Nov 14, 2017
Nov 10, 2017
[#BuildOnLove NewsLetter] Mitzvah Opportunity, New Book, Essays, Videos, and Special Pricing for other Titles!
I'm thrilled to share with you the news that my second collection of essays, Intense Beginnings, is about to be published! Stay tuned for that information in the coming weeks. In honor of the new book's release, some of my other titles are available at reduced prices. (See the bottom of this email for the links to those titles, as well as some recent essays/video blogs I've shared.)
But on this Veterans Day, where we share gratitude for servicewomen and servicemen - like my amazing sister, Navy Chaplain Rabbi Yonina Creditor - who give and give on behalf and in defense of our nation, I especially want to tell you about some work in which I’ve been involved these past months, during which I joined the board of the One America Movement. It’s a remarkable movement – bringing people together across religious, racial, cultural and political divides to participate together in community service projects, and a shared meal and conversation. It started soon after the 2016 election, when a group of faith leaders sat down and mapped out a different vision for the country. We talked about how to bridge the growing divisions in our society, how to address the growing isolation we feel from each other, the “bubbles” we increasingly find ourselves living in. We dreamed about how to build a movement for a better way of treating each other — and how to begin by living out the values behind that movement. The end result was this organization, the One America Movement, led by a colleague and friend I have come to admire enormously – Andy Hanauer. I encourage you to read his piece from last May “Isolation Won’t Save Us” which you can see here. I'm also writing to ask if you’d consider contributing. I’m passionate about this work – I wouldn’t have joined the board if I didn’t believe fervently in its importance and that it can make a difference in our national life. Please consider donating here.
Chevreh, we are living in a deep, transformational moment. I myself am exploring new ways in which I can offer my gifts in the world, a world in such need of the love we each have to offer. Just this past week, I stood side by side, heart to heart, with the sublime Neshama Carlebach and other amazingly talented and passionate Jewish musicians and poured out my song, Olam Chesed Yibaneh, with an audience whose shared singing and deep hope lifted my heart higher than it's ever been before. You can witness that holy moment by clicking here. (The whole concert was ecstatic, and Olam begins at 2 hours, 9 minutes.) I share this experience not only because of the exquisite love of that moment, but also because we all deserve the hope and inspiration that moment offered.
If we hold each other right and well, if we build this world from love, then hope and inspiration will flow ever stronger in your own heart. And, in this way, I believe with all of me, we can change the whole world for the better. We must. And we will.
See below for some of titles available at reduced prices and some new essays/videos!
- What Does it Mean?
- And Yet We Love: Poems
- Primal Prayers: Spiritual Responses to a Real World
- Rabbi Rebecca and the Thanksgiving Leftovers
The Preacher's Daughter Was Shot
Facebook Live video (Nov. 5, 2017)
A Prayer after the Church Shooting in Sutherland Springs
menachemcreditor.net (Nov. 5, 2017)
Parashat VaYera: Which Fire Will it Be?
The Times of Israel (October 29, 2017)
Finding Holiness at San Quentin
YouTube (Oct. 26, 2007)
Nov 5, 2017
A Prayer after the #Church #Shooting in #SutherlandSprings, near #SanAntonio
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Please, God, please....
Open our eyes,
so that our hearts break appropriately.
How much blood must be spilled by guns in America before we remember stand for life? Before we are brave enough to do the right thing?
We cannot become numb.
We will not become numb.
Do not become numb.
Faith demands we do not stand idly by.
We will not become paralyzed.
We cannot. It is not allowed.
Not when there are lives to save.
Your Images, torn and bloodied, God.
That is what we have done,
what we keep on doing...
Tears won't bring our fallen
sisters and brothers back.
So, living sisters,
So, living brothers,
cry, dry your shocked eyes,,
and get involved.
Too much blood spilled,
sanctified ground defiled.
We have sinned,
we have sinned,
we have sinned.
And, if we take no action,
we will have learned nothing,
we will have sinned again,
and needless deaths will be our fault.
This is on us.
Help us save each other, Dear God.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 26, 2017
Oct 24, 2017
Let’s set the scene: Three parallel stories take place in “Into the Woods.” Jack (of the beanstalk) visits the sky-world of the giants, Cinderella gets her chance at the palace ball, and Little Red Riding Hood ventures off the safe path after being tempted by the wolf. Each character departs from the world they call home and plunges into the unknown, encountering both incredible highs and devastating lows. Whereas the play begins with the classic “Once upon a time,” it surely doesn’t end with “happily ever after.” In fact, “happy ever after” is the title of the closing song of the first act - a true teaching that life rarely continues (nor ends) very cleanly.
And so we turn to the Torah. Lech Lecha (the beginning of the Abraham narrative) begins with “Adonai (God) said to Abram, “[Lech Lecha] Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you (Gen. 12:1).” Previous to this communication from God, all we know of Abram is that he is married to Sarai and travels with his father, all very uninformative as to Abram’s character. Except for this - his story sounds very typical. Very ordinary. Hardly the stuff of legends.
So what makes Abram worthy of receiving God’s word? We have heard of no great deeds nor theological speculations from the text itself. There are many early rabbinic attempts to provide Abram a childhood narrative - any childhood! - but none of the creative gap-filling (known as “midrash’) can begin to answer the question. The only answer to the question can be found in the following verses:
“Abram went forth as Adonai had commanded, ...took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, all the wealth that they had amassed, and the persons that they had acquired in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan.” (Gen. 12:5)
We live with a deep desire for routine and pattern. Comfort is an ideal we crave in this world. How easy would it be to give up not only the luxuries we enjoy? If nothing luxurious comes to mind, consider Starbucks and the internet. Now imagine leaving behind caffeine and computer, family and home, language and faith community - everything you know and understand.
Suddenly God speaks to you. You’ve had no interactions with God, no one around you has heard from this One God, and your first command is: Go! Enter a thorny new life of pain and unpredictability and joy and elusive transcendence.
What do you do?
Would you go? Take that step away from the path and take a chance at glory? With no covenant established yet, Abram displays chance-taking and takes the first step of a holy journey. That first step is ours every time we pause and consider self-transformation. These are sacred steps away from the safe and the sure.
The spiritual journey is an unending path of fluctuation and newness. A relationship with any person includes the unquantifiable - that which can only be discovered once the journey begins. So too with God.
So it’s into the woods you go again, You have to Every now and then. Into the woods, No telling when, Be ready for the journey. Into the woods- you have to grope, but that’s the way you learn to cope. Into the woods to find there’s hope of getting through the journey.
And so, we begin our story: Once upon a time, a childless man named Abram and his wife Sarai began a journey with an invisible Partner they hadn’t known. There are seldom “happy ever after”s in true stories, but their story included moments of Godliness and pain, loss and joy, that they passed on to their children and their children’s children. You might be one of those descendants, but the only way you’ll really know that you’re worthy of their inheritance is if you venture yourself into the uncertain woods of faith.
Oct 17, 2017
Parashat Noach: “It will be good”
Oct 9, 2017
To Kneel (c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor for Landingham & Kaepernick, our angels in the wings Sometimes, it isn't about nuan...