The following series of video teachings were recorded prior to the 2020 (5781) High Holidays, though the major themes discussed remain ever-present. We hope these teachings serve as inspiration for rabbinic sermons or communal learning. We also welcome and encourage use as part of streaming services.
Cultivating Resilience: Opening Ourselves to the Full Magnitude of the Days of Awe Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.
As we begin the month of Elul, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., makes the case that immersive encounters with the breadth and depth of Jewish wisdom and living can help us to cultivate resilience not only in this High Holiday season, but all the time. (31 minutes)
Ba’asher hu-sham: No Day But Today Rabbi Alex Weissman
Rabbi Alex Weissman of Congregation Agudas Achim recounts the story of Hagar and Ishmael from the first Torah reading on Rosh Hashanah as a powerful reminder that there is no better time than today for us to be our best selves. (11 minutes)
Rabbi Sid Schwarz, founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation (Bethesda, MD) and Senior Fellow at Hazon, begins his presentation with the provocative question: “What is the purpose of Judaism?” His answer to that question, summarized in this presentation, is based on his book Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World. (22 minutes)
Reflections on Breath and Spirit in Multiple Dimensions - from Personal to Cosmic Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
Join Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg in guided meditation and reflection as she examines the multifaceted role of “breath” on Rosh Hashanah. She invites us to imagine the iconic phrase “I can’t breathe” as the crying out of the shofar, calling on us to wake up to the systematic oppression in which many of us live and prosper. (35 minutes)
Learning to Grieve, Learning to Praise: Jeremiah and the Poetry of Yom Kippur Rabbi Joshua Boettiger
For many of us, the experience of quarantine has brought to the fore grief that we’ve been carrying around unexpressed, or even unknown. In this Yom Kippur teaching, Rabbi Joshua Boettiger examines the praise within our grief and observes that the two are inextricably related and intertwined. (25 minutes)
Chaos and Creativity: Brokenness and Possibility on this Rosh Hashanah Rabbi Rachel Weiss
As we all try to live through a global pandemic, exhaustion and the weight of trauma can make creativity and possibility can feel very far away. Rabbi Rachel Weiss teaches that our commitment in this New Year, this Rosh Hashanah, is to find places for all the broken pieces and put them together with in a creation of beauty, possibility, collectivity and hope. (22 minutes)
Resmaa and Rambam: Help Us Return Dr. Koach Baruch Frazier
The work to dismantle white supremacy is multifaceted. Many people ask, “What can I do to make a difference?” This High Holiday season, Dr. Koach Baruch Frazier, RRC ’24, teaches that we must not neglect the internal-facing work that is necessary to break the psychological and emotional chains that keep us distant from each other. This video explores how the teachings of both Maimonides and Resmaa Menakem can help us return to our best selves through teshuvah and through building resilience in the face of trauma. (21 minutes)