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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: June 2020

Phone screen with a green box and the words "Virtual Shabbat Box: Resources for you in these uncertain times"

This Shabbat Box doesn’t contain challah or candles, but rather essays, meditations and other ways for you to engage with Shabbat.




June 26-27


Watch: Yesh Kemah, Yesh Torah  — Where There Is Flour, There Is Torah

Rabbi Nina Mandel reflects on the soul satisfaction of baking and being creative during the time of a pandemic. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Nina Mandel Beit Midrash Baking


Listen: You Have Ravished My Heart, My Sister

Alexander Massey assembled the lyrics for this song from phrases in Song of Songs (Shir Hashirim 3:6, 4:1, 4:9). Wonderfully, the words of the chorus refer to the bride as a “sister.” So, while the song is orientated towards a same-sex relationship of two women and a relationship of equals, it can also be sung at a heterosexual wedding, specifically for the bride. Sourced from Ritualwell

Bride in wedding dress holding bouquet, head and face not visible


Listen: Living in Beloved Community

Rabbi Deborah Waxman speaks with Rabbi Sara Luria, co-founder of Beloved, a home-based spiritual community in Brooklyn, N.Y. Their conversation explores the power of putting love, nurturing and acceptance at the center of community life. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

sunset over Manhattan viewed from a park in Brooklyn - figures visible at a picnic table in silhouette


Read: Pandemic Ethics — Distributive Justice

The practice of tzedakah/support for the poor is an expression of the Torah’s commitment to tzedek/justice. But its vision of social justice is distant from today’s reality, in which great disparities between rich and poor have been exposed and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Rabbi Mira Wasserman and rabbinical student Armin Langer ask, “When the risk of illness is not fairly distributed, how can we use our resources to advance justice?” Sourced from Reconstructing Judaism Center for Jewish Ethics

Man checking out at grocery story wearing gloves, holding a box of raisin bran


Read: Queer/Chosen Family Gender Neutral Blessing for the Children

Judaism has a beautiful tradition of blessing the children on Friday night. Rakhel Silverman’s resource makes this ritual inclusive for all kinds of families — those that want a gender-neutral traditional version and those that are not the traditional family structure, such as queer chosen families. Sourced from Ritualwell

hands swirled with mulitcolored paint, raised up to the blue sky


Looking for Shabbat services? Check out Recon Connect for virtual services and more live, online programs throughout the week.



June 19-20

Watch: Trust/Bitakhon: Coping With Uncertainty

If you don’t believe in a God who controls our destinies, how does one cultivate “trust” in our futures? Rabbi Jacob Staub explores how Mussar teachers explain “trust,” with a little help from Maimonides. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Connect Beit Midrash - Trust/Bitakhon coping with uncertainty


Watch: ‘A Prayer for Dad’ With the Reconstructing Judaism Staff and Their Fathers

A special Father’s Day gift from the staff at Reconstructing Judaism to honor all Dads. The poem, “A Prayer for Dad,” written by Alden Solovy, was taken from his collection, To Bend Light: Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy. Sourced from Ritualwell

“A Prayer for Dad,” by Alden Solovy, featuring the Reconstructing Judaism Staff and their Fathers


Read: Say Their Names: A Jewish Prayer for Black Lives Matter

Based on a prompt by Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Maria Pulzetti’s poem explores what it means to be a white Jewish woman in Philadelphia right now, and what do I want it to mean? Sourced from Ritualwell

Black Lives Matter protest with man speaking into PA amplifier microphone


Read: A Collective Meditation for Love

This meditation was created by the participants in “Creating Resilience: Writing and Spiritual Practice Inspired by Etty Hillesum,” led by Hila Ratzabi. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations

hand drawing a heart with pink crayon on a wooden table, with a box of multicolored crayons sitting nearby


Listen: Portraits in Faith  — Virtual Concert

Portraits in Faith presents Bat Ella Birnbaum and family in concert!

multiracial faces inside a letter P, with "Portraits of Faith" beneath.


Looking for Shabbat services? Check out Recon Connect for virtual services and more live, online programs throughout the week.


June 12-13


Watch: Ways Into Torah — Multiple Spiritual Intelligences 

On the brink of Shavuot, Rabbi Vivie Mayer shared insights into the concept of multiple intelligences as it applies to receiving Torah. Sourced from Reconstructionist Judaism: Reconstructionist Voices 

Shavuot Teaching on Spiritual Multiple Intelligence


Watch: Three Voices of Revelation — Sinai, Ezekiel’s Vision and the Book of Ruth 

Each of the texts traditionally read on Shavuot imagines a radically different engagement with God. Dr. Elsie Stern teaches that, even as we move beyond the intensity of Shavuot, these texts invite us to explore how and when we encounter the holy. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash 

Three Voices of Revelation Beit Midrash


Listen: Eilecha (from Psalm 30) — RRC Closing Circle Music Collaboration 5780 

While our physical campus has been closed due to the pandemic, we still feel a closeness to one another. And so, in May 2020, we gathered virtually for our annual closing circle. Three of our students, Koach Baruch Frazier, Solomon Hoffman and Adam Cerino Jones, put together this video from other members of the college community to create this beautiful musical piece. Sourced from RRC.edu College News 

Eilecha from Psalm 30


Read: Jews and White Privilege 

This piece by Rabbis Jessica Rosenberg and Mackenzie Reynolds provides a brief overview of American Jewish history, antisemitism in the 21st century and big questions for challenging assumptions about Jews, whiteness and privilege in the United States. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations                                                             

Masked woman at protest holding sign that reads "I don't know your struggle but I am here for you" and BLM


Read: Pandemic Ethics — Stewarding Earth  

The Torah charges us with responsibilities for stewarding the earth and its creatures. To respond to the corona virus, we have made drastic changes in our day-to-day lives that would have been unthinkable before it struck. In this guide, Rabbi Mira Wasserman and rabbinical student, Armin Langer channel our collective will to change and suggest ways we can avoid a return to our worst abuses of the environment. Sourced from Reconstructing Judaism Center for Jewish Ethics 

Sun shining through branches of a tree


Read: Havdalah — Minneapolis Uprising 2020

George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25th, 2020. This Havdalah service by Sam Schauvaney includes quotes from small-business owners in the Twin Cities. Sourced from Ritualwell

Mural of George Floyd painted on brick wall with memorial items at its feet


Looking for Shabbat services? Check out Recon Connect for virtual services and more live, online programs throughout the week.



June 5-6


Listen: Portraits of Faith Concert

Portraits in Faith presents Neshama Carlebach and Rabbi Menachem Creditor in concert!

Hands and bodies of a row of people standing in prayer



Listen: Beach Imaginings

Imagine the world breathing into you. Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg guides our breath, as if it were the waves on the beach. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations

Beach Imaginings by Reset: Jewish Practice for Activists



Watch: Help Us to Lie Down in Peace

Rabbi Deborah Waxman examines the bedtime recitation of the Shema as a resilience practice for adults. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Help us lie down in peace


Read: Meditation for Mindful Eating

Rabbi Beni Wajnberg composed the following blessing with the intention to stop, breathe and be present for the sacred action of eating and to contemplate the impact that it has on the world. Sourced from Ritualwell

Table filled with berries, cream and flowers



Read: Solo Shabbat Guide

For those of us sheltering alone, it can be difficult to find the magic of Shabbat while protecting the health and safety of one another. OneTable offers this guide to help the process of finding that special moment to exhale. Sourced from Ritualwell

Looking down on wooden table holding challah and burning Shabbat candles


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