Before Ritualwell was a website containing more than 2,200 liturgy and rituals crowdsourced by Jews, it was an idea of where to put dozens of scraps of paper in the drawers of offices in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Kolot: Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies in Wyncote.
The last sixteen months of the pandemic have highlighted the necessity of community as something both poignant and urgent. With many of us physically removed from our “normal” sites of gathering (i.e., workplaces, schools, cultural venues, “third spaces,” places of worship), we’ve learned to cultivate relationships online, to use digital tools to create new places of meeting and connection, and to experiment with alternative and even more accessible forms of engagement. Despite the very real challenges of long-term isolation and Zoom fatigue, we’ve found new ways to experience community, to address pragmatic needs, and to fill our souls.
When COVID-19 hit, synagogues closed their physical doors, pivoting their presence online. Responding to the tensions and conflicts arising from this challenge, Rabbi Nathan Weiner (RRC ‘16) offers a covenental approach guiding synagogue leaders and congregants to navigate these difficult times with integrity, understanding, and generosity of spirit.
This past month, a working group made up of staff at the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements collaborated, with major support from the Secure Community Network, on putting together a “Guide to the Considerations about Re-Opening Synagogue Buildings.” The document offers synagogues some guidance and suggested methodical steps for decision-making and implementation of re-opening plans.
Rooted in the Jewish textual tradition and lived experience, Reconstructionist communities are aiding immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through direct service, education and advocacy.