Virtual Shabbat Box
Your Virtual Shabbat Box holds many ways to celebrate the day. Choose what nurtures you: listen, watch or read.
In this week’s d’var Torah, Rabbi Jonathan Kliger teaches that, as they enter the Promised Land, the Israelites “will not be able to build a trustworthy community unless each one of them is able to monitor their own moral choices … and take responsibility for his or her own actions, whether or not anyone else will ever know.”
Rabbi Josh Snyder offers a ritual to bless our animal friends as a hillula — an annual rejoicing on the anniversary of the death of an important Rabbi — for Rav Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Kohen Kook (1864-1935), the first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, who envisioned the Messianic age as a time when all would be vegetarian, and no animal sacrifices would be offered.
Rabbi Kevin Bernstein has performed hundreds of b’rit milah ceremonies. In this segment, he responds to critics who question the safety and continued relevance of circumcision, including our two prior guests, Gary Shteyngart and Max Buckler, and attempts to demystify and explain what happens at a b’rit milah.
On this Shabbat Nahamu/Shabbat of Comfort, Rabbi Lewis Eron writes:, “We do not have the insight to foresee the final resolution of the many complicated issues that confound the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. We can, however, pray with the words of the Psalmist that our prophet’s vision of a Jerusalem prosperous, secure and at peace will someday be realized.”
In the first of a two-part series examining circumcision, two critics of the practice — best-selling novelist and memoirist Gary Shteyngart and Max Buckler, author of the Evolve essay, “Be Honest About the Bris” — discuss circumcision from the perspective of morality, Jewish tradition, medicine gender norms, and the rights of parents and children.
Zoe Greenberg talks about what it is like to be a reporter and researcher for The New York Times, why she got into journalism at a time when the traditional business model for newspapers has broken down, what it is like to be raised by a Reconstructionist rabbi, and what millennials are looking for in Jewish community and Jewish experiences.
The final portion of Bamidbar, Mas’ey or “Journeys,” begins with a lengthy recounting of every encampment to which the Children of Israel sojourned during the past 40 years. Looking at the names of these places, Rabbi Jonathan Kliger notes that they are heavy with symbolism: Are they real places or states of being?
Claudia Horwitz’s life’s work has focused on integrating spiritual practice with the work of social change. In this conversation, she shares the strains that social–justice work can inflict on activists and articulates the importance of deep inner work in anchoring and sustaining individuals and groups in their work of tikkun olam.
According to Rabbi Richard Hirsh, this week’s portion asserts that “the Torah teaches that transitions are inevitable and that the key is to manage them in ways that support continuity, involve the consent of the community, and demonstrate the willingness on the part of the departing leader to support the new leader.”
What happens when a rabbi and a spiritual seeker carpool to work, stick a camera on the dashboard, and invite the world to watch? You get “Carpooling with Rabbi,” a 36-part YouTube series. Rabbi Seth Goldstein and Kirsten relay the power of talking and the challenge of driving safely while discussing weighty philosophical topics.
Inclusion is a core principle of Reconstructing Judaism, and the Reconstructionist movement has a 100-year history of expanding access to Jewish life and community. Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari discusses how our affiliated communities share that commitment and actively pursue ways to translate those commitments into practice.
On May 22, Adam Cerino Jones and five of his classmates became rabbis at RRC’s 50th graduation ceremony. Moments after being called rabbi in public for the first time, Cerino Jones stood on the bimah and performed an original melody for a line from Psalm 65, which his classmate, Rabbi Sarah Brammer-Shlay, translated as “let silence be praise for God.”
In her Senior Torah presentation, newly graduated Rabbi Sarah Brammer-Shlay challenges the notion that Jews who express solidarity with Palestinians “do not love our people enough. Ahavat Yisrael seems to have become a weapon to shame and marginalize, instead of a call to see the fullness and potential of the Jewish people.”
As we anticipated reading the book of Ruth on Shavu’ot, Rabbi David Gedzelman explores the text with an eye towards literary elements that address how Tanakh advances structures of covenantal openness, societal protection, and compassion towards the “other,” built on but transcending the requirements of the Law.
In his discussion of the biblical roots of a Jewish theology of Earth, Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow concludes that “seeing and hearing YHWH [God] as an Interbreath — Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Breath/ Wind/ Spirit — could transform our entire culture, bringing the insights of mystics and the calculations of geologists into a coherent whole.”
Have you ever heard a Jewish organization refer to itself as “warm and welcoming,” but on some level fails to live up to that promise? Miriam Steinberg-Egeth and Warren Hoffman discuss this subject in their book “Warm and Welcoming: How the Jewish Community Can Become Truly Diverse and Inclusive in the 21st Century.” The authors argue that “warm and welcoming” is not a state to achieve but a constant process.
In this poem, Cathleen Cohen reflects on the practice of counting the Omer. Sourced from Ritualwell
In his d’var Torah, Rabbi Lewis Eron teaches that we should not read the listings of blessings and curses that appears in this week’s portion as a description of the world in which we live, but rather as a vision of the world as it should be — an affirmation of our ancestors’ faith in God’s sovereignty and their belief that in some future time God’s dominion will be manifest in its fullness. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org
From CLAL: At the end of a year of learning with a teacher, we may feel we have learned what we came to learn; we may feel frustrated that we did not master more of the information we sought; we may feel awed by how much there is yet to learn, and we may feel that we have been deeply changed by the experience. Sourced from Ritualwell
Whether you’re moving in with new roommates or setting up a new home with a partner, how might Judaism play into that? This video by BimBam will help you think through the possibilities along with your friends or partner. Sourced from Ritualwell
Read: ‘The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Reconstructing Judaism Affirm Their Strong Commitment to Reproductive Justice and Abortion Rights’
Regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ultimate decision, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Reconstructing Judaism remain steadfastly committed to advocating for reproductive freedom, and the principle that abortion care is medical care and a basic human right. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org
May 13-14Sourced from Ritualwell Sourced from Ritualwell Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations
May 6-7Sourced from Ritualwell Sourced from Ritualwell Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org
Read: ‘The Founding of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ) Was Significant: Not Primarily Because of the ‘First Bat Mitzvah’“Far more radical things happened at the SAJ that did rattle the Jewish world,” according to Miriam Eisenstein, and “we should celebrate all of them, and most especially, the SAJ’s 100 years.” Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations
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These resources were drawn from:
- Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations
- Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience
- Recon Connect Beit Midrash
- Reset: Providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings
- The Center for Jewish Ethics
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