Learn how the Momentum Campaign is reconstructing Judaism → 

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

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: January 2023

January 27-28

Poet Hila Ritzabi, who leads Ritualwell.org, offers a little Tu B’Shvat 101 and then steps into the great outdoors to recite a powerful poem about climate change and the redemptive power of nature. It is sure to enhance your observance of the New Year of Trees.

A person touching tree bark with the video name text over top

In this podcast, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb and Rabbi Deborah Waxman explore the ways in which Jewish tradition and ecological consciousness provide compelling models for resilience and sustainability.

Podcast episode cover for Ecology

Created for the purpose of a Tu B’Shvat seder, this ritual explores the kabbalistic symbolism of the number four. Specifically, the four elements: Earth, water, fire and air.

A Black woman in a blue dress meditating outdoors

The Reconstructionist movement calls for collective teshuvah and repentance. Read about the democratic, deliberative process behind this moral call for reflection and action.

Illustration of six women on the back of a turtle with the words: unity, peace, sovereignty, accountability, restoration, equity

Rabbi Alex Weissman’s inspiring journey brought him to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College as a student. Now he’s back to teach future rabbis.

Headshot of Rabbi Alex Weissman

January 20-21

This stirring poem by Trisa Arlin confronts nature’s destructive power, yet finds hope in the power of individuals and communities to survive, assist and comfort.

A flooded road blocked off by a sign that says Road Closed by Flood

Sharing a personal story, Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann illustrates how mental illness must be treated as a normal part of life freed from secrecy and silence, the places where shame lives and festers.

Silhouette in blue light of a person bent over in a chair

While there are no specific ancient traditional rituals for welcoming a baby girl into the community, many families have found ways to fill that void. This short, animated video explores some of the new traditions.

Two adult sets of hands forming a heart shape around a pair of baby feet

Marcella White Cambell discusses her multiracial Jewish family’s experiences as a window into the Jewish community’s troubled record in welcoming Jews of Color.

Podcast title page: Creating a Jewish Community Where All Can Thrive

Centuries of living in slavery and oppression crushed the Israelite spirit. Rabbi Lewis Eron writes about how “the years of bondage undermined the Israelites’ self-confidence. Rebuilding his people’s spirit was the challenge that Moses would face for the rest of his life.”

The sun shining over a mountain range

January 13-14

Rabbi Annie Lewis’s poem takes off on a line from Lucille Clifton: “I am running into a new year ….”

A silhouetted woman in a dress opening double doors into the outdoors.

A new year begins, and we all become a little older. Judith Kerman looks to the stars seeking a “misty field above my head in the dark” and yearns for that place “where everything becomes clear.”

Person in a headwrap sitting on a hill looking up at a pink, purple, and orange night sky

Reconstructionist leader Marc Overbeck watched the most recent Israeli election returns with mounting concern regarding the future of a democratic Israel. In this podcast, he raises up two idealistic thinkers — Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan and Theodor Herzl — and offers an impassioned defense of the idea of democratic government as a force for good.

Podcast Cover: The State of Democracy in Israel and the U.S.

In this d’var Torah, Rabbi Lewis Eron teaches that “the understanding that leaders can be caught in their own lies helps us understand the biblical expression for pharaonic stubbornness — “his heart was hardened” — and serves as an object lesson for all those who find themselves in positions of leadership and power.”

A collection of stones wit one heart-shaped gray stone towards the bottom left

Multifaith dialogue has the power not just to build bridges of understanding, but to foster personal spiritual growth and transformation. Rabbi Deborah Waxman speaks with Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer and Professor Sa’’ed Atshan, a Palestinian Quaker Christian, about their experiences in multifaith work.

Podcast title slide: Multifaith Encouters

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: January 2023

January 6-7

Adva Chattler offers a new ritual and meditations to follow Shabbat candle-lighting, derived from a teaching in Midrash Bereishit Rabbah.

A woman with short dark hair covering her eyes in front of lit Shabbat candles

In their meditation on the metaphor and meaning of darkness, Kendra Watkins, whose grandfather Bill is an astronomer, says that “darkness is as old as G!d G!dself.”

A view of space with one very bright blue light among lots of stars

This d’var Torah by Rabbi James Greene was written for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend several years ago and refers to specific events occurring at the time it was written. However, its insights remain relevant more than a decade later.

Close-up on the Bible at the start of Genesis

Rabbi Sid Schwarz, author of Jewish Megatrends, discusses the phenomenon of “tribal Jews” and “culture Jews,” and the how the two groups, which largely break down along generational lines, view Jewish life very differently. He also shares lessons learned from his nearly 40 years in the rabbinate.

TrendingJewish podcast title card: Talkin' 'bout my Generation

Sundown, twilight, nightfall. Devon Spier evokes the power and importance of this liminal time, especially around Shabbat.

A landscape of rocks and trees silhouetted against a purple sky at twilight

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