Here are some resources from various organizations on food and hunger.
First in a Series of Conversations About Jewish Life
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – Jewish Women International (JWI) and the Rabbinical Assembly brought together female leaders of Jewish organizations across America for a call earlier today with MK Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima party in Knesset. This was the first in a series of calls designed to bring Jewish women leaders together to discuss important issues facing the Jewish community.
The Israel Action Network (IAN), a project of the Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, is coordinating a North American response to the Palestinian Authority leadership’s decision to pursue a policy that has become known as Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). While the exact course of their actions is not known, it may include seeking full membership or some form of enhanced status in the U.N. during the General Assembly in late September. UDI threatens to undermine the long-standing consensus of reaching a two states for two peoples outcome based on direct bilateral negotiations; instead it uses the UN as a vehicle to isolate and place diplomatic pressure on Israel.
The Rabbinical Assembly, having recently released a resolution on UDI, is partnering with the IAN in this important effort.
Saturday's shooting in Tuscon, AZ was a tragedy. May we soon know the day when all Americans and all the world are free from senseless violence. Below please find a note from the White House calling for a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims and to pray for those still fighting for their lives.
President Obama calls for Moment of Silence for Victims of Shooting in Tucson, Arizona
"Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart."
The President will observe the moment of silence with White House staff on the South Lawn. The moment of silence will be pooled press.
Today, the President has signed a proclamation calling for flags to be flown at half-staff.
Many, many images of God have been lost in earthquake and fire and mighty waters just yesterday. And so we turn to You, Adonai, and we ask for Your strength and comfort.
We open our hearts one to the other as brothers and sisters struggling in Your world. "Above the thunder of the mighty waters, more majestic than the breakers of the sea is Adonai (Ps. 93:4)." Be with us as we offer what we can, through prayer and action, to our sisters and brothers who are suffering in Japan and who stand on alert around the world.
We ask for You to be the still, small voice after the fire, allowing space for mourning and hope in the face of tragedy. We see Your sheltering Presence and Your holy tears in the receding waters of the Tsunami and in the rescue work being carried out by so many for the sake of a fragile world.
May it be Your will, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors, to send healing to the injured and comfort to those in mourning. May You be with those who are engaged in the sacred work of rescue. Be with us as we bring shelter, food, and water to those in need.
May we merit to save many lives.
May those effected by this disaster know Your comfort.
May we act when we learn how we can help.
May our world be blessed by peace.
-by Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Not one of us can feel your pain.
Not one of us knows what it means to have our heart shattered as yours. Your grief only point out to us how empty words can be in the face of tragedy and sorrow.
The tears of our pain are but a shadow of your pain. The hurt in our soul is only the smallest fraction of the hurt you bear. The ones you loved so deeply are gone, and the pain of loss ripples through the Jewish People. We cannot heal your heart, we can only offer you our own hearts and hands, to stand with you when you need support and to cry with you when you need to cry.
Haverim Kol Yisrael - All Israel, both near and far, are your brothers and sisters. We express our commitment to be with you, to strengthen you in the days ahead and to help to bring to justice those who have attacked you, and through you, all of us.
We do not speak in your name, nor can we give voice to the pain in your heart. We can only offer our compassion and our love and we pray to God that it will be enough to see you through the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
May God comfort you and may God comfort us all.
-by Rabbi Randall Konigsburg
We are proud to launch the new face of rabbinicalassembly.org.
This new site will help us serve you. It paves the way for improved organization of our content and a better experience for our users.
We have many new features and content planned, but in the meanwhile have a look and browse and get to know our new home.
Media coverage of the Rabbinical Assembly Convention 2011:
The misleading statement by Agudath Israel concerning Magen Tzedek is a misrepresentation of a very important development in kosher food production in America. Magen Tzedek is based on our assertion that biblical and rabbinic law mandate fair treatment of workers (בל תלין), humane treatment of animals (צער בעלי חיים) and care of the earth (בל תשחית and שמירת הארץ) which can be translated into measurable standards applicable to commercial food production. These standards were developed in collaboration with SAAS, an organization acknowledged worldwide for its expertise in ethical certification programs.
We are appalled that Agudath Israel sees in ethical certification for kosher food an effort that “corrupts halakhah.” All Jews recognize that Judaism is a religion built upon ethical precepts. A central purpose of Jewish observance is to make us more decent and moral people, more capable of carrying out God’s vision of a just world.
We flatly reject Agudath Israel’s false accusations that we “harbor no respect for the very concept of halakhah.” We have always maintained that the Magen Tzedek would only be awarded to products already bearing kosher certification. Yet, we maintain that mitzvot bein adam l'makom (commandments between humanity and God) do not take precedence over mitzvot bein adam l'havero (commandments between one person and another).
Maimonides said that in fulfillment of Jewish life “one must be strict in their behavior and still go beyond the letter of the law (לפנים משורת הדין)." We see our role as ensuring that such is the case in the production of kosher food. Just as we would never delegate to the government to determine what constitutes proper kashrut certification, neither should we leave to the government enforcement of Jewish norms regarding ethical behavior. Instead of dismissing the work of one another, we call on all Jews to work together to ensure that our actions are truly a kiddush hashem--a sanctification of God's name.
Magen Tzedek affirms the eternal wisdom of Torah by bringing the moral values of Jewish religious tradition to bear on the daily operations of industrial food production, bringing more Jews to value the beauty of kashrut and Jewish observance assuring that we feel truly fulfilled when we sit down around our tables for a meal.
Contact: Rabbi Morris Allen, (651) 452-2226, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabbi Michael Siegel, (773) 868-5110, email@example.com
The CJLS recently passed two teshuvot at their last meeting:
Please click through to read the full teshuvot.
I am starting in a new pulpit on July 1st, and Eit Ratzon was very helpful. Rabbis Schoenberg and Lebeau emphasized the importance of building relationships and gave specific ways to do so. Among the techniques discussed were understanding personality types, learning the congregation's history and stories, and active listening. I also learned elements of a positive installation, advice on first impressions, and how to manage expectations. I enjoyed seeing over thirty colleagues and synagogue leaders as well. I now have much to share with my lay leaders so we can lay the groundwork for a lasting relationship.
Reflection by Rabbi Michael Pont
Countries in the Horn of Africa including, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti are experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. As a result, millions of people are in desperate need of food and water. Livestock and crops are deteriorating due to the lack of access to water and malnutrition is on the rise. A famine has been declared in two regions of Somalia, causing roughly 600,000 Somalis to flee to neighboring countries.
תפילה לאור האסון בנרבגיה
אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחוֹת לְכָל בָּשָׂר, שַׁלֵּם בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים נִחוּמִים לַמִּשְׁפָּחוֹת הַשַּׁכּוּלוֹת וְהַדּוֹאֲבוֹת עַל מוֹת בְּנֵיהֶן וּבְנוֹתֵיהֶן אֲשֶׁר נִטְבְּחוּ בְּדַם קַר בַּמַּמְלָכָה הַצְּפוֹנִית עַל יְדֵי רוֹצֵחַ שֶׁאָבְדּוּ מִמֶּנוּ צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים וְאַהֲבַת חֶסֶד. שָׂא עֵינֶיךָ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְחֶמְלָה לָאָבוֹת הַמְּבַכִּים אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם וְלָאִמָּהוֹת הָאֲבֵלוֹת עַל בְּנוֹתֵיהֶן אֲשֶׁר נִקְטְלוּ בִּדְמֵי חַיֵּיהֶם. טַע בְּלִבֵּנוּ וּבְלֵב כָּל הָעַמִּים אֵת אֲשֶׁר לִמַּדְּתָּ אֶת אֵלִיָה הַנָּבִיא בְּחוֹרֵב: לֹא בָּרוּחַ ה' וְלֹא בָּרַעַשׁ ה' וְלֹא בָּאֵשׁ ה' אֶלָּא בְּקוֹל דְּמָמָה דַּקָּה שֶׁל אַהֲבַת הַבְּרִיוֹת וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת לְפָנֶיךָ. וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן. י
Jewish Social Justice Roundtable - For Immediate Release
Erica Brody, (212) 213-2113 x51, cell (718) 608 4514
Regina Weiss, (212) 213-2113 x20, cell (357) 263 3405
Washington, D.C.; July 27, 2011—On Friday, July 29th, 170 representatives of organizations that are part of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable (JSJRT) of which the Rabbinical Assembly is a founding member, will travel to the White House for a policy briefing to exchange ideas on housing, healthcare, food justice and education. The JSJRT is a group of 21 nonprofit organizations promoting economic and social justice as a core tenet of Jewish life. The RA delegation includes Rabbis Jack Moline, RA director of Public Policy, Jeffrey Wohlberg, RA past president and rabbi emeritus of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC; Jacob Blumenthal, Shaare Torah Congregation in Gaithersburg, MD; Michael Safra, B’nai Israel Congregation, Rockville, MD; Andrea Merow, Beth Sholom Congregation, Elkins Park, PA; Ron Shulman, senior rabbi, Chizuk Amuno Congregation and Daniel Burg of Beth Am Congregation, both of Baltimore; Elizabeth Richman, program director and rabbi-in-residence at Jews United for Justice. and Jan Caryl Kaufman of the Rabbinical Assembly in New York. Other RA members attending are Rabbis Jason Kimmelman-Block, Senior Director of Leadership Initiatives and Rabbi-in-Residence, Jewish Funds for Justice; and Sheldon Lewis, rabbi emeritus of Kol Emeth Congregation, Palo Alto, CA. We are proud that Rabbi Moline will deliver the closing statement and d’var Torah to the group as they meet with the Administration. Rabbis Richman, Kimmelman-Block and Merow will also deliver kavvanot and brakhot on Friday’s program.
From Ruth Messinger, President, AJWS
In memory of departed colleagues.
Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg, rabbi emeritus, Adas Israel Congregation, Washington, D.C.
Cantor Avraham Alpert, Temple Beth Sholom, Las Vegas, NV
Cantor Andres Kornworcel, Midbar Kodesh Temple, Henderson, NV
By Stuart Weinblatt, RA Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy
Last Thursday, the RA hosted a delegation of Israeli reporters and staff of members of Knesset.
Recently, Rabbi Gilah Dror was a participant on the panel: "Conversion: Who Keeps the Gate for the Jewish Nation?" chaired by journalist Shmuel Rosner at the President's Conference in Jerusalem.
Read her remarks.
The following media articles covered the event:
This past Tuesday, JTS confered honorary doctorates on the 41 RA Members listed below who have served in the rabbinate for 25 years or more. Gilah Dror, RA President, delivered greetings, and Jack Moline, RA Director of Public Policy, spoke on behalf of the honorees. Chancellor Eisen confered the degrees and delivered the convocation address (the text of which we will post in the coming week). See the official JTS press release for more details about the event.
Remarks from the class: Rabbi Ezra M. Finkelstein, rabbi emeritus, Midway Jewish Center, Syosset, NY