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Home » Virtual Shabbat Box » Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: December 2023

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: December 2023

December 1-2

Martha Hurwitz’s stunning poem evokes the liturgy of the High Holidays in asking how and why some captives are freed while others remain, investigating, agony of weighing one life against another.”

A person holding out their hands

Add a new dish to your Hanukkah festivities by learning to make Aruk, Iraqi fried veggie patties.

Aruk, Iraqi fried veggie patties.

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann writes about a very personal situation, yet her message also applies to the state of the world: finding hope when there’s little to no evidence that things will soon improve.

Silhouette of a person leaping against a sky background

Laynie Solomon, passionate teacher of Torah, explains how they draw strength from the study of Jewish texts and how Halakhah can be liberating for Queer and Trans Jews.

The Trans Halakah Project

December 8-9

In this message for the first night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Deborah Waxman illuminates the blessing of reciting blessings.

Rabbi Deborah Waxman with overlay text: Blessings of Candle Lighting

Marques Hollie, a Reconstructionist Rabbinical College student, shares that even in times of extended darkness, each day can bring light, if we just look for the miracles of right now.

Marques Hollie with a text overlay: The Miracle of Now

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer shares how she is using her creative spark to generate new light each day.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer with text overlay: Exploring Our Creative Sparks

Hanukkah isn’t a time of hiding – it’s a time to let our light shine, teaches Rabbi Isaac Saposnik.

Rabbi Isaac Saposnik with the text overlay: Hanukkah is a Time of Miracles and Wonder

December 15-16

How do we celebrate a miracles and light when so many Israeli hostages remain underground, without access to sunlight? Rabbi Amber Powers offers a way, on the eighth night of Hanukkah, to hold pain and joy.

A metal menorah against a blue background with seven candles lit

Poet Ellen Blum Barish reminds us that oil from olives once helped us rededicate the temple, and so, too, do they bring light into our dark world.

Video screen still from The Offering of the Olives

In this poem, Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein shares both emotional anguish and his source of hope.

Video still from Banish Darkness, Bring the Light with a close-up of someone lighting white candles

Rabbi Alan LaPayover demonstrates how a Reconstructionist take on this medieval poem reframes our understanding of the “Festival of Lights.”

Video still from A Reconstructionist Maoz Tzur with Rabbi Alan LaPayover

December 22-23

Rabbinical student Talia Werber reads her poem that touches on how the lights of Hanukkah can inspire and sustain us through a winter of darkness.

Screenshot of video with caption: RRC Student Talia Werber recites her poem, For Hanukkah, to Take Through the Winter

Learn about the growing awareness of the liberatory potential of Torah — and how rabbinical students are taught that Judaism and Torah are powerful, meaningful and guiding resources for movements.

Rabbinical students at RRC

Members of one congregation undertook a Reconstructionist process to fashion a statement on the war, providing a model for how to engage in the toughest of issues across vast political differences.

Temple door labeled Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation

Christmas is next week. This piece from the Ritualwell archives examines the December dilemma and how interfaith families might approach the holiday season.

Brass menorah

December 29-30

Rabbi Amy Eilberg addresses feelings of pain, anger and hopelessness that many of us have experienced during wartime. This podcast episode is about how individuals might seek healing and, maybe, how Jewish communities can address trauma to become healthier

Aerial view of a city in Israel

Focusing intention on courage of all kinds, Rabbi Shelly Barnathan chants Mi Shebeirach, asking for all of us to experience the renewal of body and spirit

Video still of Rabbi Shelly Barnathan singing Mi Shebeirach

Sheila Peltz Weinberg describes a spiritual path that leads to happiness and has the potential to reconnect us to our pure souls.

Sunlight filtering through trees in a forest

Poet and painter Cathleen Cohen covers her figurative canvas with an ode to nuance, love and kindness.

Watercolor still life of a cup holding a flower, a bucket, and a bowl

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