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Showing posts from January, 2017

our bare hearts

our bare hearts
(c) rabbi menachem creditor

signs amidst baggage claims
hijabs and yarmulkes, megaphones and pizzas
lawmakers and preachers,
images everywhere
flashes on-screen
reflected in my overwhelmed eyes

my friends are everywhere
trying to put out
wildfires with their bare hearts
trying to counter
scattershot hatred with boundless love.

i lift up my eyes
to the mountains...

I beg You God, that angels surround
detained children, fractured families
my dehumanized cousins
alone, threatened by powerful ugliness

I beg You, God: tell me this isn't happening
that my world isn't being ravaged
by a new Pharoah and his magicians

I'm begging, God.
Tell me this isn't real.

And, God,
if You can't tell me this,
tell me something else:
What must we do to make it better
before it's too late?

Yes, God, we hear You.
It's always been the same answer,
though our pain feels different this time.
We know (it's just so damn hard to remember)
that there&…


Definitions (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Enough of being defined by others. I am a patriot who is aggrieved by the actions and attitudes of this new administration. Women's Reproductive Rights have already been curtailed. Lies from the White House Press Secretary. Staffers paid to applaud at lies and cruelty at a Presidential press conference and at the CIA. The President of my country just today repeating to lawmakers the hateful and baseless claim that "illegals" (even the language is hatred) cost him the popular vote. An ugly and coordinated media campaign to de-legitimize the largest protest in US history by either rejecting recorded measurements of the immensity of its size or by attacking on of the March's organizers, smearing her as a terrorism-supporter. This on the day after the new administration inflames the fires of war in Palestine and Israel by suggesting (to hardliner "news" organizations) that the US Embassy would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusa…

Next Steps

Next Steps (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
A precious student just asked for guidance about taking their next steps. I shared a version of this with them, and thought it might serve others well, as we contemplate our own next steps: As you consider your next steps as a leader, as a citizen, as a daughter, as a grandfather, as an organizer, as a rabbi, as a friend, as a citizen, do you think you need to live up to an externalized expectation in order to be your best self? Or can we do the work of tzimtzum (sacred self-moderation), be humble enough to non-judgmentally encounter wisdom that will surround you wherever you are? Will we be willing (a la Thick Naht Hahn) to be wrong when in conversation, truly being in listening dialog ('shmi'at ha'ozen' in Pirkei Avot) with texts, ideas, and our fellow person? In short, can you allow yourself the hard work of inner growth? You are a unique emanation of God, and that is enough. You are enough. And so is every other person you'…

Upon Ending my #InaugurationFast

Upon Ending my #InaugurationFast
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor Eyes wide open, spirit renewed
I gaze at a sky, somehow
just as blue as yesterday.Before I end this elective fast
I gaze at Heaven, somehow
assured that there is yet hope. As I bring this water to my lips
I pray for strength, somehow
knowing the strength is waiting
in eyes and arms and hearts
spread across this wounded home. I close my eyes,
measure my breath,
offer gratitude,
and accept the task ahead. May Love be our portion, O Lord. Amen.

Empty Shuls this Shabbat: A Rabbinic Comment on the Inauguration

From Rabbi Creditor:  Empty Shuls this Shabbat: A Rabbinic Comment on the Inaugration Tevet 19, 5777 January 18, 2017
Dear Chevreh,
This is a tricky email to send. While "freedom of the pulpit" is one kind of dance rabbis try to manage, speaking with reverence for a community's diverse political passions in the midst of a deeply troubling American political moment is much, much trickier. 
We are not a politicized shul, not on American politics, not on Israeli politics, not on any topic. A progressive community can take nuanced and varying positions on just about every topic.
We are living in a very complicated moment, one that is above and far beyond conventional conversations about politics, and it would be rabbinic (and, dare I say, communal) malpractice to not engage. And so, I will do my part as sensitively as I can, and ask you to do the same, calling upon the best angels of our natures as we love each other through a harsh American moment.
In short, I'm shari…

#RaisingTorah Update!

CNS Homepage  |  Make a Gift!  |  CNS Calendar  |  Rabbi Creditor's Blog From Rabbi Creditor:  #RaisingTorah Update! Tevet 13, 5777 January 12, 2017
Dear Chevreh,

Now. Tomorrow. And the day after.

Now. Tomorrow. And the day after.
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor The inclination to find middle ground, a beautiful, noble mindset that speaks to and from within the Divine spirit in all people, is going to have to wait. Middle ground, the art of compromise, is theoretically possible. I believe in it. After all, my faith in God can be understood as there being truths beyond me. But. In a climate defined by: - the pervasive image of a bully occupying the White House, belittling those called to hold him accountable
- the contamination of the Executive Office by a thinly disguised and a decades-long resume of reckless greed
- a Congress whose first two acts since the election have been the proposed elimination of their own Ethical Oversight and the likely stripping of millions of Americans' Healthcare (both actions taken in the middle of the night, behind closed doors)
- an emboldened American White Nationalism, with influence in the administration (manifest in the disrespect shown ye…

CNS Men's Shelter Dinner Report

The Men's Shelter Dinner Report Men's Shelter Dinner, Sunday, January 1, 2017                          When the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls                           And the stars begin to twinkle in the sky..... It must have been about 5:30 PM.  We'd been working in the kitchen of the Berkeley Veterans' Memorial Building on Center Street since about 4:30. I grabbed the full compost container and took it outside to the west parking lot in order to empty it into the large green bin.  Luckily I looked up.  The clear sky was in that liminal space between twilight and night:  deep purple, three-day old crescent moon, and the evening star shining so brightly it brought tears to my eyes.  I urged the other volunteers to drop everything, come outside and look up!  Josh and a few others came out.  Helen called out that she saw the same view from her apartment window every night so she was just going to keep on chopping.  Everybody simmered down.  Back to work. B…