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Showing posts from 2014

Resting Atop History [a #poem]

Resting Atop History
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor Ripples
                  container, Purifying it
from all the accumulated debris,
encoded in souls and scrolls,
hidden deep within.

Defiant Rugelach [a #poem]

Defiant Rugelach
© Rabbi Menachem CreditorI hadn't come back,
more than a decade since
the bomb.Burned by hate,
baptised by blood and tears,
rebuilt in weeks,
memorial plaque installed in months,
Sbarros became Ma'afeh Ne'eman,
(bakery of faith)
where life and rugelach
are delicious, dammit,
and refuse to stop. Echoes of that horrid blast
fill my earseyesheartsoul
as I sit here once again
and defiantly enjoy my pastry.

J. L. Gordon St: A One-Street Poem

J. L. Gordon St: A One-Street Poem
© Rabbi Menachem CreditorI wander.
Just a normal morning walk
past coffee shops and cracked pavement,
pedestrians, dogs, and bicycles.I lift up my eyes.
"Miklat Tzibori/Public Bomb Shelter"
on a sign over an agency
for handicapped children. I wonder:
Can any morning walk
under such a reminder
be normal? I lift up my eyes.
A construction site
for an already-sold out
apartment building,
a crane overhead
bearing its burden. I wonder:
Has ever before
been dreamt into reality
such a holy tool,
capable of defying
the very ground upon which it stands? I lift up my eyes.
The ocean,
crashing as it always has,
salt and water, remnants of
all that has ever been
all that is
all that will ever be. I wander
down still-soft pavement,
remove my shoes,
revel in soft, warm sand,
soak in glorious sunshine,
rejoice at the sounds,
of my children's laughter. And I know:
We are the cracked pavement,
the salt and the water,
the shelter and t…

The Streets of Tel Aviv

The Streets of Tel Aviv © Rabbi Menachem Creditor
The streets of Tel Aviv are so incredibly real. Jewish poets' names on street signs, playgrounds named for righteous gentiles, memorials for a slain leader flanked by a utility cover emblazoned with the name of a Hebrew municipality...
...a mechitza minyan housed in a local high school named for a Russian Yiddish writer (who was killed in the Warsaw Ghetto holding a copy of the Zohar), prayers led by women and gay men, a room filled with brides and grooms and and babies and scholars and melodies from a start-up minyan in New York...
As opposed to Jerusalem, whose very air is pervaded by mythic power, the amazing world of Tel Aviv is real and gritty, grounded and reflective of living Judaism defined by living Jews making day-to-day life. I'm not sure which is holier any more.

A Comment on Justice and Israeli Democracy

A Comment on Justice and Israeli Democracy
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
sparked in conversation with Yehuda KurtzerOf course, 'justice' is so very complicated, and democracy is, at  best, people reaching together towards a just, collective future. I defended (and continue to defend) Israel's right to defend itself militarily. I don't claim to know all of the security information the government has. I also took public positions supporting Israeli investigations into Israel's conduct during the war, and write critically (as I did recently in reaction to Naftali Bennett's NYTimes Op-Ed and in reaction to the proposed Jewish State bill) when Israeli government officials take positions with which I disagree. In the case of Israel's High Court invalidating Jewish converts' Jewish status based on their subsequent secular lifestyles, I believe the justices, duly appointed, made an unjust decision. Yes, it was reached through due process. But so was the US Supreme…

Crosswalk Minyan [ a #poem ]

Crosswalk Minyan
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor Perched on this porch
God's Name
spelled in leather letters
on my arm and head
I pray with the minyan below
filling streets and crosswalks
driving buses, walking dogs. To the prayers
their lives comprise
I say Amen.

Sitting at History's Intersection [ a #poem]

Sitting at History's Intersection
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor I sit at history's intersection
gazing at my Jewish coffee and croissant,
my meal and I
baked, brewed, served, packaged
by distant sisters and brothers
born of a shared origin
destined to share a collective fate. I am known fully
only right here,
a corner where the world, for once,
only exists in Hebrew translation. ----

Black Lives Matter: A Prayer © Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Black Lives Matter: A Prayer © Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Inspired by Yehudah Amichai z”l and Rabbi Rachel Barenblat in memory of Mike Brown z"l, Eric Garner z"l, and many, many others recited as part of a Pilgrimage of Lament Berkeley, CA 12/14/14
Dearest God,
We stand before you because we must.
We stand before You because truths that should be self-evident are not so evident in our country.
And so we turn to you to breathe ever more of Your Spirit into us because we find we cannot breathe, the arms of armed forces wrapped around our throats when we call out for justice.
We call to you in defiance of of a national system that betrays our noble ideals, where tanks and blood fill our streets, where every Black man, woman, and child is twenty times likelier to be killed by police. We shout to the Heavens with one, unified voice: Black. Lives. Matter.
We are called by scripture to pray for the day when we will beat swords into plowshares and study war no more, when the surplus of war …

A Newtown El Malei: Two Years Later

A Newtown El Malei: Two Years Later (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

in memory of Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison N. Wyatt - may their memories be a blessing.  
El Malei Rachamim, God, full of compassion, Who inhabits the Heavens, do You find comfort in the divine expanse? We, your children, have found precious little on earth this year.
We've had pure, holy souls torn from us, 26 of whom we remember today, two painful years and nearly 100 school shootings later. Your firmament may now be illuminated by their light, but we do not feel blessing in the increased heavenly glow. They were meant to shine in this world …

This Year in Jerusalem!

Join the  CNS Mission to Israel  this June! Click here for the itinerary and registration form! This Year in Jerusalem! open to Netivot Shalom members and others!

9 Kislev, 5775 December 1, 2014 Dear Chevreh,
I am just thrilled invite you to join me on a trip to Israel this June! 
The Netivot Shalom Israel Trip, open to CNS members and others, will be a powerful experience, with the opportunity learn more about life in Israel, visit sacred sites, meet with peace-makers and security experts, to make new and closer friends, and to breathe in the reality that is Israel, something much deeper and far richer than headlines and classes can convey.
We have done everything in our power to make the trip as affordable as possible, and richer as an experience than many. Please click the link on the left for the itinerary, costs, and registration. So far, 11 people have signed up, and we're looking to complete the registration process as

Davening in a Grove (#poem)

Davening in a Grove
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
inspired by Rabbi Arthur Green davening in a grove
trees and souls reaching
up and in
for light, for loveall of being
One now many
remembering our shared originsin this paradise of a grove
it's hard to remember
which way is East

A Comment on President Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration

A Comment on President Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

I've held back from publicly voicing my assessment of the President, but (from my distant perspective) his executive performance has seemed so inconsistent. I have never wavered in my respect for the office, nor my personal admiration for his obvious noble spirit. Tonight, by publicly airing that nobility on behalf of immigrants (among whom, in recent American history, all of my ancestors would have been counted); by acknowledging the broken-ness of our political parties; by taking responsible executive action (and by testing those encoded limits for all the right reasons) - for all of these reasons, he re-became the President I voted for.

(To those for whom every issue is one issue, I'll add: I remain concerned about our administration's apparent readiness to negotiate with Iran. Nuclear capacity is an obvious existential threat to Israel. I take the Israeli government at their…

More than 1,000 clergy urge Congress to pass the VRAA!!!

Dear Chevreh,
I am thrilled to share with you the final copy of the interfaith clergy letter in support of the Voting Rights Amendment Act, which was coordinated by Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justicesigned by more than 1,000 faith leaders from all 50 states and DCand more than two dozen religious denominations
I ask you to please consider sharing this email (and the social media links below) with your networks. This morning, we shared the letter with every Congressional office and, to amplify the faith leaders’ voices, Bend the Arc has placed a full page ad about the letter today in Roll Call which you can viewhere. Roll Call also picked up an op-ed I was humbled to co-create with Bend the Arc CEO Stosh Cotler, which you can read here:“After a Rainstorm of Voter Disenfranchisement in 2014, Congress Must Restore the Voting Rights Act”
The letter is attached and is also available alongside the ad and op-ed here:
We hope you will share the let…

hoping in between sobs [#poem]

hoping in between sobs [#poem]
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor crying singing.
hands on the eastern wall of my shul,
touching every shul,
images of bloody tallitot haunt me
as I teach hatikvah to
a new generation of
irrational hopeful Jews
(just don't let them see me cry)
begging the cosmos for peace,
knowing it's irrational
demanding it anyway
(in between sobs, of course)

Sunday Morning at 10am: “What's Really Happening On (and Under) the Ground in Jerusalem?”

“What's Really Happening
On (and Under) the Ground in Jerusalem?”

Sunday Morning (Nov. 16) 10am Congregation Netivot Shalom Sanctuary 1316 University Ave, Berkeley, CA
Free and Open to the Public 

CNS Scholar-InResidence Jared Goldfarb will deliver his final talk at Netivot Shalom, entitled “What's Really Happening On (and Under) the Ground in Jerusalem?” Explore the politics of archaeology with one of Jerusalem's most experienced and sought-after guides. Discuss what is involved in exploring the many-layered past of the holy city.

Scholar-in-Residence Shabbat at CNSBerkeley with Israel Educator Jared Goldfarb!

a quiet minyan [#poem]

a quiet minyan
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor power quietly coursing
through this quiet minyan
suddenly I am awarewind itself a whisper
loss and life and love
all mixed in fragrant airnowhere else calls
for in this fleeting moment
everywhere, everything, everyone
is right here----

go [ #poem ]

© Rabbi Menachem Creditor knowing not
what is next
nor what is now
nor what really ever wasgofrom your place,
from your familiar,
from your known,
from your very heartgoto yourself,
that might be

Come with me to Israel this summer!

IMPORTANT: Holiday Food Drive

Dear Friends,

Each year, we have participated in the Alameda County Community Food Bank Holiday Food Drive, stuffing envelopes in order to provide healthy food and hope to families facing hunger during the holiday season. Last year we raised over $5,000. We aim to at least match that communal gift this year to the ACCFB. (We're saving the cost of postage, hoping this email campaign will accomplish the same or more good for less.)
1 in 5 Alameda County residents now receives help from Alameda County Community Food Bank (up from 1 in 6 in 2010). And while donating non-perishable goods into the barrels is a good gesture, the ACCFB can stretch every $1 you donate into $6 worth of food, accomplishing far more for less. And so this is how we are asking you to make your urgently-needed gift this year. Please click on this link:, SELECT "NETIVOT SHALOM," and make a gift. $35 feeds 8 people, $50 feeds 12, and $75 feeds 18. Please fulfill our Jewish mandate t…