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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: June 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.

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June 25-26

Read: As We Light the Shabbat Candles

Barbara Rothstein’s kavannah (intention) for kindling the Shabbat lights invokes the power of community and our prayers for each other. Sourced from Ritualwell

people holding hands around Shabbat table, with glasses of wine and lit candles visible


Read: Queer Aliyah Blessing

As a blessing recited for going up to the Torah, Devon Spier’s prayer/poem lifts up the essence of Pride — the freedom to embrace the names we give ourselves. Sourced from Ritualwell

open Torah scroll being read from


Listen: Songs With Annie Lewis and Yosef Goldman

Rabbis Annie Lewis and Yosef Goldman composed, performed and recorded these songs as a way of creatively moving through the pandemic experience. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Songs with Annie Lewis and Yosef Goldman


Read: Juneteenth Offers Us a Day for Celebration, Reflection and Healing

Rabbi Sandra Lawson explains the significance of Juneteenth, and why it is important for Jewish individuals and communities to join in its celebration. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

abstract drawing of wrist shackles shattering


Listen: Spirit in Practice: Spiritual Parenting

A young rabbi wonders how he and his partner might cultivate and nurture spiritual values in raising their young children. Presbyterian minister Bill Borror, Reconstructionist Rabbi Vivie Mayer and Muslim scholar Homayra Ziad offer their wisdom as parents and grandparents. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings.

Spirit In Practice 4: Spiritual Parenting by Reconstructing Judaism


June 18-19


Read: Blessing for Pride

As LGBTQ Pride Month continues, we offer this blessing composed by Rabbis Erica Steelman and Joshua Zlochower, and Dr. Gloria Becker. Sourced from Ritualwell

Crowd of people waving rainbow flags at a Pride parade


Read: Kaddish for Black Lives

In observance of Juneteenth, we remember, in the words of the Jewish Multiracial Network, that “Black lives are sacred, inherently valuable and irreplaceable.” Sourced from Ritualwell

Close-up of a hand lighting a series of memorial candles


Watch: Israeli Chocolate Truffles

Making Israeli chocolate truffles with rainbow sprinkles is a great family activity to celebrate Pride Month or any time of the year. Adva Chattler and her special assistant, Ayala, shows you how. Sourced from Southern Jewish Kitchens

Israeli Chocolate Truffles


Listen: Limnot Yamaynu (Psalm 90)

Psalm 90, recited every Shabbat morning, is particularly poignant at times when we meditate on the meaning of life and death. This version, composed by Rabbi Margot Stein and performed by Miraj, focuses on the blessings that we have received and how wisdom can help us count them. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Limnot Yamaynu by Margot Stein


Read: On Being a Paradox Jew

Commenting on the laws of the Red Heifer, Rabbi Michael Cohen argues that “we should not aspire to be Orthodox Jews, or for that matter, Reform or Conservative or even Reconstructionist Jews, but rather, to be Paradox Jews. To be a Jew (or any religious person for that matter) is to understand that we cannot explain everything.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Broken stone tablets for the Ten Commandments


Watch: Radical Inclusion

Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D. joins Aurora Levins Morales and Audrey Sasson in a conversation on radical inclusion. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

Watch: Radical Inclusion



June 11-12


Read: Birkat Hodesh Ga’avah: A Blessing for Pride Month

Invoking our queer ancestors, Rabbi Lily Solochek prays that this Pride Month be one of liberation and joy for us all. Sourced from Ritualwell


clouds of colored smoke in a rainbow spectrum


Listen: ‘Gesher Tzar Me’od’

Joanie Calem sings her original composition based on a Hasidic saying that the world is a narrow bridge, but we need not fear. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Gesher Tzar Me’od by Joanie Calem


Read: Prayer for the 17-Year Cicadas

The cycles of nature are linked with the cycles of the news and the cycle of life in Jodi S. Rosenfeld’s evocative poem. Sourced from Ritualwell

cicada clinging upside-down to a wooden railing


Read: Who Has the Authority to Change Judaism?

According to Rabbi Richard Hirsh, “notwithstanding our differences, the story of Korach teaches us that for our discussions to be productive, we must strive for them to be ‘for the sake of Heaven.’” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

woman and man discussing a passage from a book


Watch: Mitzvat Ahavat Erev Rav — Loving the Complexity of Our Identities

Rabbi Shelly Goldman discusses the essay by Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman in which she explores the complexity of holding Jewish identity in relationship to other identities. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

Mitzvah Erev Rav discussion



June 4-5


Read: Permission to Shine: An Affirmation to Be Who You Want to Be (For Pride Month)

To kick off LGBTQ Pride month, we offer Devon Spier’s poem-prayer as an affirmation appropriate for everyone. Sourced from Ritualwell

Person in silhouette holding up a sunlit rainbow Pride flag walking down a street


Read: Blessing for Taking Off Masks

As our world begins to open up again, Jake Marmer marks the time in the hope “that the act of taking off the mask occurs in the safest manner possible.” Sourced from Ritualwell

person leaning out a window into a tree-line space, removing paper surgical mask from their face


Listen: Beauty

During a time when so much feels shifting and at risk, it has felt really important and grounding to me to be able to take in the beauty of the world that surrounds us. (Will Robertson, © 2011) Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Beauty (Will Robertson)


Read: Putting Aside Fear for Courage

Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, in his d’var Torah on parashat Shelakh Lekha, prays that we may “be like Joshua and Caleb, and have faith in our own abilities to make a difference in the world each and every day, particularly when we join our passions and heart and commitments to one another.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

backpacker with bedroll on back walking into desert


Listen: America’s First Bat Mitzvah

The first American bat mitzvah took place on March 18, 1922. As its 100th anniversary nears, Rabbi Carole Balin, Melissa R. Klapper and Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D. consider the history of the bat mitzvah and its evolution over time. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations


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