Learn how the Momentum Campaign is reconstructing Judaism → 

Home » Virtual Shabbat Box » Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: December 2020

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: December 2020

Phone screen with a green box and the words "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. Looking for Shabbat services? Check out Recon Connect for virtual Shabbat services and other live, online programs throughout the week.


December 25-26


Read: Found

Suzanne Sabransky writes, “On Shabbat, we rest with intention.” Sourced from Ritualwell

person in white holding wooden tray with large challah


Read: ‘There Is a Portal’

In her poem, Tiferet Welch tells us that in difficult times like these, portals open to wonderous things. Sourced from Ritualwell

woman seated at computer in video call with six other people


Read: Prophets and Sages

Rabbi Lewis Eron teaches that we need prophets to point our way to the future and sages to help us appreciate our past. In his d’var Torah, he shows how Joseph is a model of both. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

open book with Hebrew and Cyrillic text, and hand resting on the text


Listen: Singing Together

Ready to take on 2021? Listen to Rabbis Deborah Waxman and Jeffrey Summit reveal how music will cultivate your “resistance of the heart against business as usual.” Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

Group of adults seated on ground outside tent around a picnic blanket, singing with a guitar


Watch: Going Up in Holiness: How Hillel’s Method of Lighting the Menorah is the Secret to Living a Good Life

In the Talmud’s debate over the lighting of the hanukkiah, Shammai starts with eight candles and goes down to one, while Hillel starts with one and goes up to eight. It matters not just for our celebration of Hanukkah, but in everything we do as well. Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein explores how going above and beyond our expectations can be a pathway to a better life. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Connect Beit Midrash - Going Up in Holiness



December 18-19

Listen: “One Becomes Two Becomes More”: A Hanukkah Song

RRC student Jonathan Cohen wrote this song for his family and shares it with us for our Hanukkah celebrations. Sourced from Ritualwell

hanukkah menorah full of blue and gold candles


Read: “Chanukah Gifts”

There are many ways to give meaningful gifts. Rabbi Rona Shapiro has some thoughts on gift-giving during a season when our culture is immersed in materialism. Sourced from Ritualwell

pile of wrapped gifts


Listen: “Bendigamos al Altísimo”: A Ladino Hanukkah Blessing for the Seventh Night

Bendigamos” is the Ladino version of the traditional Hallel and is sung on the seventh night of Hanukkah, which is traditionally observed by women with a Hag ha-Banot or “Festival of the Daughters.” This version was written and sung by Rabbi Barbara Aiello. Sourced from Ritualwell

Group gathered around of table of Hanukkah menorahs


Listen: Rock of My Heart

This meditation by Megan Madison uses a rock and a mirror to ground the listener in grounding, centering and finding divinity within. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Rock of My Heart by Reconstructing Judaism

Read: Love Trumps Power

In his d’var Torah for Shabbat Hanukkah, Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz reminds us that Hanukkah is a holiday of resistance to the establishment of a uniformity that would deny Jews (and others) the right to be different. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org.

Long-haired and short-haired couple facing a table with a lit Hanukkah menorah








December 11-12


Read: Light One Candle for Freedom, Dignity and Justice

Dedicate one night of Hanukkah to the millions of people across the world struggling to live with freedom, dignity and justice with this reading from the American Jewish World Service (AJWS). Sourced from Ritualwell

many lit candles

Listen: Refuah Sheleimah

As the days grow shorter and colder, and the pandemic spreads wider and deeper, we are all in need of some healing. Rahel (Ann R. Silverman-Limor) offers this prayer. Sourced from Ritualwell

woman in white sweater embracing person in maroon sweater, outdoors in snowy landscape


Read: Who Is a Jew?

Hanukkah always brings up issues of Jewish identity. It is a good time to ponder the thoughts of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan on this perennial question — Who is a Jew? Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

gold star of David on chain, on reflective black surface


Read: Eight Nights of Wellness: A Hanukkah Inventory

Temple Israel in Minneapolis adds new meaning to Hanukkah candle-lighting with a truly needed focus on self-care and well-being — eight dimensions of wellness in which each candle becomes a light for self-care. Sourced from Ritualwell

people seated outdoors meditating with eyes closed and hands clasped


Watch: Justice. Relationships. Spiritual Practice.

The prophet Micah teaches us a basic formula for living a good life. Rabbi Barbara Penzner explores how we can learn from the life and the wise words of this prophet to give our lives meaning every day. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Connect Beit Midrash - Justice, relationships, spiritual practice



December 4-5


Read: Contemporary Shabbat Evening Kiddush

Rabbi Brant Rosen offers a kiddush prayer to inspire us “with the possibilities of a world yet to be.” Sourced from Ritualwell

Hands holding kiddush cup


Listen: Morning Berakhot with Lesser-Known Names for G-d

Rachie Lewis leads a meditation on the traditional morning blessings using some lesser-known names for God as part of these berakhot. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Man meditating while sitting cross-legged in the woods


Read: How to Breathe You

With her poem/meditation, Amy Steingart makes a space between the anxiety of the week and the comforting support that Shabbat brings. Sourced from Ritualwell

woman wearing mask and head covering


Watch: My Journey Through the Wilderness: What I Learned About Patience, Suffering and Resilience

After a 21-year journey from his ordination to taking his first full-time congregational position, Rabbi Dan Aronson shares what he learned about patience, suffering and resilience that finds echoes in our sacred texts, and suggests how we might deal with adversity and the postponement of our dreams. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Beit Midrash: My Journey Through the Wilderness: What I Learned About Patience, Suffering and Resilience


Listen: Creativity and Counterculture

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld discusses the theme of disruption as an opportunity for Jewish creativity. While this was recorded before the pandemic, it still speaks to our current moment. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish teachings on resilience

old-fashioned globe incandescent light bulb


These resources were drawn from:


Previous Virtual Shabbat Boxes by month: 

The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

The Reconstructionist Network