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With synagogues shuttered, Virtual Shabbat Box offers introspection, inspiration

News

This news brief was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 20, 2020 at the link:  https://www.jns.org/with-synagogues-shuttered-virtual-shabbat-box-offers-introspection-inspiration/

Virtual Shabat Box
Virtual Shabat Box

In this time of mounting uncertainty, in which the coronavirus (COVID-19) is disrupting normal life and bringing it to a near standstill,  Reconstructing Judaism is offering a “Virtual Shabbat Box” filled with essays, meditations and other resources that can be downloaded for Shabbat.

In it, clinical psychologist Ameet Ravital, who specializes in treating trauma, provides three suggestions about how to approach despair about the state of the world.

And a six-minute spoken-word meditation by Rabbi Alex Weissman, a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, advises that “arriving at the foot of the mountain, it is no longer time to ‘go, go, go,’ but rather to ‘sit, sit, sit’ and await revelation.”

For millennia, Shabbat has served as a vital source of resilience for Jewish individuals,  whether or not communities meet in person, says the movement.

“The virtual box was as close as was we could get to sending the Shabbat hug we know that everyone needs at this distressing time,” said Cyd Weissman, Reconstructing Judaism’s vice president for innovation and impact. “Jewish educators have a long tradition of sending a Shabbat box filled with grape juice, challah and candles to help people celebrate. In this time of distress, we felt the urge to send that sweetness and wisdom of our tradition to offer an extra dose of comfort and even a little joy.”

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