Aug 30, 2015

Grateful Striving: A Prayer for the Next Ten Years of Netivot Shalom

Grateful Striving: A Prayer for the Next Ten Years of Netivot Shalom
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
in honor of everyone who has called - and everyone who will call - Congregation Netivot in Berkeley their home 
May the One who blessed our ancestors Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel and Leah, bless this holy congregation, every one of us: men, women, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers - all of us God's children, committed as a community to build the world around us by building upon the blessings we've been granted by others.
These last 26 years as the sacred Jewish home known as Congregation Netivot Shalom, the last ten of which have been lived at 1316 University Avenue, have been glorious. For this, God, we are so very grateful.
We have overcome much adversity, deepened our health as an enduring community, and opened the doorways of our Jewish tent to include more and more people, Jewish and not, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, single and married, black and white - every one of us, old and young, a cherished Image of You. For this, God, we are so very grateful.
Today we have taken the time to recount our story, relearned our own history, committed to sharing the Netivot Shalom journey MiDor leDor, from generation to generation. So many of our founders, our builders, our community's matriarchs and patriarchs, are still with us, davening, greeting, teaching, learning, smiling, comforting, lifting us all with their gracious hearts. For this, God, we are so very grateful.
Our job in the years to come is so very clear. And so, today, we celebrate our journey this far and commit to each other and to you, Adonai:
May we follow Your holy model of Tzimtzum, of contraction, of holding back and granting space, so that we might blend our desire for the highest caliber of community with the blessing of celebrating every participant's unique gifts. Toward this, Adonai, we promise to strive.
May we see the blessing of welcoming new people into our community with the same readiness for fellowship we bring to those we've known for many years. This sacred home illuminates life for so many, with Kiddush and Havdalah, learning and praying - may we see the new possibilities in each other as we seek the familiar we already know and love. Toward this, Adonai, we promise to strive.
May we remember to look through the windows of our holy sanctuary, seeing the needs and blessings in our surrounding society as clearly as we notice our own. The Jewish mission of being an Or laGoyim, a light in Your world, means that what we do right in this space is only right in Your Eyes when we share it beyond the walls of this sacred home. Toward this, Adonai, we promise to strive.
God, we ask Your blessings when times get rough. We call out in thanksgiving for this Makom Kadosh, this holy place, especially then.
God, we ask in this month of Elul for the priceless gifts of companionship and friendship. We pledge to manifest with each decision we make in the many years to come we pray to share that we, along with the entire Jewish People and all our sisters and brothers on Earth - that we are family, committed to caring for each other, to building this world from love.
May the future of Netivot Shalom continue to be as bright and beautiful as the blessed path that brought us here and allowed us to reach this amazing milestone.
Dear God, thank You for dwelling among us. We are humbled by the work we get to do as Your children.
Amen. 

............................
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
menachemcreditor.org ▶netivotshalom.org
To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to thetisch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com!
............................
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
menachemcreditor.org ▶netivotshalom.org
To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to thetisch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com!

Aug 28, 2015

Guns and Jews

Guns and Jews
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Jewish tradition has long viewed weapons as ugly, utilized only as a response to threat. The fetishizing of guns in American culture means that America's battle over the Second Amendment is also a battle to maintain the Second Command: to not create idols out of guns. It is as the Prophet Jeremiah said, long ago: "I say that there are those in our country to whom Jeremiah would say today: “On your shirt is found the life-blood of guiltless poor. Yet in spite of all these things, you say ‘I am innocent.’" 

If we stand idly by the blood of our sisters and brothers, spilled on our streets, campuses, theaters, Navy Yards, and houses of worship, we are all complicit in every death.

Open

Open [a #poem]
©  Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Suspended, floating, open
the uncreated surrounds.

Intention and blessing
overpowered by pure emotion,
experience the teacher
life the curriculum.

Each step an undoing,
every step an opening,
one foot at a time.

#poetry #poetcommunity #life #inspiration

Aug 27, 2015

From Newtown Action Alliance: Condolences are not enough, please take action to end gun violence!

Dear Friends,

Our hearts are very heavy today on the first day of school in Newtown. We remember the 20 beautiful children and the six educators and our hearts are with their families.

We are also heartbroken by the senseless shooting in Virginia that took the lives of Alison Parker and Adam Ward yesterday. The members of the Newtown Action Alliance would like to express our deepest sympathy for the sudden and tragic loss. We understand that words are not adequate in these circumstances but we offer them in the hope that they will provide even some small comfort. The families, the friends, coworkers at WBDJ7 and the community of Roanoke are in our thoughts and in our hearts.  

We are also angry that Congress has not taken action to prevent these senseless shootings after the tragic Sandy Hook shooting almost three years ago. Newtown should have been the watershed moment in America when lives mattered more than the corporate gun profits.

We know firsthand that condolences are not enough to prevent the bloodshed therefore we call on our friends, neighbors, coworkers and families to honor Alison Parker and Adam Ward by taking action to #EndGunViolence by calling your Senator at 202-224-3121 to urge them to finish the job on the background check law to keep guns away from dangerous people.

Your Senators can be found here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

It is up to us to hold our elected leaders accountable. We need your help to protect our children and families in our homes, schools, colleges, movie theaters, malls, workplaces and places of worship. The constitutional right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" should prevail.   

Po Murray
Chairman
Newtown Action Alliance
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Copyright © *2014* *|Newtown Action Alliance|*, All rights reserved.

ABOUT NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE

The Newtown Action Alliance is a grassroots organization formed after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  It works to make America’s children, families, and all citizens safer through legislative and cultural change that will reduce gun violence in our nation.


Our mailing address is: 
P.O. Box 3325, Newtown CT 06470


Please contact us at info@newtownaction.org

Aug 16, 2015

Field of Dreamers

Field of Dreamers
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

There is a field, a forest,
a sky, a place...
...every place is That Place.

So walk with intention.
Feel the breathing, pulsing ground,
inviting you forward
to field, forest, and sky.

What if there were a way
to know who hasn't given up yet?
to touch the world with their idea(L)s?
to support them through real despair?
There is. You are. You can.
Share. Don't give up. Hope.

That doorway, yours alone,
opens to you. Alone.
The world awaits your next step.

Field.
Forest.
Sky.

Aug 6, 2015

Looking Forward to Returning to Shul!


There is still time to contribute to the Spring Appeal!
Please contact the office about making a donation, or click here to give online.
 
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21 Menachem Av, 5775
August 6, 2015 

Dear Chevreh,

This summer has certainly been a full one for Netivot Shalom! It's been wonderful to receive reports of the ongoing learning and activities taking place back home. It's also been hard to be away during hard moments of loss and struggle in our community.

I am deeply grateful to our Rabbinic Intern, Josh Buchin, for his stellar leadership, as a warm, supportive rabbinic presence. It is no small thing to have a soul like his in our community, and I thank him - and the CNS Board for supporting his presence - for his hard work this past summer. Josh has, over these last three years as our rabbinic intern, brought great meaning to so many lives and moments. We're so blessed to have him as one of Netivot Shalom's spiritual guides.

The time I've spent away this summer, in Israel and now at Camp Ramah in New England, has been deeply meaningful, providing important and necessary opportunity for reflection and re-energizing. But, despite the magic of these other two holy Jewish places, I am very excited to return home and get back to shul. I regularly hear from others what a magnetic pull Netivot Shalom is in their lives. I know this well myself, especially after this time away. I look forward to seeing you all my first Shabbat back, August 22nd.

Friends, the coming year will find us hard at work to bring to life even more of our community's dreams. Rosh haShannah is just over a month away - and I just can't wait!
  
Love,
Rabbi Creditor
  
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