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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: July 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.


July 31-Aug. 1

In lieu of this week’s Virtual Shabbat Box, we offer you a Virtual Tisha B’av Box.


July 24-25

Read: The Essence of Av

From their Sourcebook for Leaders, Rabbi Rachel Gartner and Barbara Berley Melits present a collection of “fast facts” that comprise the essence of the occasions and observances of the month of Av. Sourced from Ritualwell



Watch: Yes and No

Practice some simple, gentle stretching of your neck as a way of caring for yourself. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Yes and No


Read: The Month of Av Stands Alone

The month of Av, which began this week (Tuesday night and Wednesday), starts the nine-day countdown to Tisha B’Av. In this poem, Suzanna Sabransky describes the uniqueness of this month in the Jewish calendar. Sourced from Ritualwell

burning candle


Listen: ‘Mi Chamocha/Siyahamba’

This mash-up, sung by Koach Baruch Frazier, explores freedom and revelation through a range of music and prayer traditions. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Mi Chamocha/Siyahamba by Reconstructing Judaism

Koach Baruch Frazier plays a drum and laughs

Read: Tikkun Middot — Integrating Mindfulness and Ethical/Spiritual Traits

Rabbi Marc Margolius affirms three core teachings in the Torah: that each human being is created in the image of the Divine, that human beings must “serve and guard” the earth, and that together, we must pursue justice and peace. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

woman with hands cupping a ball of soil out of which a plant is growing


    July 17-18

    Watch: Intro to the Sh’ma 

    Rabbi Shelly Barnathan introduces breath and body movement in connection with the Sh’ma, one of Judaism’s foundational prayers. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more about Reset.

    Intro to the Sh’ma


    Listen: When There Is Light in the Soul 

    ”The Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of more than 50 women, originated in summer 2017 … aims to raise awareness for major women’s rights movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, and encourage fans to donate and rise up against oppression.” Sourced from Ritualwell

    Choir singing


    Listen: The Power of Ritual 

    Casper ter Kuile, Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and the co-founder of the Sacred Design Lab, joins Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D. to explore the ways that ritual, even when nominally secular, can help us build community, find meaning and connect our past with our future. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience 

    The Power of Ritual by Casper ter Kuile


    Read: Pandemic Ethics — Human Dignity

    Jewish ethical tradition assigns ultimate value to each human life. Rabbi Mira Beth Wasserman, Ph.D. and rabbinical student Armin Langer explore how we can intervene when policy decisions and social practices conspire to treat some people as more disposable than others. Sourced from Reconstructing Judaism Center for Jewish Ethics

    Four people holding one face mask togther


    Read: How We Close Our Prayers

    Try this poem/prayer by Rabbi James Stone Goodman as a way to quietly, thoughtfully, intentionally seal your prayers. Sourced from Ritualwell

    Person clasping hands upon a book



    July 10-11

    Watch: Jewish Values and the Coronavirus

    How can Jewish tradition guide us in navigating ethical decisions in response to the pandemic? Jewish Values and the Coronavirus is a resource from the Center for Jewish Ethics to help frame values-based decision making. Rabbi Mira Beth Wasserman, Ph.D. and rabbinical student Armin Langer introduce this new web-based resource and demonstrate how to use it to address some ethical questions we now face. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

    Jewish Values and the Coronavirus


    Listen: Starlight Practice

    Rabbi Shelia Peltz Weinberg guides us in imagining a star in the sky that is there just for you. Warm, soothing light just for you. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations

    Starlight Practice by Reset: Jewish Practice for Activists


    Listen: Including Everyone

    In her conversation with Jay Ruderman, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D. discusses his family foundation’s work to advocate for and advance the inclusion of people with disabilities, both within the Jewish community and society at large. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

    Parents and adult child embracing


    Read: Pandemic Ethics — Cultivating Community

    The central practices of Jewish life require community. Communal institutions organize people together for the pursuit of sacred purpose and mutual support. In the midst of a pandemic, we are discovering new ways and structures for cultivating community even as our buildings are closed and we practice social distancing. Sourced from The Center for Jewish Ethics, an initiative of Reconstructing Judaism

    Masked man and woman arm in arm


    Read: Still, Small Voice in the Whirlwind—A Meditation on Haftarah Pinchas

    The haftarah of Pinchas tells the story of Elijah’s encounter with an angel and a subsequent journey in which he encountered the Holy Presence. Ariel Neshama Lee, using Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s prayer, guides us into that still, small voice. Sourced from Ritualwell

    Woman searching in desert




    July 3-4


    Watch: Rosh Hodesh Tammuz — Uncovering Women’s Practices in Ancient Israel 

    We are in a time of recovering lost or suppressed histories. In this session Dr. Tamar Kamionkowski looks at a few biblical passages that hint at uniquely women’s religious practices. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash 

    Uncovering Women’s Practices beit midrash


    Listen: ‘Eli, Eli’ 

    For a moment of calm reflection, listen to Elana Bell singing “Eli, Eli,” by Hannah Senesh.  Sourced from Ritualwell 

    Stream in green forest


    Listen: Sim Shalom/Peace Like a River 

    This mashup of “Peace Like a River” and “Sim Shalom” is sung by Koach Baruch Frazier. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations 

    Peace Like A River/Sim Shalom by Reconstructing Judaism


    Read: Reflections on the Field of Jewish Social Justice: Ten Years of Training Rabbis for Activism 

    In the midst of the greatest flowering of Jewish action for social justice in America since the immigrant generation of the early 20th century, progressive Jewish organizations and Jewishly-identified activists are addressing the whole range of justice issues. Rabbi Mordechai Liebling speaks to the burgeoning interest in how Jewish teachings and practice can support and grow the movement. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

    Protester holding hand-lettered sign reading "More equality, more love"


    Read: Prayer for America 

    On this American Independence Day, Rabbi Victor H. Reinstein offers a prayer for our country, that the day may soon rise “when in rainbow chorus we shall sing, ‘We have overcome.’ ”  Sourced from Ritualwell 

    American flag projected against white background and upraised hand in a peace sign



    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