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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: November 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.


November 27-28


Read: Prayer for Change

These days everything feels in flux, and change can be very difficult. Cathy Cohen’s poem expresses the prayer that we may “meet transition without fear.” Sourced from Ritualwell

sunset over ocean


Read: This Land Belongs to No One: Thanksgiving Prayer Honoring Our Ancestors and Native Peoples’ Land

Thanksgiving can be a complicated holiday. We may feel drawn to the nostalgia of family meals and traditions, and at the same time, conflicted about celebrating a day that for many Native peoples is a day of mourning. Hila Ratzabi offers a prayer that honors both sides and celebrates this as a time to connect with family and express gratitude for the good things in our lives. Sourced from Ritualwell

cliffs and mesas in the distance under a blue cloud-dotted sky


Read: A Seasonal Hint: Jacob Didn’t Ask for That Much Stuff!

Rabbah Arlene Berger finds a Thanksgiving message in her d’var Torah on parashat Vayetzey (Genesis 28:10-32:3). Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

four stacked wrapped gift boxes and a bouquet of flowers


Watch: The Dual Meaning of ‘Practice’: Explaining Judaism to Athletes

Sports and fitness are a native language to many of us. Rabbi Jason Bonder discusses how we can translate Judaism into that native language. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Connect Beit Midrash - The Dual Meaning of Practice - Explaining Judaism to Athletes


Listen: Fixing Broken Policing: What Does Judaism Say?

Does the Talmud offer a perspective on police reform and whether it makes sense to, as the slogan says, “defund the police”? Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, a Talmudic scholar and an advocate for redirecting police funding, explains what ancient Judaism does and doesn’t say about policing. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

Black Lives Matter street protest



November 20-21


Read: Turn the Tables: A Neighborhood Is…

Shabbat is a perfect time to reflect about the larger issues in our lives and the lives of our neighbors. The campaign, Turn the Tables, Repair the World works to build upon Shabbat’s ritual base by adding that dimension to our Friday evening meals. Sourced from Ritualwell


two adult and two children riding bicylcles in the street, viewed from behind


Listen: ‘A Sliver in the Sky: A Song for Rosh Hodesh’

Beth Hamon sings of Rosh Hodesh when “we notice the moon’s just a sliver in the sky.” Sourced from Ritualwell

crescent moon in sky near sunset


Watch: Finding Your Center with Mitsui Movement

Join Yoshi Silverstein in a progression of movements to locate and root yourself in your center. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Finding your Center with Mitsui Movemet


Read: Isaac, Digger of Wells

In her d’var Torah on parashat Toledot, Ellen Dannin discusses how the story of Isaac is relevant to the time of year in which we traditionally read it. Sourced from Reconstructing Judaism

well with bucket


Listen: Spirit in Practice: Seeking Help for the Long Haul

Three teachers from different faith traditions reflect on how we can keep on struggling for justice and sustain ourselves in our communities over the long haul. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Cover art for Spirit in Practice podcast




November 13-14


Read: Veterans Day Prayer

On this Veterans Day (Nov. 11), we turn our thoughts to all those who served in our country’s military forces and pray for them with the words of Alden Solovy. Sourced from Ritualwell

row of soldiers in dress uniforms saluting

Read: Making Space for All Our Emotions in Response to the Pandemic

In her blog post, Rabbi Vivie Mayer reminds of the need to acknowledge without judgment all of the many feelings the pandemic stirs up within us. Sourced from Ritualwell

twelve small pictures of the same woman's face showing a variety of emotions

Watch: Centering Inward: Inspired by Etty Hillesum

Hila Ratzabi leads us in this meditation to connect inward to our deepest selves and meet ourselves right where we are at this moment.” Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings. Learn more here.

Centering Inward Etty Hillesum

Read: Antisemitism in Europe and America in the Modern Period: Historical Perspectives

For the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht (Nov. 9-10, 1937), Dr. Reena Friedman reviews the evidence and arguments on both sides of the debate: Is the United States exceptional in the lack of intensity and violence of American antisemitism? Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

historical image of broken shop windows after Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany


Watch: Caring for All: Biodiversity, Mussar and Our Essential Interdependence

How far do our compassion and concern stretch? Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb teaches that even as modernity wreaks havoc, Judaism anchors us in connection with all of Creation, and renews hope and joy when we extend hesed to all. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Beit Midrash - Caring For All - Biodiversity Mussar Interdependence - Fred Dobb


Listen: Covid-19 and Jewish Ethics

Rabbi Mira Wasserman explains how ethical considerations have shaped her own decisions — such as whether to drive her child to school or send him on the school bus — and how they should operate on a communal level. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

Four people holding one face mask togther


November 6-7

Read: ‘Hazak: For Our World in Transition’

In her poem, Suzanne Sabransky speaks to “this time of unexpected endings and difficult new beginnings.” Sourced from Ritualwell

three women holding hands, seemingly part of a ring of people

Read: A Prayer for Reparation and Restoration

Rabbi Brant Rosen prays that our thoughts, words and deeds guide us to a future of justice for all. Sourced from Ritualwell

Silhouetted view of person climbing a rocky hill being helped up by someone already atop the hill

Listen: ‘Shema’ Sound Mapping

This practice by Yoshi Silverstein uses breath to explore and resonate with the Shema.  Sourced from Ritualwell

man sitting cross-legged outdoors meditating with mountain in background


Listen: ‘Lekhi Lakh

Debbie Friedman’s classic song of journey and change is based on God’s words to Abraham to seek his destiny (Genesis 12:1–2). Sourced from Ritualwell

woman with guitar (Debbie Friedman) sings into microphone

Watch: Community, Polity and Civility: Insights From Jewish Speech Ethics

Current political rhetoric in the United States has become increasingly heated and disparaging. Rabbi David Teutsch explores how Jewish ethics regards issues of speech and what we can learn from them about how to recapture civility in our communities. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

Recon Beit Midrash - Community, Polity and Civility: Insights From Jewish Speech Ethics


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