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Home » Virtual Shabbat Box » Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: January 2021

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: January 2021

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.


January 27-28

This week, we offer you a special holiday box for Tu B’Shvat, the New Year of the Trees, which takes place from Wednesday night through Thursday, January 27-28. You can find it here. 


January 22-23, 2021


Read: Protecting Life: A Prayer for Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

Protecting life is our most precious mitzvah. As you receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Rabbis Barbara Symons and Doris J. Dyen of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association invite you to say these blessings. Sourced from Ritualwell

two masked women scientists in laboratory with microscope and sample tube


Read: And Now for the Good News …

Madeleine Fortney is on a mission to recalibrate herself to welcome hope and possibility with Jewish resilience and gratitude to guide her. Sourced from Ritualwell

smiling person standing in front of body of water with bridge and cityscape behind them


Listen: A Hasidic Lens on Parashat Bo

Using three selections from a collection called Iturei Torah (“Crowns of Torah”), Rabbi Les Bronstein shares what he thinks are the most astounding, provocative and informative Jewish messages that we have available to us as Reconstructionists and as Jews. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

A Hasidic Lens on Parashat Bo


Watch: How Jews Move Their Hands

Rabbi Daniel Brenner explores chironomy (the use of hand gestures to direct musical performance), Talmudic gestures, shtetl dance and Hasidic prayer, as well as Jewish teachings about the human hand. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

How Jews Move Their Hands - Daniel Brenner - Recon Connect Beit Midrash


Listen: Silver and Gold: Reparations and Judaism

Since Ta-Nehisi Coates published his influential Atlantic essay “The Case for Reparations” in 2014, a number of thinkers have made explicitly Jewish arguments for (and against) reparations for American slavery. Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein explores this claim, and what he thinks it means for present-day policies and politics. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

stack of silver and gold coins with out-of-focus clock in the background


January 15-16, 2021


Read: A Blessing of Gratitude for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Trisha Arlin offers this blessing for the rollout of the vaccine that is part of the effort to defeat the COVID-19 virus. Sourced from Ritualwell

person being injected with vaccine


Read: A Prayer for the Return of Sanity

During this time of “mass insanity,” Suzanne Sabransky’s prayer/poem echoes our cries for compassion and help. Sourced from Ritualwell

view from reflecting pool toward US Capitol building in stormy weather


Watch: Heart Meditation

Hadar Cohen guides you on a practice to feel connected to the heart space and to center in the heart. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Hadar Cohen (woman with dark curly hair) speaking


Read: Noticing Jews of Color in Our Communities

In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Carmen Amalia Corrales challenges us to become more aware that Jews of Color rightfully belong in and are a part of our communities. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

racially diverse group holding hands in a circle, viewed from below


Watch: What Does Prayer Actually Do?

Using rabbinic material, Rabbi Nick Renner looks at one vision for how Jewish prayer worked more than 1,500 years ago and what that might mean for our world today. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Beit Midrash - What does prayer actually do - Nick Renner


January 8-9, 2021

Read: A Prayer Against Insurrection

Written in the immediate aftermath of the storming of our Capitol Building, Alden’s Solovy’s prayer gives voice to shared pain and hope. Sourced from Ritualwell

United States Capitol Building at sunrise with clouds in the sky


Listen: ‘Prayer Upon Rising’

In February 2007, Kaila Shabat was inspired to write this prayer-song while listening to the “Great Mass in C minor” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Sourced from Ritualwell

woman turning to look out window


Read: These Are the Names

In his d’var Torah on parashat Shemot, Rabbi Micah Becker-Klein teaches how names have played and continue to play an important role in Jewish life. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Carton family tree


Read: ‘Vaccinate Us’

We need a shot in the arm against COVID-19, and against racism. Call out what is needed now with “Vaccinate Us,” by Rabbi Jen Gubitz. Sourced from Ritualwell

person with sleeve rolled up receiving vaccination

Read: The Origins of Creativity: A Religious Perspective

Rabbi Dennis Sasso reminds us that God is a process at work in the universe, within and among us, that makes for the fulfillment of our human potential. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

desk strewn with markers, sticky notes, pens, and other art supplies


Watch: ‘Nothing Is More Whole Than a Broken Heart’

Rabbi Amy Small and her “Kipah, Kufi, and Collar” podcast colleagues, Imam Islam Hassan and the Rev. Ken White discuss this timeless quote of the hassidic rebbe, Menahem Mendl of Kotzk, from the perspective of their respective faith traditions. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Beit Midrash - Nothing More Whole than a Broken Heart



January 1-2, 2021

This week, as we (finally) put 2020 behind us, we’d like to revisit the five most popular Shabbat Box pieces from this past year. May the new secular year bring hope, renewal and healing to all. 


5. Hitoreri, Hitoreri

In her poem, Suzanne Sabransky reimagines the verse from the Shabbat evening hymn, Lecha Dodi, that calls us to arise and pour forth our song, bathed in the dawning of a new light. Sourced from Ritualwell

Person sitting in the Yoga Lotus position alongside a dog


4. Contemporary Shabbat Evening Kiddush

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

Hands holding kiddush cup


3. Blessed You’ll Be: Mizrachi Rituals and Recipes for 5781

For this challenging New Year of 5781, Adva Chattler paired original kavvanot with traditional blessings for symbolic Rosh Hashanah foods from the Mizrachi-Sephardi tradition. Sourced from Ritualwell

Blessed You'll Be Mizrachi: Rituals for the New Year - video title card


2.  Zoomed Out, or What to Do When Everyone You Know, Love and Dream of a Better World With Is a One-Inch Talking Head in a Pixelated Box

This poem by Adam Horowitz speaks volumes to the condition of relating to each other during a pandemic. Sourced from Ritualwell

Laptop displaying multi-party video conference call


1. Prayer for Change

Poet Cathy Cohen offers this prayer-poem for change. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Silhouetted figure sitting on beach rocks watching sunset over lake


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