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Home » Virtual Shabbat Box » Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: October 2021

Virtual Shabbat Box Archives: October 2021

October 29-30

Read: ‘Gathering Shalom’

This poem by Maia Conrad is a lovely kavanah/intention to set before candle-lighting, kiddush, and Shabbat services. Sourced from Ritualwell

man toasting with chalice


Read: ‘Bridge’

Cathleen Cohen’s poem is her personal take on Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav’s classic statement of the “narrow bridge.” Sourced from Ritualwell

rustic bridge with sky and foliage


Watch & Listen: ‘The Narrow Bridge’

This musical interpretation of Rabbi Nahman’s words was composed by Emily Bengel and performed by Kol Ahava of Congregation Kehilat Shalom. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

The Narrow Bridge by Emily Bengels from Emily Bengels on Vimeo.


Read: ‘Filling in the Missing Pieces of Sarah’s Life’

Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton teaches that it is not so odd that this parashah, beginning with Sarah’s death, should be named for her life; she lives through the nation she mothered. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

young family holding puzzle pieces


Listen: Jews and Money: A Frank Conversation

Lila Corwin Berman, who writes about wealth and charitable giving, Jewish communities, and democracy, explores the origins of endowments and donor-advised funds, examining how they have shaped communal decision-making. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations



October 22-23

Read: ‘For I Am Still Sitting’

What was the real “sin” that brought destruction to Sodom and Gomorrah? Jaden Diamond suggests an answer in this poem that reflects on the story in this week’s parashahSourced from Ritualwell 

painting of Sodom and Gomorrah burning


Listen: Unending Love

Written and performed by Lorenzo Valensi, this is a joyful, upbeat setting of Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s "Unending Love," as found in the Kol Haneshamah siddurSourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Congregation Ner Shalom · Unending Love


Read: Blessing One’s Parents 

It is traditional, on Friday evening, for parents to bless their children. As we grow up, we realize that we are able to return the blessing to them as well. CLAL suggests this ritual. Sourced from Ritualwell

father hugging children


Read: Welcoming Strangers, Welcoming Angels

Rabbi Hannah Spiro teaches us from parashat Vayera that in times of chaos, when we face cruelty, we need to bring Avraham’s and the angel Michael’s hesed/loving-kindness with us, even in Sodom. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

two women embracing


Listen: Liberation From Opioids: One Rabbi’s Journey

Rabbi Michael Perice recently revealed to his congregation that for four years, he’d been addicted to opioids. Now, celebrating ten years of liberation, he has decided to share his story with his community and the wider world. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

woman with head up and arms outstretched



October 15-16


Listen: ‘Ometz Lev’ Meditation

This is a meditation to cultivate and integrate Ometz Lev, a “strong heart,” “courage.” The words of this opening niggun are a reminder that our strength comes from God and is sustained by the flow of spiritual goodness from the heavens. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings.

Reset: Jewish Practice for Activists · Ometz Lev Meditation


Read: A Prayer for Human Rights

Rabbi David Freidenreich composed this prayer for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights’ Human Rights Shabbat. Sourced from Ritualwell

Person with fist up leading protest


Listen: ‘Ahavat Olam’

This choral setting of Ahavat Olam by Will Robertson is performed by the Chorus of Congregation Bet Haverim (Atlanta). “When we sing this in services, we surround the congregation at the end of the piece and invite them to sing with us.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Will Robertson · Ahavat Olam


Read: Avraham, Happiness and God’s Open Hand

Ellen Dannin writes that Avraham’s life in parashat Lekh-Lekha reflects the key points of the Ashrei (Psalm145), and that examining the events in this portion against the Ashrei adds a new dimension to its events. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Women smiling with arms outstretched


Listen: Hidden Jews in the 21st Century

In the past few decades, a growing number of the descendants of Jews who had been forced to flee, convert, or hide Jewish practices during the Inquisition have been seeking to reconnect with their Jewish roots. Rabbi Leila Gal Berner and Rabbi Barbara Aiello discuss the experience of hiding, fleeing, “coming out”, and returning. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

building ruins in mountainous setting



October 8-9


Watch: Shema Prayer: American Sign Language and Hebrew

Rabbis Roni Handler and Darby Leigh chant the Sh’ma in Hebrew and ASL. Sourced from Ritualwell 


Read: ‘My Fig Tree’

In her poem, Nancie S. Martin recall Isaiah’s prophecy of peace and prosperity when each person will sit under their own vine and fig tree. Sourced from Ritualwell

fig tree silhouette with sunset


Listen: ‘Oseh Shalom’

Joanie Callem sings her original take on the prayer Oseh ShalomSourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Joanie Calem · Oseh Shalom


Read: Symbolism of Rainbows

According to Rabbi Howard Cohen, what we witness in par’shat Noah is the remarkable evolving meaning of a common symbol of belligerency and violence into one of peace and reconciliation. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

rainbow over a field


Read: ‘A Fresh Look at Who We Are and What That Means

In this essay, Rabbi David Teutsch reflects that “when Reconstructionists talk about the centrality of Jewish peoplehood and Judaism as an evolving religious civilization ... we are saying that reinvigorating cultural life and acting on behalf of moral and social- justice concerns must be an integral part of what we do.” Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

star of david hanging in tree



October 1-2


Read: Ritual for Turning Off Devices Before Shabbat

There are many ways to observe Shabbat and taking 24 hours away from our devices (TVs, computers, smart phones, etc.) is one way to create a day of rest and peace. Elana Bell offers several ideas for how to mark this moment of unplugging. Sourced from Ritualwell

Three Jewish people sitting down with eyes closed


Listen: ‘V’Shamru’

Cantor Marcelo Gidlin sings the verses of Torah that are used in the Friday evening service to declare the holiness of Shabbat. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Cantor Marcelo Gindlin · V'shamru


Read: ‘Elohim Hayyim: On the Amidah’

Devon Spier’s brief but intense poem/prayer can be an appropriate meditation for Shabbat B’reisheet as we re-encounter God in the story of Creation. Sourced from Ritualwell

silhouetted person sitting in front of hills with hands raised


Read: Kaplan on Creation: An Explanation of Jewish Mission

Mel Scult presents some of Mordecai Kaplan’s thoughts on the relationship between Creation and the special task and destiny of the Jewish people. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan


Listen: In the Same Place, as the Same Person

Amanda Mbuvi, Ph.D., is the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s new vice president for academic affairs. A Hebrew Bible scholar and nonprofit leader, she is the first Jew of Color to hold such a leadership position at an American rabbinical seminary. Rabbis Deborah Waxman and Sandra Lawson delve into Mbuvi’s desire to deepen how people and communities think about diversity and identity. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience


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