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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: February 2023

February 24-25

Rabbinical student Stephanie Breitsman shares how learning sofrut (scribal arts), and writing her own Megillat Esther, is deepening her relationship to our sacred literature.

A piece of paper with handwritten Hebrew script on it and a quill pen

Participants in a pilgrimage for Black Reconstructionists share their experiences. “In the Torah,” says Koach Baruch Frazier, “it says that you must go, so that you can be seen and, some say, so that you can be seen by God and that you see God.” (Originally in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.)

Participants in a recent Reconstructionist pilgrimage for Jews of African descent visit the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL.

Drawing on the wisdom of the Prophet Micah, Rabbi Barbara Penzer shows how loving encounters with others, sensing their pain, can help bring about a more just world.

A group of multicultural young adults sitting in a circle talking

Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz offers Reconstructionist language for wrapping tefillin. This prayer helps people connect to forces greater than themselves, including the wonders of the natural world.

Close-up of a person with tefillin wrapped around their arm holding a prayer book.

February 16-17

Joel Hecker, Ph.D., professor of Jewish mysticism at RRC, shares 10 aspects of luminosity outlined in kabbalistic literature. In this teaching on mysticism, he names different manifestations of the Divine presence.

A bright light shining in the dark sky

Borrowing from the Havdalah ritual, this prayer can help all parents create a sense of separation between the workday — wherever that happens physically — from the work of raising children. This ritual offers, for at least a moment, a liminal space to pause.

A mother holding and kissing a baby outside near trees

Isabelle Wilkinson’s magisterial narrative of the Great Migration may be ideal reading for Black History Month, or any time of year. In examining how his own life diverged from that of one of the book’s African American protagonists, Rabbi Benjamin Barnett offers a window into race and religion in urban America.

Aerial view of the Chicago skyline at sunset

Bummed that the Super Bowl and NFL season are over? Don’t worry, you can delve into the links between athletic competition, training, spiritual practice and Torah. Rabbi Jason Bonder, an RRC graduate who has played professional baseball and competed in triathlons, brings us along on his quest to merge to key aspects of his life.

The Dual Meaning of "Practice": Explaining Judaism to Athletes

Learn how Reconstructionist community sustained Rabbi Asher Sofman and about the values that animate Reconstructing Judaism’s new Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) program coordinator.

Screenshot of Rabbi Asher Sofman

Accordion in hand, Rabbi Solomon Hoffman talks about the relationship between waiting and hoping and offers an original take on Psalm 130.

Screenshot of Rabbi Solomon Hoffman

February 10-11

In honor of Evolve’s five-year anniversary, Rabbi Alex Weissman tackles the problematic theme in Jewish tradition of equating light with goodness and dark with evil.

Sunlight filtering through the trees in a forest

Legal scholars and activists Gila Stopler and Yofi Tirosh explain threats posed by the new governing coalition to Israeli democracy, urging listeners abroad not only to care, but to engage.

Podcast cover image: The Israeli Government's War on Women

February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. This blessing honors the people and communities making Jewish life and experience more accessible and embracing.

A blonde woman embracing a man in a wheelchair

Rabbi Elliot Kukla explores how trauma and disability represent essential aspects of being human.

Silhouette of a person using a wheelchair outdoors at sunrise

This gathering of resources explains RRC’s open policy on rabbis with non-Jewish partners, placing within it the context of trends in contemporary Jewish and spiritual life.

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pa.

February 3-4

This original music video honors the literal act of planting as well as the metaphorical planting undertaken by each generation to create flourishing Jewish communities.

The words "I am Planting" overlaid on grass and bushes

Writing about climate crisis and environmental racism, Rabbi Julie Greenberg reminds us to say “Yes” to life, to love and to nature — to be fully human and in community with others even as we face unprecedented challenges.

View of the earth from space

This ritual, for planting a tree in honor of a child, is a physical act that cultivates the celebration of new life. It also symbolizes the interconnectedness of living beings.

Two hands cupping a small seedling in dirt

In this podcast, Rabbi David Seidenberg teaches that the central purpose of the Torah is to ensure that people live in harmony with the environment and other living things.

Podcast episode cover: Special Live Episode: Addressing Global Climate Disruption Through Torah

February is Jewish Disability, Awareness and Inclusion Month. Revisit this in-depth piece that details the many ways Reconstructionist communities practice inclusion.

Paper dolls of different ethnicities and abilities above Scrabble tiles that spell out "Inclusion"

Rabbi Deborah Waxman defends pluralism and democracy, and opposes ethnonationalism, in Israel, the United States and everywhere.

Photo of Rabbi Deborah Waxman

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