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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: January 2022

January 28-29

Read: ‘A Blessing for Mental Health’ 

After a week of tension and stress, we begin Shabbat with Devon Spier’s poem that beckons us in just as we are. Sourced from Ritualwell 

A Black woman with short hair looking serious and staring out a window


In the aftermath of the events at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Rabbi Shoshanah Tornberg’s prayer draws on the imagery of Abraham and Sarah’s tent, which was always open to receive the stranger. Sourced from Ritualwell 

A multicultural group of people welcoming another person into their space


Rabbi Shai Held teaches that the Torah’s repeated reminder that we were once strangers in the land of Egypt is an “urgent demand for empathy” that goes beyond simply remembering. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

A Black couple and a white couple smile and talk inside their home


Following on the theme of hospitality, Batya Diamond and Rabbi Janet Madden share their ceremony that embodies and celebrates this mitzvah. Sourced from Ritualwell

In this Evolve podcast, Rabbi Elliot Kukla talks about the profound and unexpected ways in which trauma can affect a person’s health and overall spiritual well-being. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 


January 21-22

Read: ‘When the Captives Were Set Free, God Spilled Her Light’ 

Hila Ratzabi’s poem is inspired by and dedicated to Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the people of Colleyville, Texas.  Sourced from Ritualwell 

A turquoise gem among gray rocks


Read: ‘Hearing the ‘Voice’ of God’ 

What does it mean to “hear” the commanding “voice” of God? Rabbi Howard Cohen explores this question in relation to the voice of the haftarah taken from Isaiah 6. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Sun shining over a desert landscape


Watch: ‘Making a Jewish Home (in a Multifaith World)’ 

Whether you’re moving in with new roommates or setting up a new home with a partner, how might Judaism play into that? This video will help you think through the possibilities along with your friends or partner. From mezuzahs to interfaith sharing, this is a fun and short introduction to the world of dedicating your new home. Sourced from Ritualwell 


Read: ‘COVID’s Financial Impact on the Jewish Community’ 

According to Nancy Weissman, far too many Jews were unprepared to cope with the fiscal challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. We should take notice and better arrange our finances to meet future challenges. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

Overturned jar of coins


Listen: ‘Being an Ally with Empathy, Humility and Courage’ 

What does it mean to be an ally? How can one begin to do that work? Rabbis Deborah Waxman and Sandra Lawson discuss these questions using examples from their own lives, delving into the difficulty of saying and doing the right thing at the right time. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience 


January 14-15

Read: ‘Morning Made Whole’ 

This poem by Marc Jacobs reflects the path of the Jewish prayer service, evoking messages of peace and love. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Person looking out onto a body of water at sunrise


Listen: ‘Shirat Ha-Asavim/The Song of the Grasses’ 

Naomi Shemer sings, “Know that each and every shepherd has his own tune. Know that each and every grass has its own song. And from the song of the grasses, the tune of the shepherd is made.” Sourced from Ritualwell 


Read: ‘Renewing the Face of the Earth’ 

Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg addresses global climate disruption through the lens of Torah. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

A conifer forest from above


Listen: ‘Wide as the Water (Mi Hamokha) 

“From the narrow places, embracing the expanse, in these waters we are renewed,” sing Heather Paul and Batya Diamond. Sourced from Ritualwell


Watch: ‘A New Year For The Trees/Tu B’Sh’vat Matters’ 

Hold your own Tu B’Sh’vat seder using Ellen Bernstein’s text or watch a documentary of the seder taking place at Hampshire College.  Sourced from Ritualwell 


January 7-8

Read: ‘Blessing in Honor of Ritualwell’s 20th Anniversary’ 

On this special occasion, Rabbi Deborah Waxman draws from the works of poet Marcia Falk to offer a blessing on 20 years of providing rich resources to the Jewish community. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Sunrise at the beach


This is a time of year that people talk a lot about their bodies. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg reminds us of the many wonders they possess and reveal. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Hands outstretched against an abstract background


Poet Tiferet Welch reflects on this week’s parashah alongside our current political situation. Sourced from Ritualwell


Rabbi Yael Ridberg compares the rituals surrounding American democracy and the Exodus story and explains the importance they share as sacred myths and master stories. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

The Washington Monument and reflecting pool from a distance with red flowers in the foreground


In this episode celebrating the career of Evolve’s executive producer, Rabbi Jacob Staub, Rabbi Deborah Waxman traces how he went from being a secular college student intent on pursuing a literary life to one of the most influential Reconstructionist thinkers, writers, and teachers of the past 50 years. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations


December 31-January 1

Winter is here, and Rabbi David G. Winship shares his blessing for outer and inner warmth. Sourced from Ritualwell

A woman drinking coffee by a wood fireplace


As we greet a new year, Rabbi Janet Madden reflects upon the continued “‘new normal’ that we do not recognize.” Sourced from Ritualwell 

Woman in a surgical mask kneeling by a wall outside

Rabbi Shawn Zevit, with Rabbis Margot Stein and Rayzel Raphael, welcome in the angels of Shabbat with an arrangement of Rabbi Steve Seger’s setting of the classic song. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

According to Maia Conrad, every change in time, including the lengthening of daylight and a new year, is an opportunity to start over. Sourced from Ritualwell

Sunrise at the beach

In this d’var Torah, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben teaches that “when God tells Moses that he was known by a different name to the patriarchs, it is because every moment in history, and every challenge we face personally demands that we draw upon a different quality of holiness to emulate in our lives. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Black hand and white hand nearly touching against a sky backdrop

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