By Stephen E. Lipken
A pre-Selichot Program, “Is the Jewish State for All Jews?” was hosted by Shaarei Tikvah, on 46 Fox Meadow Road, Scarsdale on Saturday evening, September 1, featuring a conversation between Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Maital Friedman on repairing the relationship between North American and Israeli Jews, attended by a rapt, attentive audience.
Rabbi Creditor, 43 is the Pearl and Ira Meyer Scholar-in-Residence at UJA-Federation NY. Friedman is the Muslim Leadership Initiative Alumni Director at Sholom Hartman Institute of North America.
“Tonight’s theme is related to this week’s parsha, ‘Nitzavim,’ where Moses is telling the people that teshuva, penitence is not too far from anyone…It is something that is in your mouth and in your heart…You may be vulnerable even when you are next to someone who disagrees with you…,” Shaarei Tikvah Rabbi Adam Baldachin stated.
Friedman said that the month of Elul is an anacronym for “Ani Dodi, v’Dodi li,” “I am my beloved; my beloved is mine,” referring to tensions and forgiveness between lovers, as the relationship between America Jewry and Israel.
“Our relationship with Israel is not political but religious,” Rabbi Creditor opined. He pointed to the dichotomy of his weeping against one of the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem with his infant daughter in his arms 16 years ago, versus “chairs thrown at my sister when she attempted to pray with other women at the Kotel (Wall)…”
“I will not be silent, when Israeli law denies LGBTQ couples having children or when someone accuses Israel of being an apartheid state. And Israel needs protection. When I led an AIPAC delegation, I saw an Iron Dome knock out a missile over my head,” Creditor stressed.
Founder of Rabbis Against Gun Violence, Creditor sits on the Social Justice Commission of the Rabbinical Assembly. In 2013, he was named by Newsweek as one of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America.
Creditor married Neshama Carlebach, daughter of the late Rabbi/composer/performer Shlomo Carlebach on August 26.