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Showing posts from April, 2011
"Jewish Networking: Linking People, Institutions, Community" - a Jewish Leadership Session with Bay Area Masorti, based on the vision of Rabbi Hayim Herring. June 1 at 7:30pm. Stay Tuned!

Rabbi Reuven Hammer in JPost: "Yom HaShoah: The Saddest Day of All"

The Saddest Day of AllRabbi Reuven HammerWhen Passover comes, the two newest sacred days of the Jewish calendar are not far behind: Yom HaShoah v'HaG'vurah and Yom HaAtzmaut. Without positing a causal link between them, these two days commemorate the two most significant events in modern Jewish history and the polar opposites that they represent. Yom HaShoah signifies the worst tragedy we have ever experienced, that which brought the Jewish People as close to extinction as we have ever been. Yom HaAtzmaut celebrates the great triumph of our return to our national home, the phoenix –like resurrection of the Jewish People from the ashes of near destruction. To my mind, Yom HaShoah is the saddest and most tragic day of the Jewish year. Nothing even remotely like it ever occurred before. The systematic destruction of six million individuals, one third of our people, the elimination of a great center of Jewish life and learning, it is beyond imagining. Each year I liste…

Parashat Kedoshim 5771: “Intense and Holy”

Parashat Kedoshim 5771: "Intense and Holy" 
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

It is precisely in the intense moments of disagreement that love is tested.

Parashat Acharei Mot begins amidst the immediate aftermath of the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, who brought uninvited incense-offerings upon the dedication of the Tabernacle and were themselves devoured by a "fire from God" (Lev. 10:2). With barely a blink, Aaron is now commanded to prepare for the Yom Kippur ritual (Lev. 16), including an incense offering, similar to (and in the exact location of) his son's deaths.

If we are brave enough to enter this excruciating moment, not as detached readers, but as living participants in the narrative, what does this sequence of events do to us? What must it have been like for Aaron, who is, during the Yom Kippur ritual (called the Avodah), our emmisary to God. On this holiest of days, a… "Supply & Demands: The major movements of American Judaism require congregations to follow their rules when hiring clergy."

[note: I find this article fascinating, especially because the Placement Process has truly been most championed by the USCJ (this is one of the only reasons for USCJ-synagogue dues), not the Rabbinical Assembly.  An open placement field, unrestricted by synagogue dues, would give RA Rabbis a much-needed expanded job net! - rc]

Supply and Demands

Rabbi Ed Feinstein: "This is our Movement. This is our Moment."

This is our Movement. This is our Moment.Rabbi Ed Feinstein
This past month, I was asked to join a panel on the Future of Conservative Judaism at the Rabbinical Assembly convention in Las Vegas. My remarks were meant for my colleagues in the room. It turns out that what happens in Vegas doesn't actually stay there, and my remarks have found their way to numerous newspapers. What the newspaper quotations failed to report was the sadness that accompanied my remarks. I was raised in a family deeply involved in a Conservative synagogue. I met my wife in USY; I found my identity and calling at Ramah; I learned Torah in the institutions of this Movement. I am alarmed at its condition. I hoped that my remarks might bring some movement toward remedy and repair. I still have that hope.We are in big trouble.
There is no demographic that offers optimism for the Conservative Movement's future. Not one. Read Steven Cohen's studies. He gives us seven years to live. Consider: The United Sy…

Post-Seder Questions

Post-Seder Questions (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Every learning and ritual moment we share evokes something greater than the self, a connection to our own past, the past of our People, the hopes of the world.
The power of ritual to evoke memory, to bring the 'I' into a 'we' sensation, is profoundly cosmic.  One moment I'm running upstairs to put on my kittle and get the Seder started as quickly as possible, the next I'm returning downstairs with a feeling of mystery, of resembling my father at my childhood Seders, of recognizing that one day I'll be buried in this garment.  In one moment I am filled with hope that my child will ask about this garment and dread at the fulfillmentof that very hope.

The Seder table is an altar, filled with symbols at once strange and familiar.  Miriam and Elijah suddenly co-exist, a relic of animal sacrifice nudges a very modern orange. Shmura matza, carefully packaged in styrofoam, skirts the orbit of a soy-based baby formula, …