of "Faces of Israel" (, an exciting new documentary film by director Amy Beth Oppenheimer.  
The film is a discussion of Religion, Marriage, and the State, featuring an incredible array of voices and faces, including Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum (associate dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Assembly), Rabbi Hanan Alexander (Head of the International School at the University of Haifa), Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, regular Israelis, and many more.  There are chapters that examine the incredible work of the Masorti Movement, and of ITIM and Tzohar, all advocacy networks for a more responsive Judaism in Israel than the Chief Rabbinate has created in the first 63 years of Israel's existence.  The educational materials on the Faces of Israel website ( are well-developed, and pa…

This Week at CNS! OneVoice, Women of the Wall, God vs. Gay, Religious Zionism, & Love and Taxes!

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here This Week at CNS! Rabbis for Women of the Wall, God vs. Gay,  Religious Zionism, Love and Taxes, and more! Tuesday, November 15, 7:30pm  Yes We Do! Why Rabbis Across the Spectrum Support Women's Rights at the Kotel in Jerusalem Rabbinic Panel Discussion featuring:  Rabbi David Kalb (Orthodox), Director of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life,  92nd Street Y, New York; Rabbi Menachem Creditor (Conservative), Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley; Rabbi Stephen Pearce (Reform), Congregation Emanu-El; Rabbi Jane Litman, Regional Director, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; and Rabbi Pamela Frydman (Renewal), Academy for Jewish Religion, California and Moderated by Rachel Biale,  Author of Women and Jewish Law and New Israel Fund Lay Leader. - FREE EVENT November 17, 7:30pm Jay Michaelson, Author of "God vs. Gay"  Jay Michaelson is a writer, scholar, and activist whose work addresses the intersections of religion, sexuality, spiritualit…