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Home » Virtual Shabbat Box » Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: February 2022

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: February 2022

February 25-26

Read: ‘Wrapping, Embracing’ 

A jacket, a tallit, a mishkan ... Janice Steinberg offers us a warm, embracing memory for these cold wintery days. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Woman holding up a patterned blue shawl


Read: ‘Drawing Near: An Interpretive R’tzei 

As part of the daily Amidah, this prayer traditionally requests restoration of the Second Temple and the sacrifices performed in it. R’tzei asks God to accept our prayer offerings as God previously accepted our fire offerings. The word for sacrifice in Hebrew is korban, which means “to draw near.” Sourced from Ritualwell 

A person holding their hands out towards the sunset over the ocean


Read: ‘Coming Together’ 

Vayakhel Moshe, “and Moses created a community” in the desert that through his wisdom, inspiration and sacred mitzvot that has lasted for 3,000 years. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

A multicultural group of people with their hands together


Read: ‘Liturgy to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Bat Mitzvah’ 

For this occasion, Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann created this liturgy to honor all bat mitzvah and female community leadership pioneers, classes of adult B’not/B’nei Mitzvah, upcoming B’not or B*Mitzvahs during the anniversary year, and transgender and non-binary B*Mitzvah pioneers. Sourced from Ritualwell. Learn more about the 100 years of bat mitzvah history! 

A graphic with diverse women that reads: Rise Up - Bat Mitzvah at 100


Listen: ‘Ben & Jerry’s, Amnesty International and the Debate Over Boycotting Israel

Rabbi Maurice Harris, Reconstructing Judaism’s lead staff member on Israel affairs, explains why Ben & Jerry’s cessation of selling their products in the Occupied Territories garnered such attention and what he thinks it all means. He also delves into a recent Amnesty International report accusing Israel of apartheid and narrates Reconstructing Judaism’s response, both in terms of process and substance. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 



February 18-19

Read: ‘Bridge to Peace’ 

A prayer to “open our hearts and minds as wide as canyons.” Sourced from Ritualwell 

A person's hands holding a small pink flower


Watch: Ritualwell 20th Anniversary Retrospective 

Reconstructing Judaism’s Ritualwell is 20 years old. Celebrate this milestone with its director, Hila Ratzabi, and some of the many contributors who make it one of the rich sources for our Virtual Shabbat Box. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Ritualwell 20th Anniversary Retrospective from Reconstructing Judaism on Vimeo.


Read: ‘The Torah as Puzzle: Rearranging the Parts’ 

Rabbi Jeffrey Schein teaches that “God is not so much in the details as in the relationships that hold the details together.” This week’s Torah portion offers several outstanding examples of the temporal and spatial location of events described in it. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

A pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces


Read: ‘Bat Mitzvah: Preparing Girls for Womanhood in a Changing Judaism’ 

Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell details a program involving text study, the creation of blessings and tzedakah, welcoming girls into the rich continuum of Jewish women’s experience. Sourced from Ritualwell. Learn more about the 100 years of bat mitzvah history! 

A girl reading the Torah with a silver yad (pointer)


Listen: ‘Fitness’

What’s the connection between marathon training and prayer? Can CrossFit shed light on building meaningful communities? We speak with Rabbi Jason Bonder about the intersection between fitness and spirituality. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience 


February 12-13

Read: ‘Dinah’s Month’ 

Tradition holds that the 12 months of the year represent the 12 tribes of Israel, Jacob’s sons. Adar I, the 13th month, represents Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. Rabbi Jill Hammer composed this poem to celebrate her and this timely connection. Sourced from Ritualwell

A pregnant woman cradling her exposed belly


Listen: ‘Blessing for Creativity’ 

“Blessed are you, Yah, Mother of Creation, who blesses us with your inspiration, to partner with you in the act of creation.” Words by Adva Chattler and Hila Ratzabi, music by Batya Diamond. Sourced from Ritualwell


Read: ‘A Recollection of the First U.S. Bat Mitzvah’ 

Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, z”l, recalls the “terrible deed” her father was planning to do  — present her in a public ceremony in synagogue as a bat mitzvah. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Woman wearing a prayer shawl reading the Torah


Read: ‘The Dress of the High Priest’ 

According to Ellen Dannin, the high priest’s vestments are not just fancy clothes. They are the ultimate power suit meant to make the high priest the living symbol of certain values and the embodiment of occult power. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

A woman with her hand over her heart sits with a colorful blanket and pillows


Listen: ‘Beyond Antisemitism’ 

Just days before the hostage standoff at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Rabbi Jacob Staub and Bryan Schwartzman welcomed Rabbi Deborah Waxman for a wide-ranging conversation about her recent Evolve essay, “Beyond Antisemitism.” Rather than give in to fear, Deborah argues we should emphasize Jewish identity, community and coalition-building. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations


February 4-5

Read: ‘Mazal Tov to Those with B’nai Mitzvah Celebrations Impacted by Coronavirus’ 

In this message, Rabbi Tamara Cohen offers this charge: “Today, you are an adult in Jewish tradition. You have had to face the challenges of this moment in a way that many adults are struggling with. This is not the part of being an adult your community planned to impart to you today, but it is part of being an adult.” Sourced from Ritualwell 

A rabbi and a student stand at the front of an empty sanctuary and read the Torah


Listen: ‘Ruakh Elohim: A Song of Creation’ 

As we enter Shabbat, Batya Diamond’s song reminds us that the spirit of God that sparked creation lives in us and in all things. Sourced from Ritualwell 


Read: ‘Blueprint for a Full Jewish Life’ 

Rabbi Jeffrey Schein teaches that in parashat Terumah, we add to the grandeur and structure of everyday life the holiness found in the abiding presence of God through the construction of the sanctuary (mishkan). Together, these three elements provide a blueprint for a full Jewish life. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Multiple people joining hands outside


Read: ‘Beyond Antisemitism’ 

In this essay, Rabbi Deborah Waxman offers a frame for understanding the rise of antisemitism around the world and the responses to it, and to spark constructive conversations and actions. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

Rocks in a pile


Read: ‘Havdalah Kavannah: A Separation’ 

We leave Shabbat with Rabbi Debra Smith’s reflection on the experience of separation. Sourced from Ritualwell 

A woman with dark hair behind a Havdalah candle


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