Home » Virtual Shabbat Box

Virtual Shabbat Box

Virtual Shabbat Box - Resources for you in these uncertain times

Your Virtual Shabbat Box holds many ways to celebrate the day. Choose what nurtures you: listen, watch or read.

July 1-2

Rabbis Roni Handler and Darby Leigh perform the Shehekheyanu blessing in American Sign Language, with a melody by Tzvika Pik.

Rabbis Roni Handler and Darby Leigh perform the Shehekheyanu blessing in American Sign Language

Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton suggests that the story of Korah’s rebellion against Moses in this week’s parashah, complex though it may be, offers a simple teaching about our basic freedom to challenge authority and redress injustice wherever we may find it.

Natural ditch with trees and mountains in the background

This ritual, created by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) can be used as a space for your community to mourn, sing, pray, connect, unite and separate what we knew from what we now know.

Silhouette of person's head with single lit candle

On this 246th Independence Day, as we ponder the state of our nation, why not reacquaint ourselves with the document on which the American experiment began?

Printed copy of Declaration of Independence with quill and ink

David Lubell, founder and Executive Director of Welcoming America, discusses what brought him to Ecuador, how we’ve unwittingly taught our children to fear the other and why he’s dedicated his professional life to making America more welcoming to immigrants.

#TrendingJewish 9: Welcoming the Stranger

June 24-25

With Steve Pollack’s poem, we enter Shabbat centering ourselves in the present and refreshing ourselves so we may face a new tomorrow.

A man, woman and child in a field at sunset, the child pointing into the distance

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.

Screenshot from inclusion webinar

Jill Ratzan helps us to separate the end of the school year from the beginning of summer and all of its activities with this havdalah ceremony.

Braided Havdalah candle and silver candleholders

In his d’var Torah, Rabbi Jonathan Kligler reminds us that “however lowly you may think of yourself, your projection that we share the same low opinion of you is unfounded, even ridiculous.”

Black woman putting on a red necklace looking in the mirror

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president and CEO of Reconstructing Judaism, and Rabbi Nathan Kamesar, rabbi of Society Hill Synagogue in Philadelphia, discuss the ubiquity of technology and the opportunities and challenges it brings to Judaism.

Cover image for #TrendingJewish podcast episode

June 17-18

Challenging parent-child relationships become extra difficult on these “special” days. This poem addresses the stress that might arise for daughters on Father’s Day.

A woman with long brown hair looking out a large window

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.”

Screenshot of rabbi singing and playing guitar on the bimah

From this week’s Torah reading, Rabbi David Stein teaches that ultimately, the answer to the challenge of our physical cravings may be spiritual sustenance.

a Black woman in her kitchen looking confused at a piece of cake and an apple

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.”

Close up on an olive tree at dawn

In honor of Juneteenth, learn to read the biblical scriptures through the eyes of a contemporary African-American woman with the Rev. Wil Gafney’s essay.

Close up on an open Bible

June 10-11

Cantor Vera Broekhuysen challenges the law and policy-makers to go beyond their “thoughts and prayers” in the face of dead children.

black and white photo of a hand holding a striped rock

Poet-musician David Glaser finds God in the creating of a new song.

Close-up of a person playing a yellow electric guitar

BimBam, a nonprofit Jewish media studio, has created more than 350 animated videos for children and adults. BimBam’s founder, Sarah Lefton, and executive director, Jordan Gill, explain how they have sought to revolutionize Jewish education through digital storytelling and meaningful screen time.

Cover Image for Thirteen Million Minutes from Evolve podcast

In her reading of parashat Naso with a “queer eye,” Rabbi Toba Spitzer finds the Torah coming to a successive and progressive understanding of what it means to be queer in relation to the larger society.

Crowd of people waiving rainbow LGBTQ pride flags

Opening the Reconstructing Judaism convention, Rabbis Nancy Fuchs Kreimer and Mordechai Liebling shared stories of their careers, in which they brought their theological values to life through their public activities.

Screenshots of three participants in the discussion on stage

June 3-4

On this Erev Shavu’ot, Karolyn Benger ponders the possibilities had the Torah had been interpreted by all of us instead of just a few?

Woman sitting roadside in the desert looking off into the sunset

In this week’s Torah reading, Rabbi Jonathan Kligler teaches that “the journey to the Promised Land is the journey towards a society in which we all remember that everyone counts.”

group of people silhouetted against a sunset

Summer is upon us, and so is camp season. Rabbi Isaac Saposnik, executive director of Havaya Summer Programs, discusses the latest trends in Jewish camping from shorter sessions to the rise of specialty camps.

Screenshot of podcast episode

In the face of relentless tragedy and grief, Rabbi Nina Mandel struggles to find the right words, all the while knowing how inadequate words often are.

quill pen resting on a notebook

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.

Screenshot of audio clip

May 27-28

In this poem, Hila Ratzabi shares the grief and horror of learning about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

tealights

The leaders of Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association cry out in grief and pain at the senseless deaths of 11 people in Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California.

memorial for Buffalo shooting victims with flowers and candles

Rabbi Deborah Waxman offered this prayer at the Washington, D.C., rally for abortion rights.

pro-choice protesters in front of the U.S. Capital Building

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.”

mountain with pine trees and lake

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.

Warm and Welcoming Evolve podcast

May 20-21

Read: ‘Count Her’

In this poem, Cathleen Cohen reflects on the practice of counting the Omer. Sourced from Ritualwell

clock

 

Read: ‘Blessings and Curses’

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

person serving soup

 

Read: ‘Honoring a Teacher at the End of the Year’

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

teacher with student in wheelchair

 

Watch: ‘How to Bring Judaism into Your Home’

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

people protesting in front of the supreme court

May 13-14

Watch: ‘Kein Yehi (May It Be)’

A rerun of Rabbi Moshe Heyn’s song for Shabbat because we just need it. Sourced from Ritualwell

Read: ‘Prayer for Our Power, Prayer for Our Choice’

In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court news, Rabbi Stephanie Crawley helps us to seek the power in choice. Sourced from Ritualwell  
Pro-choice protestors in front of the U.S. capital building, one holding a sign saying "Keep Abortion Legal"
 

Read: ‘An Eye for an Eye?’

Rabbi Jonathan Kliger, in partnership with Reb Tevye, teaches how the law of equal retribution from this week’s parashah demonstrates the evolving nature of Jewish tradition. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org  
Close up of someone playing a violin
   

Listen: ‘Songs of Joy and Mourning’

Shanna McKinney-Baldon, and Rabbis Deborah Waxman and Sandra Lawson, discuss a Reconstructionist, values-based approach to engaging with Jewish tradition and the ongoing process of gaining support for a movement-wide resolution supporting reparations for slavery. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

Read: ‘A New Mitzvah: Loving All Those Who Dwell in the Land’

Rabbi Toba Spitzer discusses a new consciousness afoot among forward-thinking Israelis and Palestinians that challenge us here in America to shed old ways of thinking about the situation. It also urges us to step up in ways that will promote a greater spaciousness in our hearts and minds that might lead to our being part of the solution and not just part of the problem. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations  
A heart shape created from fog on a window at night
   

May 6-7

Read: ‘When Peace Comes’

Violence continues to plague the land of Israel/Palestine. And so, along with Alden Solovy, we must continue to dream and pray for the day when peace comes. Sourced from Ritualwell   
Close up of people holding hands, one with brown skin and one with light skin
   

Read: ‘Counting COVID: From Omer to Omer

As we continue to journey through the wilderness of the COVID-19 pandemic, Betsy Teutsch spins new meaning into the tradition of counting the days between Pesah and ShavuotSourced from Ritualwell  
Stalks of wheat in a field
 

Read: ‘The Mighty Waters of Justice and Love’

Rabbi Yael Ridberg teaches from this week’s parashah that “the revolutionary love — the kind that means the absence of hate, the absence of grudges and vengeance, and with a vision of holiness of being and behavior — would mean the kind of revolutionary justice we are still working towards, each and every day.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org   
Lit tea lights on a dark surface.
   

Watch: ‘Hinei Mah Tov’ 

This video of a new setting for “Hinei Mah Tov” by RRC student Solomon Hoffman was shared at the recent Reconstructing Judaism Convention and features more than 150 Reconstructionists representing 40 of our communities from across North America and beyond. 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   
Doorway to the Society for the Advancement of Judaism
 

The Reconstructionist Network