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Virtual Shabbat Box

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This Shabbat Box doesn’t contain challah or candles, but rather essays, meditations and other ways for you to engage with Shabbat.

    May 29-30

    This week we produced for you a Virtual Shavuot Box. Next week the Virtual Shabbat Box will be back!

    This Thursday evening join the Reconstructionist movement’s Tikkun Leyl Shavuot.



    May 22-23

    Touch: “Wrap Me Up: A Prayer for Those Who Are Overwhelmed

    In her poem, Rabbi Rachel Bearman shares the feelings of vulnerability and the need to be enfolded in strength and support and love. Sourced from Ritualwell

    View from behind of four people on hilltop facing sunrise, arms around each other


    Taste: Challah Recipes

    Ruth Heiges shares two special challah recipes to boost your Shabbat or holiday table up a few notches. Sourced from Ritualwell

    loaves of challah


    Smell: New Melody for Elohai Neshamah

    When Alexander Massey chants Elohai Neshamah, he says he affirms “my God connection, your God connection, and therefore, our inherent connectedness.” Sourced from Ritualwell

    silhouette figure sitting at the end of a wooden deck facing a reflective lake with mountains on all sides


    Sight: The Binding of Isaac in Modern and Contemporary Israeli Art

    Dr. Sharon Gershoni continues her exploration of the use of biblical imagery in art and how the Akedah was portrayed and interpreted by Israeli artists. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

    Recon Beit Midrash - Binding of Isaaac in Art


    Hearing: Tateh Libi/”Bend My Heart”

    Rabbi Vivie Mayer chants “Be gracious to me and bend my heart.” That is, help me to be pliant. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations

    Tateli Bi (Bend My Heart) by Reset: Jewish Practice for Activists


    Torah Sense: Choosing Life

    Rabbi Deborah Waxman and Susan Levine discuss resilience in the aftermath of a suicide attempt. Susan thoughtfully reflects about her attempts to end her life, and about her decision to live with integrity and beauty afterwards. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

    Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience


    Havdalah: Havdalah 5780

    In this time of transition, we pray with Suzanne Sabransky for life, health and the blessing of another Shabbat. Sourced from Ritualwell

    varied havdalah candles carved into different shapes




    May 15-16


    Touch: The Snuggle for Survival

    Rabbi Dennis Sasso teaches that “if you are a porcupine, snuggling together for warmth and protection can get ‘sticky.’ Yet that is what family, community and nation are all about.” Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

    father talking to toddler held by mother


    Taste: What? Passover Again??!!

    The 14th day of Iyyar is known as Pesakh Sheni or Second Passover. Rabbi Alan LaPayover explores this peculiar “holiday,” how it was observed and what it might mean for us today.   Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

    What? Passover again?


    Smell: Hourglass Meditation

    This is a three-minute breathing space meditation with Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg to help us find peace in a frantic world. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations

    Hourglass Meditation by Reset: Jewish Practice for Activists


    Sight: A Plague of Darkness

    Ultimately, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld warns us that only by recognizing and valuing our interconnectedness shall we overcome the plague of darkness that has enveloped our world. Sourced from Ritualwell

    Candle burning in darkness


    Hearing: Four Leaves on the Tree of Life

    In Shoshana Lovett-Graff’s poem we cry out for our silence to be heard in the sirens, the whistles, the echoes and the sighs. Sourced from Ritualwell

    wind-swept tree on prairie


    Torah Sense: Noticing the Time of Day Through Jewish Prayer

    Jewish prayer practice establishes a rhythm that connects us to the motion of the sun through the day. Rabbi Vivie Mayer teaches a text that lays out three explanations for our three services: Shakharit, Minkhah and Ma’ariv (Morning, Afternoon and Evening Services). Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

    Noticing the Time of Day Through Jewish Prayer


    Havdalah: Wisdom for Unwelcome Experiences

    Rabbi Dayle Friedman explains the three-pronged approach to dealing with difficulty by the founder of Hasidism, the Baal Shem Tov. Sourced from MyJewishLearning.com

    rocky mountainous shoreline under storm-clouded skies



    May 8-9


    Touch: A Mother’s Day Greeting from the Staff at Reconstructing Judaism

    A special Mother’s Day gift from the staff at Reconstructing Judaism to honor all our “women of valor.” Written by Adva Chattler. For additional resources, go to Kavod Ha’Em - Honoring a Foremother on Ritualwell.

    Mothers Day 2020 Video


    Taste: Alternative HaMotzi

    Author Lesley Reuter hopes that these blessings give those who say them an opportunity to pause and reflect on the food they consume with a renewed sense of gratitude for the daily blessing of sustenance. Sourced from Ritualwell

    loaf of fresh-baked challah with sesame seeds on a countertop wire cooling rack


    Smell: A Shabbat Eve Meditation

    In her poem, Dr. Evette Nan Katlin beckons us to breathe out all that is not Shabbat, and breathe in “God’s gift of rest and rejuvenation.” Sourced from Ritualwell

    Silhouette of man gazing into sunset


    Sight: Are You Prepared?

    Before lighting the Shabbat candles, we need to have everything done that needs to be done and to be in the right frame of mind. Rabbi Vivie Mayer teaches and leads a chant using the words of the Talmud to help get us to that place. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations

    Are You Prepared? by Reset: Jewish Practice for Activists

    Hearing: Raising Our Voices

    Dr. Koach Frazier, an audiologist, an activist, a rabbinical student, and a powerful musician, speaks about singing and drumming, and explores how music can support us, uplift us, and lead us to transformation personally and collectively. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

    man in sweatshirt and St. Louis cap playing drum against desolate background


    Torah Sense: All You Need Is Love; Love Is All You Need

    The Beatles make it sound so easy, but the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” is a lifelong project of learning. Rabbi Micah Guerin Weiss explores how this principle came to take on such a central role in Jewish values, liturgy and living. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

    All You Need Is Love beit midrash


    Havdalah: Herring and Havdalah

    Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg shares a reflection from her book, Surprised by Joy, about a special havdalah experience during a trip to Lithuania. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

    Plate of whole herring fish



    May 1-2


    Touch: Prayer for Health-Care Workers

    We pray, with Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, for all health-care workers, whose hands do the work of healing and comfort. Sourced from Ritualwell


    Taste: Turn the Tables — Bread from the Earth

    By pausing to reflect on the food before us, we recognize that we are inextricably connected to our food system, and so we should be responsible for making that system a just one. Sourced from Ritualwell


    Smell: Breathing Aloud

    Breathe with Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg in this guided meditation to help relieve stress, confusion, anger or fear. Sourced from Reset: Resilience Practices for Jewish Social Justice Organizations

    Breathing Aloud by Reconstructing Judaism


    Sight: The Akeda in Art — The Binding of Isaac or the Sacrifice of Abraham?

    Artists over the centuries have used the biblical story of the Akeda to comment on their respective historical times, on society and on humanity itself. Dr. Sharon Gershoni examines a few examples from the third century until the present. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

    Recon connect Beit Midrash - The Akeda in Art - The Binding of Isaac or the Sacrifice of Abraham?


    Hearing: Hebrew Chant for a Coronavirus Era

    This original chant and teaching on Proverbs 19:21 by Rabbi Joshua Jacobs-Velde is also found in the Yehi Khavod prayer from the morning Shacharit service. It calls on Etzat Adonay/the Divine Advice, to help us find clarity in all the confusion swirling about us these days. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

    Hebrew Chant for a Coronavirus Era


    Torah Sense: The Jewish Basis for Environmentalism

    Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb outlines the five pillars that serve as a base for the Jewish environmental movement: sufficiency (dayenu), resilience (kehillah), responsibility (akhrayut), justice (tzedek) and hope (tikvah). Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations


    Havdalah: A Transitional Ceremony Between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzma’ut

    Framed by the lines of Ecclesiastes, “a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time of war and a time of peace,” this ceremony weaves songs, poems, Israeli author David Grossman’s eulogy for his son who fell in combat, biblical quotes and inspiration from Theodor Herzl. The centerpiece is a modern Havdalah prayer, modeled after the Shabbat Havdalah prayer, separating the holy sorrow of Yom Hazikaron and the holy joy of Yom Ha’atzm’aut. Sourced from Ritualwell


    These resources were drawn from:


    Previous Virtual Shabbat Boxes by month: