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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: July 2021

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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.

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July 30-31


Read: Erev

As Shabbat both begins and ends with transitions, Rabbi Annie Lewis acknowledges God as the artist of evening’s changes. Sourced from Ritualwell

Silhouetted person looking at the sunset above the ocean


Listen: ‘Hashkiveinu Lullaby’

This choral setting, by Will Robertson, of the Hashkiveinu prayer from the evening liturgy was originally a lullaby he wrote for his daughter when she was a baby. It is performed by the Chorus of Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Hashkiveinu Lullaby by Will Robertson


Read: Living the Good Life

Ellen Dannin suggests that it is about relieving suffering, being diligent about our obligation to live in a Godly way, being grateful for the good things that come our way while not assuming that we deserve them and instilling these understandings in the next generation. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

View of a beautiful seaside village


Listen: Spiritual Leadership in Times of Crisis

Rabbi Joshua Lesser explores the lessons he learned about community and vulnerability as an out gay rabbi during the height of the AIDS crisis and how that experience informs his work now. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience


Read: Havdalah Prayer for Holy Separations

With Trish Arlin’s Havdalah prayer, we praise the One who makes distinctions between the holy and the mundane. Sourced from Ritualwell

A candle being lit


July 23-24


Read: Comforting Light of Shekhinah 

Tisha B’Av is followed by Shabbat Nahamu, the Sabbath of Comfort. This meditation by Ariel Neshama Lee is inspired by two biblical passages and calls to mind the presence of the Shekhinah in our lives. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Sunlit green tree canopy viewed from below


Watch/Listen: ‘Tzadik Katamar’ (Psalm 92: 13-16) 

This virtual performance (Composer: David Alon Friedman) by Nashirah: The Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia (Artistic Director: Dr. Julia Zavadsky; Collaborative Piano: Soyeon Bin) was recorded in May 2020 and is dedicated to the memory of Hannah Reich (March 2002–May 2020). Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Tzadik Katamar - David Alon Friedman - Nashirah (Virtual)


Read: ‘Dance of the Twelve Sisters’: A Tu B’Av Story 

This story was written by Rabbi Jill Hammer for the full moon festival of Tu B’Av, a love and dancing holiday that comes six days after Tisha B’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Partially silhouetted celebrants dancing


Read: The Ten Commandments 

Comparing the two versions of the commandments in Exodus and this week’s portion in Deuteronomy, Rabbi David Stern wonders what it was that God really was saying. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Two stone tablets with partially visible commandments


Watch: Recasting Our Images for an In-Person World 

As we get up from our Zoom screens, Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia helps us set an intention for re-entering public spaces and in-person relationships. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash 

Recasting Our Images for an In-Person World



July 16-17


Look: From Destruction to Restoration for Tisha B’Av

Julie Weinstein’s mixed-media image and its accompanying text evokes an interpretation of Tisha B’Av based on the concept of Whole Orchard Recycling. Sourced from Ritualwell

mixed-media college with images of eyes, almonds, growing plants against a wooden lattice, with text "destroying" and "building" handwritten on either side


Read: Out of Isolation

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg introduces the rituals of Tisha B’Av, and how they help us mourn and express grief. Sourced from Ritualwell

man hugging two children


Listen: Eli Tziyon

Rabbi Alan LaPayover chants several verses of one of the most well-known of the kinot (liturgical poems for Tisha B’Av). An alphabetical acrostic describing the destruction of Jerusalem, it is recited towards the conclusion of kinot due to the hopeful note in the comparison of Zion to a woman about to give birth, thought by many to be a messianic reference. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Eli Tziyon by Reconstructing Judaism


Read: A Contemporary Kinah for Tisha B’Av

The process of mourning on Tisha B’Av may be alien to us. But Barbara Kavadias’s poem suggests that “we do not retell the things that befell us all on one day to comfort us. We funnel it down to one day as a telescope, as a magnifying glass to focus us, so that we do not turn away from baseless hatred, where we did not love our neighbor as ourselves.” Sourced from Ritualwell

seedling sprouting in desert soil


Read: Shabbat Hazon

In this d'var Torah on the Shabbat preceding Tisha B’Av, Rabbi Richard Hirsh teaches us that “the observance of Tisha B’Av is an opportunity to re-examine the adaptive theology whereby generations of Jews managed to persevere in the face of adversity, oppression, even destruction.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Jerusalem ruins



July 9-10


Listen: ‘I Will Carry You — V’Ad Seva

Inspired by Isaiah 46:4 (“When you turn gray, it is I who will carry … I will carry and rescue you”), Rena Bransson composed this song. She reflects, “It’s about learning to hold myself and having my own back, and sometimes feeling like the universe is holding me, too.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

I Will Carry You/V'ad Seva — Inspired by Isaiah 46:4 by Rena Branson


Read: Shabbat in Berlin

Sara Stock Mayo remembers standing in the courtyard of Berlin’s once great New Synagogue at dusk on erev Shabbat. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Berlin skyline


Watch: Meditation on Hesed and Breath

Rabbi Jacob Staub leads this breathing meditation into the realm of hesed, of lovingkindness.  Sourced from Ritualwell

Meditation on Hesed - Staub


Read: Making the Epic Personal

In this d'var Torah, Rabbi Lewis Eron teaches us that, by providing us with one small but significant personal memory, Moses has made the Torah’s epic narrative of God and the Israelites into a very human story of him and his people — our people — that still touches our hearts and moves our souls. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Hiker overlooking valley


Listen: Creating a Jewish Community Where All Can Thrive

Marcella White Campbell, executive director of Be’chol Lashon, discusses her multiracial Jewish family’s experiences as a window into the Jewish community’s troubled record of welcoming Jews of Color, and reflects on the interplay of her Jewish and Black identities in making meaning at a time of personal loss. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience


July 2-3


Read: Healing for our Nation

On this Independence Day (July 4), dedicated to the proposition that we are all created equal, let us join Rabbi Jen Gubitz in praying for the health and healing of our country. Sourced from Ritualwell


American flag



Read: On Re-entering Sacred Space after the Quarantine

As our synagogues reopen for communal services, Trisha Arlin reminds us of all that we have missed and look forward to re-experiencing. Sourced from Ritualwell

Four people standing close to one another in conversation


Listen: Emet M’Eretz Titzmach

From Gayanne Deurin comes this message for listening at this critical time in humankind's relationship to the Earth: an interpretation of Psalm 85:12, “For all truths emanate from the earth.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Mx-GG Emet '20.0827 MIX 3 EMET by Gayanne Geurin


Read: The Next Generation

Commenting on parashat Pinkhas, Rabbi David Steinberg reminds us that “we retain a connection to our loved ones who have died through all that they have taught us and shared with us when they were here with us in the flesh.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

gray-haired man holding bundled-up toddler


Watch: Jewish Particularism and Universalism

In this enriching conversation, Rabbis Deborah Waxman and Shmuly Yanklowitz focus on the things that traditional and Reconstructionist Jews have in common, the challenges that social distancing is posing to community, and ways that Jewish practice can bolster resilience. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Jewish Particularism & Universalism: R' Deborah Waxman interviewed by R' Shmuly Yanklowitz


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