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Virtual Shabbat Box

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Your Virtual Shabbat Box holds many ways to celebrate the day. Choose what nurtures you: listen, watch or read. Looking for more ways to connect? Join us at an upcoming Evolve: Groundbreak Jewish Conversations web convo, Ritualwell's 20th Anniversary or our 2022 Convention, B'Yachad: Reconstructing Judaism Together.

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May 20-21

Read: ‘Count Her’ 

In this poem, Cathleen Cohen reflects on the practice of counting the Omer. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Close up of a wall clock on the number 2


Read: ‘Blessings and Curses’ 

In his d’var Torah, Rabbi Lewis Eron teaches that we should not read the listings of blessings and curses that appears in this week’s portion as a description of the world in which we live, but rather as a vision of the world as it should be — an affirmation of our ancestors’ faith in God’s sovereignty and their belief that in some future time God’s dominion will be manifest in its fullness. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

A woman ladling soup into a bowl from a metal pot


Read: ‘Honoring a Teacher at the End of the Year’ 

From CLAL: At the end of a year of learning with a teacher, we may feel we have learned what we came to learn; we may feel frustrated that we did not master more of the information we sought; we may feel awed by how much there is yet to learn, and we may feel that we have been deeply changed by the experience. Sourced from Ritualwell 

A young woman with blonde hair sits next to a young boy in a wheelchair


Watch: ‘How to Bring Judaism into Your Home’ 

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 by BimBam will help you think through the possibilities along with your friends or partner. Sourced from Ritualwell 


Read: ‘The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Reconstructing Judaism Affirm Their Strong Commitment to Reproductive Justice and Abortion Rights’ 

Regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ultimate decision, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Reconstructing Judaism remain steadfastly committed to advocating for reproductive freedom, and the principle that abortion care is medical care and a basic human right. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Protestors for reproductive justice in front of the capital, one sign says "Bans Off Our Bodies"


May 13-14

Watch: ‘Kein Yehi (May It Be)’ 

A rerun of Rabbi Moshe Heyn’s song for Shabbat because we just need it. Sourced from Ritualwell


Read: ‘Prayer for Our Power, Prayer for Our Choice’ 

In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court news, Rabbi Stephanie Crawley helps us to seek the power in choice. Sourced from Ritualwell 


Read: ‘An Eye for an Eye?’ 

Rabbi Jonathan Kliger, in partnership with Reb Tevye, teaches how the law of equal retribution from this week’s parashah demonstrates the evolving nature of Jewish tradition. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Close up of someone playing a violin


Listen: ‘Songs of Joy and Mourning’ 

Shanna McKinney-Baldon, and Rabbis Deborah Waxman and Sandra Lawson, discuss a Reconstructionist, values-based approach to engaging with Jewish tradition and the ongoing process of gaining support for a movement-wide resolution supporting reparations for slavery. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience


Read: ‘A New Mitzvah: Loving All Those Who Dwell in the Land’ 

Rabbi Toba Spitzer discusses a new consciousness afoot among forward-thinking Israelis and Palestinians that challenge us here in America to shed old ways of thinking about the situation. It also urges us to step up in ways that will promote a greater spaciousness in our hearts and minds that might lead to our being part of the solution and not just part of the problem. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

A heart shape created from fog on a window at night


May 6-7

Read: ‘When Peace Comes’ 

Violence continues to plague the land of Israel/Palestine. And so, along with Alden Solovy, we must continue to dream and pray for the day when peace comes. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Close up of people holding hands, one with brown skin and one with light skin


Read: ‘Counting COVID: From Omer to Omer 

As we continue to journey through the wilderness of the COVID-19 pandemic, Betsy Teutsch spins new meaning into the tradition of counting the days between Pesah and Shavuot. Sourced from Ritualwell

Stalks of wheat in a field


Read: ‘The Mighty Waters of Justice and Love’ 

Rabbi Yael Ridberg teaches from this week’s parashah that “the revolutionary love — the kind that means the absence of hate, the absence of grudges and vengeance, and with a vision of holiness of being and behavior — would mean the kind of revolutionary justice we are still working towards, each and every day.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Lit tea lights on a dark surface.


Watch: ‘Hinei Mah Tov’ 

This video of a new setting for “Hinei Mah Tov” by RRC student Solomon Hoffman was shared at the recent Reconstructing Judaism Convention and features more than 150 Reconstructionists representing 40 of our communities from across North America and beyond. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 


Read: ‘The Founding of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (SAJ) Was Significant: Not Primarily Because of the ‘First Bat Mitzvah’ 

“Far more radical things happened at the SAJ that did rattle the Jewish world,” according to Miriam Eisenstein, and “we should celebrate all of them, and most especially, the SAJ’s 100 years.” Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

Doorway to the Society for the Advancement of Judaism


April 29-30

Read: A Prayer for Yom Hashoah

With Rabbi David Katz’s prayer, we mark Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 28) and remember all who perished in the Shoah. Sourced from Ritualwell

Close up of a barbed wire gate


Watch: Esa Eynay in ASL: I Will Lift Up My Eyes

Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh and Rabbi Roni Handler demonstrate the song “Esa Eynay” (lyrics from Psalm 121:1–2) in ASL and Hebrew singing. Sourced from Ritualwell

Esa Eynay in ASL: I Will Lift Up My Eyes from Ritualwell .org on Vimeo.


Listen: The Smooth River: Finding Inspiration and Exquisite Beauty during Terminal Illness

Richard Cohen, a lawyer and Reconstructionist leader, joins Rabbi Deborah Waxman to discuss his book on reframing terminal illness after losing his wife to pancreatic cancer. Sourced from Hashivenu


Listen: Special Live Episode: Addressing Global Climate Disruption Through Torah

Recorded live from the B’Yachad: Reconstructing Judaism convention, Rabbi David Seidenberg discusses the idea of what if the central purpose of the Torah is to ensure that people live in harmony with the environment and other living things? Sourced from Evolve


Watch: Breath of the Shema

Practice this breathing meditation using the words of the Shema with Rabbi Shelly Barnathan. Sourced from Reset, providing Jewish activists with accessible spiritual practice and teachings

Breath of the Sh'ma from Reconstructing Judaism on Vimeo.


April 22-23

Read: The Nature of Prayer

Suzanne Sabransky’s poem looks at the depths and layers of what we do when we pray. Sourced from Ritualwell

woman in white dress standing outdoors, open hand on chest palm-inward


Listen: ‘Arise, My Love’

This song, written by Alexander Massey, is taken from the words of the Song of Songs which celebrates love and is traditionally chanted every Friday night. Sourced from Ritualwell

woman standing facing a window, turning to kiss another woman standing behind her


Read: Open the Gates of Justice

Stacey Zisook Robinson’s alternate reading of Psalm 118 reminds us that sometimes our prayers can crack open gates that have been long rusted and chained. Sourced from Ritualwell

gate chained shut with rusted padlock


Love the Stranger as Yourself

The mitzvah to love the stranger as ourselves comes from next week’s Torah portion, Akharei Mot/Kedoshim. Rabbi Jonathan Kligler explains why Rabbi Akiva believed that this was the greatest of all the commandments. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

large public institutional building with large sign reading "refugees welcome" draped across its front


Watch: Does a Golem Count in a Minyan?

The idea of a human-made artificial person is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, and rabbis of old took it seriously in terms of Jewish law. Rabbi Jeff Sultar explores their questions that offer us much insight into some pressing issues of our day, such as artificial intelligence, the right to life and what distinguishes human beings from the rest of creation. Sourced from Recon Connect Beit Midrash

File Beit Midrash: Does a Golem Count in a Minyan


April 8-9

Read: ‘Today’s Shema: For the Victims of Terrorist Attacks in Israel’ 

Cyd Weissman leads us in prayer as we cry out for the recent victims of terrorism in Israel. Sourced from Ritualwell 

A person holding a lit candle near rows of other lit candles at a memorial


Read: ‘Nissan-Guided Meditation’ 

As Pesah approaches, we go on an inner and outer search for hametz — literally, that which has become sour, fermented, or leavened. Ilana Schatz offers a guided meditation to help with this process. Sourced from Ritualwell

A woman meditating outside with mountains in the background


Read: ‘Tzara’at and Selfishness’ 

Rabbi Howard Cohen teaches that the social issue underlying tzara’at is implied by its very name. And a midrash from the Talmud suggests that tzara’at is a punishment for selfishness. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

A blonde woman in a gray sweater looking somberly out a window


Read: ‘Safety Box’ 

Rabbi Chaya Gusfield’s poem begins, “After the vaccine, we slowly begin to engage in a list of ‘safer’ activities, previously postponed.” Sourced from Ritualwell

Close up on a box of old photographs


Listen: ‘Wrestling God and the Healthcare System’ 

It was not easy for Jennifer Janes to find faith after years of chronic illnesses. But this spiritual hospice social worker from San Antonio has used Judaism as a guide to help others in difficult times. Find out how someone raised as a nominal Christian finds a Jewish path in the middle of Texas. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 


April 1-2

Read: ‘A Kavanah for Nisan: Finding the First Fruit Tree in You’ 

Devon Spier’s poem offers a kavanah for the beginning of Nisan, a time of birth, newness and renewal. Sourced from Ritualwell

A woman in a wide brimmed hat picking blueberries


Read: ‘Birth of Humility’ 

In his d’var Torah, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben teaches that “with the miracle of birth comes a sudden awareness of our own mortality, a deep appreciation for the everyday miracles that we so often take for granted and an intense desire to express our gratitude for the blessings and spiritual gifts we have been given.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

A woman of color cradling her baby in a chair


Read: ‘Reconstructing Gatherings for a Hybrid World’ 

As Reconstructing Judaism’s Convention has come to a successful completion, Rabbi Deborah Waxman’s reflections on the first movement gathering in 1942, 80 years ago, seems particularly relevant. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

A hybrid gathering between people in person and people on a screen


Listen: ‘The Jewish Camping Brand’ 

For parents and kids, it’s not too early to start thinking about summer camp! In this Evolve podcast, Jeremy Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, shares his journey from corporate executive to building the collective brand of Jewish day and overnight camps. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 


Read: ‘Essence of Nisan 

These things you should know about the month of Nisan are taken from the Sourcebook for Leaders, written by Rabbi Rachel Gartner and Barbara Berley Melits, for Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! Sourced from Ritualwell 

A tambourine painted with a dancing scene and Hebrew lettering


March 25-26

Read: ‘Let No Soul Be Forgotten: Vigil Prayer Marking Two Years of COVID’ 

We have lived with this worldwide pandemic for two years. Rabbi Annie Lewis marks this milestone with a prayer. Sourced from Ritualwell 

People holding lit candles at a vigil


Read: ‘Babi Yar ‘22’ 

Some of the complexities of our history and our world today converge in the intensity of this memorial poem by Sara Stock Mayo. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Lit tea light candles in a dark area


Watch/Listen: ‘Healing Niggun for Ukraine’ 

This Hebrew healing prayer, performed by Gabrielle Pescador, is from Numbers 12:13 and is set to the melody of a traditional Ukrainian folk lullaby, “The Dream Passes by the Window.” The Hebrew lyrics mean “God please heal her.” The harp music is an adaptation of an arrangement by Carol Kappus. Sourced from Ritualwell 


Listen: ‘Moments of Wholeness’ 

When our world falls apart, what sustains us? Rabbi Shira Stutman spoke in April 2020 at a time of profound global dislocation that affected our most personal connections. We discussed the challenges we faced, the adaptations we were beginning to make and the unexpected insights we glimpsed into what is truly essential. Sourced from Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience 


Read: ‘Reunderstanding Jewish Historical Trauma: Moving From the River to the Watershed’ 

In her Evolve essay, Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg argues that Jewish history is not an unbroken sequence of suffering, culminating in the Holocaust. Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

A rushing river in a wooded area


March 18-19

Listen: ‘Everything Possible’

Fred Small’s contemporary classic song is perfect for blessing the children, after Shabbat dinner, or before bedtime. Sourced from Ritualwell

young family playing on floor together


Read: ‘Purim: The Danger of a Single Story’

In this d’var Torah, Rabbi Elyse Wechterman teaches that Megillat Esther is an example of what can be missed when you look too quickly or too superficially at a story, and that we have an obligation to understand that the others with whom we interact have just as complicated, multiple narrative stories as we do. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Hebrew text


Read: ‘Esther, the Mishkan and the Divine Miss M’

Why do we read about the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) in the month of Adar? What does the Tabernacle have to do with Purim? Why is Hadassah called Esther? And why is Bette Midler referred to as “The Divine Miss M”? Rabbi Lina Zerbarini tells all. Sourced from Ritualwell

view of a tiled temple ceiling


Watch/Listen: ‘Dror Yikra’

Hadar Cohen teaches and sings the Sephardic melody for Dror Yikra, one of the standard Shabbat z’mirot (table songs). Sourced from Ritualwell

paper heart on sheet music


Read: ‘Twin Milestone Mark a Century of Reconstructionist Innovation’

Now, in 2022, the twin centennial anniversaries of the founding of the first Reconstructionist synagogue, followed by the first bat mitzvah, are being celebrated by SAJ, the Reconstructionist movement and the wider Jewish world. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org

Black and white photo of Mordecai Kaplan and his family in 1916


March 11-12

Read: ‘Prayer for Ukraine’ 

The people of Ukraine are in our hearts as we share Joanne Fink’s prayer. Sourced from Ritualwell 

Ukrainian flag in a forest


Read: ‘Blessing for My Daughter at Her Bat Mitzvah’ 

The anonymous author writes, “I wrote this blessing for my oldest daughter at her bat mitzvah. I made her tallit, and we tied the tzitzit together. When I presented it to her to wear on the bimah, I also gave her this blessing.” Sourced from Ritualwell. Learn more about the 100 years of bat mitzvah history! 

A girl on her bat mitzvah holding the Torah


Listen: ‘U’Vacharta Bachayim’ 

Rena Branson sings with Rivka Tamar her song based on Deuteronomy 30:19. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 


Read: ‘Amalek: Out There or In Here?’ 

On this Shabbat Zakhor, our society and world grapple with two kinds of enemies: We are confronted both by violent extremism driven by hatred and by the devastating impact of the pandemic on vulnerable communities. In this Torah study, Rabbi Michael Fessler helps us to see the challenges before us, remember the values embodied in these teachings, and be moved to action. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

The sun setting over a rocky plain


Read: ‘The Right Side of History’ 

In his article, Richard Zimler teaches us that “the right side of history is always the side that has a memory.” Sourced from Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations 

A group of round gray rocks


March 4-5

Read: ‘We See You: For Ukraine’ 

Hila Ratzabi’s poem voices aloud the prayers of our hearts at this most threatening time in our fragile world. Sourced from Ritualwell

Ukranian people waiting on a bench for news


Read: ‘God Doesn’t Want Us to Hurt Ourselves’ 

Clare Griffin reminds us that “We are commanded not to harm ourselves, because for some of us that is a struggle.” Sourced from Ritualwell 

Black and white image of young woman with her head down


Listen: ‘Ki Le’Olam Chasdo’ 

This song, usually sung as part of Hallel, is a joyful rendering of the verse, “Give thanks to God who is good, whose hesed (lovingkindness) is everlasting.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Soundcloud link to song


Read: ‘The Importance of Vision’ 

In the concluding portion of Exodus, we witness the formal dedication of the mishkan and the installation of Aaron and his sons as priests. Rabbi Jeffrey Schein teaches that “even if it will be left to future books of the Bible for the Israelites to reach their promised land, they now have a spiritual home that will accompany them throughout their journeys.” Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Lightbulb with the light illuminated


Read: ‘From Brit Bat to Bat Mitzvah: How Love and Tradition Work Together’ 

How does an interfaith couple raising Jewish children create meaningful rituals that honor both partners’ heritage? This is a question that Dr. Keren R. McGinty asked herself when she became a parent and when she founded the Love & Tradition Institute. Sourced from Ritualwell. Learn more about the 100 years of bat mitzvah history! 

young woman with curly hair wearing a Star of David necklace