Jan 31, 2014
Jan 26, 2014
Jan 24, 2014
Jan 23, 2014
Kosher Pop-Ups in Berkeley - A kosher fine dining experience! Sunday, Feb. 16 at the West Side Café, 2570 9th St. (X Parker)
at the West Side Café, 2570 9th Street X Parker, Berkeley
No-host cocktail hour
Followed by A Modern American Meal prepared by Epic Bites
Featuring pastured Grow and Behold beef (veg option available)
Under the Kosher Supervision of Congregation Beth Israel and Beth Jacob Congregation.
*Kosher Pop-Ups is a community effort bringing unique kosher experiences to Bay Area food lovers.
"We are here for the food and not for profit."
Seating is extremely limited.
Reservation link will open early next week, watch for it in your inbox.
Questions or more info: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Announcing the Publication of Rabbi Creditor’s New Poetry Collection / FIERCE FEELINGS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Announcing the Publication of Rabbi Creditor's New Poetry Collection / FIERCE FEELINGS
This second collection of poetry by author and musician Rabbi Menachem Creditor reflects what foreword contributor Dan Schifrin calls "one teacher's theology of the everyday." FIERCE FEELINGS is a lyrical invitation to a sacred experience with the world.
About Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbi Menachem Creditor serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, CA. Named by Newsweek as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in America, he is a published author, musician, teacher and activist who has spent time working locally, in Ghana, and in the White House to amplify the prophetic Jewish voice in the world. His most recent books are "Peace in Our Cities: Rabbis Against Gun Violence" and "Siddur Tov LeHodot: A Transliterated Shabbat Prayerbook." A frequent speaker on Jewish Leadership and Literacy in communities around the United States and Israel, he serves on the board of American Jewish World Service, the Executive Council for the Rabbinical Assembly, and the Chancellor's Rabbinic Cabinet at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
For more information about FIERCE FEELINGS and Rabbi Creditor's other books, please visit www.menachemcreditor.org.
Announcing the Publication of Rabbi Creditor’s New Poetry Collection / FIERCE FEELINGS
About Rabbi Menachem Creditor
For more information about FIERCE FEELINGS and Rabbi Creditor’s other books, please visit www.menachemcreditor.org.
Jan 22, 2014
NJ Jewish Standard: "Conservative youth seek campus revival"
Cranford grad student leads push to restore college outreach effort
by Joanne Palmer
January 22, 2014
Last year, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the Conservative movement's affiliated congregations, discontinued Koach, the movement's main outreach program to college students.
The move disappointed many in the movement, who noted that according to USCJ's own strategic plan, adopted in 2011, "a continuing presence on campus for Conservative Judaism is vital to maintain the bridge between our high school students and the young adult post-college generation."
Some alumni of Koach are now trying to restore that bridge and are putting together a new organization, Masorti on Campus. The result of a meeting between students and representatives of various Conservative groups, the fledgling organization is offering a Shabbaton, based on the signature Koach Kallah — an annual gathering of students that featured workshops, community service, text study, networking, and Shabbat observance. They hope it will be the seed of a new Conservative movement on campus. (Masorti is the name the Conservative movement uses outside North America.)
The event, to be held Feb. 21-23 at the Jewish Theological Seminary, will include Arnold Eisen, the chancellor of the movement's flagship seminary, plus Torah study and practical advice on growing Conservative Judaism on campus.
Douglas Kandl of Cranford, who recently graduated from Pace University and is about to start a graduate program there, is a founder of Masorti on Campus.
The Shabbaton is the result of a meeting Kandl and other students had with representatives of Conservative movement groups, including JTS, the Los Angeles-based Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies, Women's League for Conservative Judaism, the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, the National Ramah Commission, the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Argentina, the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and two organizations representing the movement outside North America, Marom and Masorti Olami.
"Some of them" — particularly Women's League — "are giving us money, and some are giving us advertising," Kandl said.
The goal is to draw 80 students; after two weeks, 25 had registered, which puts it firmly on track, he said.
"I was really involved with Koach in its last year," Kandl said. "We tried to save it. We were out at the Salute to Israel Parade [in New York City] in 2012, getting signatures; we got about 1,000 altogether." Kandl also helped raise about $100,000, which, when matched by USCJ, renewed Koach for a year until the organization decided to put the program on "hiatus."
"What happened next was that a lot of students reached out to me, saying that they wanted to do a Shabbaton on campus, something like the Koach Kallah, so we decided that it would be our starting point," Kandl continued.
"We also hope to run an Onward Israel trip through the Jewish Agency, and we hope that we will have a program to Israel that will combine an internship and Jewish studies in the summer of 2015."
The Shabbaton will be modeled on the Koach Kallah, but there will be significant differences. "Thekallah was more about Jewish learning," Kandl said. "We will have Torah lishma sessions, but it will be more about how to bring Conservative Judaism to your campus." The Shabbaton will feature PresenTense, an organization that works with Jewish startups, and will be coordinated by Megan Goldman, a rabbinical student who led a Shabbaton with similar ideas last year, Kandl said.
Marc Gary, executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at JTS, represented the seminary at the discussions that gave birth to the Shabbaton. He said that the seminary, like most of the rest of the movement, is working to keep college students connected.
"It is a mistake to infer from the decision of one organization to discontinue a particular college program that there is a lack of commitment among the leaders of Conservative Judaism to our college students," he wrote in an e-mail.
In a later phone conversation, Gary cited as examples of new initiatives the Nishma program, begun last summer, which provided 15 students with intensive Torah study at JTS. "We will have maybe 20 students this year, maybe more," he said.
He also talked about Reshet Ramah, a new program aimed at graduates of the highly successful network of summer sleep-away and day camps that span the country. "A significant number of Ramah staff already are on college campuses," he said. "And we have had some alumni events where we partner with Reshet Ramah here, and it attracts college and graduate students. It is a strong recognition on the part of Ramah and JTS that we already have thousands of present and former campers and staff on college campuses already."
And, of course, there is the Masorti on Campus Shabbaton.
"One of the great strengths is that it is a student-led organization, without a top-down structure," Gary said. The program's goal is to train leaders, who "will go back to their campuses and galvanize students there. It is a different concept, that students will be most effective in galvanizing their own communities."
Eric Leiderman of Englewood, a senior at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, is Masorti on Campus's director of institutional advancement.
"There are a significant number of students across North America who consider themselves to be committed Conservative Jews, or who identity with the movement as closest to the way they interact with Judaism," he said. Those students "find significance in following Halacha and have egalitarian values," he said.
"We are trying to fill the void that was left when Koach was shut down," he said.
"I think there needs to be more on campus for progressive Jews in general, not just for Conservative Jews," said Kandl, who grew up in USY, the Conservative movement's youth group, and was active in Jewish life on campus, including Hillel. "The URJ" — the Union for Reform Judaism — "doesn't have a college program right now. The market is only Chabad, Aish, and the Orthodox Union.
"We want to fill that gap."
Jan 21, 2014
Jan 20, 2014
Jan 17, 2014
Jan 16, 2014
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
weeping with the heavy beauty
feeling deeply known
sensing my heart in the past
walking with a friend
knowing the future requires more
from this older soul
than one life can provide
praying with trembling hands
in this virtual land
of dark and light
white fire on black fire
Jan 15, 2014
Rabbi Gerald Zelizer in the New York Jewish Week: "Conservative Movement’s Impact On The Left And Right"
It is true that the Conservative Movement is not doing so well.
It is also true that Conservative Judaism is doing quite well.
Conservative Judaism, as contrasted with the Conservative Movement, is a particular approach to Judaism. It stands for "tradition and change," or as someone called it "authenticity and relevancy." It also means analyzing Judaism's sacred texts, like the Hebrew Bible, historically and scientifically. Conservative Judaism understands those texts as shaped by both indigenous "Torah only" authors and themes, while also impacted by the forces of societies and religions that surrounded ancient Israel. Gauging by those two core definitions, Conservative Judaism is flourishing, even if some of its institutions are not. How so? Because the two lenses of tradition and change, and the historical study of Judaism's sources, increasingly shape the vision of movements both to the left and right of my own. Indeed, these two core principles of Conservative Judaism have permeated both Reform and Modern Orthodoxy.
The shift of Reform towards tradition has been widely observed. The new Reform Prayer Book is more traditional, Shabbat and kashrut are given a higher priority in terms of observance, and it is commonplace for worshippers wear a kippah and tallit. In addition, strong support of Israel and the Hebrew language are now central to the Reform movement.
All these late 20th century tilts to tradition followed the pattern of Conservative Judaism and Solomon Schechter, but a century later.
Modern Orthodoxy, however, has moved in the opposite direction. In significant ways, it too has liberalized towards Conservative's "change."
Prenuptial agreements, encouraged by the Rabbinical Council of America, have since the 1990s offset the unilateral power given to men to initiate or refuse a get, or religious divorce. "Prenups" provide that even when the couple ceases to share a residence, the husband's obligation under Jewish law to support the wife becomes legally enforceable as long as they are married. This is a strong incentive for the husband to acquiesce and initiate the get. The Orthodox prenup follows by decades the so-called Lieberman Clause of the Conservative ketubah, which already in the 1950s required a recalcitrant husband to have the Rabbinical Assembly bet din adjudicate his arranging a get after a civil divorce.
Bat Mitzvah is becoming a norm in many Modern Orthodox synagogues, emulating the Conservative ritual begun in the 1920s. To be sure, Orthodox synagogues do not allow the girl to have an aliyah and read the Torah as in many Conservative synagogues. But depending on the synagogue, girls celebrate this rite of passage in creative ways, like chanting a non-Torah text before the congregation; delivering a d'var Torah; and/or leading services in a separate women's only group.
And note the increase in women yeshivot and hakafot on Simchat Torah, even in Israel!
Regarding the scientific and historical approach to sacred texts, the Maggid imprint of the respected Koren Press offers "contemporary approaches to traditional texts." Its salesperson at a recent United Synagogue convention pitched the books as "incorporating modern Biblical scholarship" to the traditional texts.
My roots and allegiance to Conservative Judaism run deep and wide. My father, a graduate of JTS, served a Conservative Congregation in Columbus, Ohio for over 40 years. My own service here in Metuchen NJ is approaching 45 years. I attended Camp Ramah, served as president of USY in my youth, and later was president of the Rabbinical Assembly.
I am saddened by the struggles of our movement and am confident its leaders will find the means of revival. If not, though, I am sanguine that Conservative Judaism lives because much of its take on tradition and change has leaked into Reform and Orthodoxy. According to Brandeis University professor Jonathan Sarna, "Solomon Schechter never wanted to create a separate movement." It was the Conservative ideology he hoped would embrace much of American Jewry. It increasingly has.
Rabbi Gerald Zelizer is spiritual leader of Congregation Neve Shalom in Metuchen, NJ.
Jan 14, 2014
A Torah Scroll From War-Ravaged Poland was Just Lost in Jerusalem. Please spread the word to your networks!!
Jan 13, 2014
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