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Virtual Shabbat Box

Virtual Shabbat Box illustration

Your Virtual Shabbat Box holds many ways to celebrate the day. Choose what nurtures you: listen, watch or read.

December 1-2

Martha Hurwitz’s stunning poem evokes the liturgy of the High Holidays in asking how and why some captives are freed while others remain, investigating, agony of weighing one life against another.”

A person holding out their hands

Add a new dish to your Hanukkah festivities by learning to make Aruk, Iraqi fried veggie patties.

Aruk, Iraqi fried veggie patties.

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann writes about a very personal situation, yet her message also applies to the state of the world: finding hope when there’s little to no evidence that things will soon improve.

Silhouette of a person leaping against a sky background

Laynie Solomon, passionate teacher of Torah, explains how they draw strength from the study of Jewish texts and how Halakhah can be liberating for Queer and Trans Jews.

The Trans Halakah Project

November 24-25

Rabbi Haviva Ner-David, author and peace activist who lives in Israel’s Galilee region, shares the pain she feels as well as her unwavering commitment to peace. She reads a poem dedicated to Canadian-Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver, who was slain on October 7.

Person making a heart shape with their hands, backlit by the sun

At this time, when it may be hard to express gratitude, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Ritualwell’s new director of virtual content and programs, offers intentions to share with your Thanksgiving Day guests. 

An empty tree-lined street with fall leaves in the foreground

Rabbi Isaac Saposnik reminds us of the importance of respect and empathy — and the dangers of absolutes — in engaging on social media, especially when it comes to the Israel-Hamas War.

Two people on the beach pointing towards a sunset

Rabbi Sandra Lawson writes that supporting transgender rights is “not just a secular or political stance but a deeply spiritual and Jewish one.”

transgender flag

November 17-18

Rabbi Deborah Waxman explores the stories of Genesis, and highlights some more contemporary thinkers, in a search for sources of empathy and resilience in the extreme uncertainty of the present.

A stone well in a field at sunrise

In this excerpt from Ritualwell’s weekly “Holding Each Other” gathering, Rabbi Janet Madden chants the Oseh Shalom and Mi Shebeirach prayers. Madden lovingly and soulfully expresses what so many yearn for: peace and healing.

Wildflowers in a field

Rabbi Amy Eilberg writes of peacebuilding, metta meditation and the importance of practicing lovingkindness during a time of war and heightened emotions.

Raindrops on a window against a gray background

Stressed? Confused, or Fearful? Try this breathing practice taught by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg.

Small white flowers against a gauzy white and tan background

November 10-11

At Ritualwell’s weekly “Holding Each Other” virtual event, Rabbi Alex Lazurus-Klein read two poems, one written during the Second Intifada and the other composed in the harrowing days following October 7. 

Close-up of someone holding an open book of poetry

Invoking the story of Noah’s Ark, Rabbi Jen Gubitz’s poem captures a torrent of thoughts, emotions and concerns stemming from the Israel-Hamas War.

Birds flying in the sky at dusk

With antisemitism alarmingly on the rise, Rachel Forth Pipitone’s poem tackles a disturbing expression within her own family.

Person with floral and leaf tattoo designs on their arms in black ink

Revisit this 2021 essay from Rabbi Deborah Waxman in which addresses rising global antisemitism and articulates a response that reaffirms Jewish life, practice and community.

Read: Beyond Antisemitism

November 3-4

Feeling uprooted by recent events? Rabbi Jessica Lott’s audio teaching can help to ground you. She notes that Jewish tradition constantly places one foot in the past, one foot in the future.

Birds flying over treetops in a forest against a hazy sky

Rabbi Joshua Boettiger shares the links between a Jewish ethical tradition and creative expression and how together they can help us find a path in the darkness.

Open book of poetry next to a glass jar of flowers

A computer scientist shares how the study of Talmud and Zohar informed his understanding of A.I. and how Jewish ethics can guide society’s response to rapidly evolving technology.

Listen: ChatGPT, Artificial Intelligence & Jewish Ethics

In this powerful poem, Rabbi Annie Lewis invokes the ancient call for help, Hoshia Na, in the name of those killed, wounded and captured on October 7, Simchat Torah.

Gates of heaven opening

October 27-28

Poet Cathy Cohen reads “Mirrors,” offering “shards of light” and reaffirmation against the background of grief and worry.

The sun rising over a mountain silhouetted against the sky

Since Oct. 27, Ritualwell has posted more than 40 poems and prayers expressing a staggering range of human emotions. This is a link to all we’ve posted so far.

Yitzhak Rabin memorial

Especially now, Evolve remains committed to presenting a range of views related to Israel. They’re conversations for the sake of heaven. This link highlights the essays published since Oct. 7 and before.

Close-up of fruits on a tree

With the world aflame, listen to this podcast about embodied spiritual expressions.

Close-up of a woman meditating on a yoga mat

October 20-21

This resource features a video of poets reading their own work and works of others responding to unbearable loss and war. And there’s an accompanying written recap of the virtual program, “Israel on Our Hearts,” which drew some 200 participants.

Screenshot from Poems and Prayers: Israel On Our Hearts live video

May love flow from our broken hearts, and may their yearning return us to our humanity.

Black woman outside with eyes closed looking up

Rabbi Annie Lewis’ powerful elegy for the lost evokes the Hoshanot, the traditional beseeching of God for salvation, uttered during Sukkot.

Silhouette of a person praying outdoors at dawn

The ritual of taking challah invites us to bring a spiritual moment to baking bread. This virtual gathering offered a space to think about everyone in need of blessings.

Two challot on a table

October 13-14

This poem by Brasha Smith grapples with the enormity of loss while making clear that everyone lost represents the loss of an entire world.

A group of lit votive candles

Due to the unprecedented nature of Hamas’ attack, Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association released a statement on Shabbat and the Hag. Though the casualty numbers have tragically skyrocketed in the days since, the urgent message stands.

Israeli flag flying on a rocky outcropping

This urgent prayer asks God to help us “hold on to a vision of profound, enduring kinship” and empower us to “excavate hope and rescue possibility.”

Close-up of two people of different races holding hands

May love flow from our broken hearts, and may their yearning return us to our humanity.

Yellow flower on a stone in a graveyard

September 1-2

Rabbi Nathan Kamesar discusses how we can make the most of the High Holidays.

Sunlight filtering through trees in a forest, view looking upwards

With this guided teaching, anyone — whether you can blow a shofar beautifully or can’t make a sound — can experience the spiritual dimensions of this ancient instrument.

A shofar sitting on top of an open prayer book

This list of prompts and questions can help with the accounting of the soul that is so essential to the process of teshuvah (repentance) and the Jewish New Year.

Close up on a person's torso as they write in a red notebook

Rabbi Armin Langer, himself an immigrant, makes a moral case, buttressed by Jewish values, against deportations.

Close-up of an American flag

August 25-26

In this audio teaching and spiritual practice for the month of Elul, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat looks to Psalm 27 for solace in mourning.

Woman with wavy hair wearing a black and white polka dot dress sits near a lake

An author, rabbi and kibbutznik traces the evolution of her activism and tells of an organization working “to find a way to make amends and to live together in true siblinghood.”

High view of Israeli city

In this essay, Rabbi Xava De Cordova describes what “can happen when the Jewish legal process unfolds with the values and wisdom of trans people at its heart.”

Silhouette of a woman's face in profile superimposed over a water background

This prayer urges each of us those who make our meals possible and “to “work for justice and equality in a compassionate and merciful way.”

Workers harvesting tomatoes in a field

August 18-19

In preparation for the High Holidays, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld shares a Hasidic teaching about meaningful teshuvah (repentance).

Listen: Is Real Change Possible?

Rabbi Amy Eilberg considers the California Reparations Report from the perspective of Jewish texts and ethics.

Read: What Does Jewish Wisdom Say About Reparations?

Rabbi Sarah Brammer-Shlays metaphorical poem asks profound questions about the meaning of prayer and the search for Divine presence.

Woman with dark hair in profile, wearing a tulle dress, outside in front of trees

This short book chapter paints a portrait of Rabbi Yael Ridberg and Congregation Dor Hadash.

San Diego skyline

August 11-12

Seeking quiet in the ending weeks of August? Rabbi Shelia Weinberg can help. Listen to her encourage you to find your seat and take a couple of easy breaths. Then, listen slowly.

a Black woman in profile with her eyes closed and her hands touching her chest

Make no mistake; eating disorders can be lifethreatening. Brasha Smith’s poem asks a higher power for the strength to sustain sacred life.

Woman in bed eating fruit out of a white bowl

Amid new evidence that the United States came close to losing its democracy after the 2020 election, we revisit Alden Solovys ode to democratic institutions and principles.

Person outdoors silhouetted against the sky holding an American flag

Imagine if there were a digital yeshivah where Jews of Color could gather to learn Torah and Jewish practices in a safe, supportive atmosphere. It exists. Learn about it.

Podcast cover: The Need for Affinity Spaces for Jews of Color

August 4-5

How can kids best learn what it means to be a Jew? Meet Rabbi Lily Solochek, who is working with others across the movement to ask that very question and identify some answers.

Rabbi Lily Solochek standing outside by a tree

Laynie Solomon explains Svara’s Trans Halakhah Project that seeks to empower and nourish trans Jews, whose experiences have not yet been reflected in explorations of Jewish law.

People sitting around a table piled with open prayer books

This niggun, chanted by Koach Baruch Frazier, invokes compassion, kindness and love.

Koach Baruch Frazier wearing a red head scarf standing outside

Missed the latest Evolve podcast? Following the Israeli Knesset’s passage of a law geared to gut its independent judiciary, two Reconstructionist leaders share their experiences at some of the demonstrations and articulate sustained engagement with Israel.

A map of Israel with a red pushpin stuck into it

July 28-29

We’ve gathered an array of Reconstructionist resources from our network of websites to help you search for meaning on this solemn day, the Ninth of Av. 

Temple in Israel

Confused and angered by the push to weaken Israel’s judiciary? Inspired by the protests but not sure what to think? Rabbis Deborah Waxman and Maurice Harris share their perspectives.

Podcast cover: Reconstructionist Jews and the Struggle Over Israel's Future

Rabbi Maurice Harris asks the One who blessed our ancestors and Israel’s founders to give them the strength to save the State of Israel’s democracy, because we have learned that democracy is sacred.”

Close-up of the Israeli flag

Check out The Forward’s in-depth retelling of the birth The Jewish Cataloguefeaturing several Reconstructionist voices and its impact upon Judaism today.

Challah on a serving platter, apples, and a plaque with Hebrew print

July 21-22

Reflecting on horrors in his city and throughout Jewish history, Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein shows how a Reconstructionist reformulation of traditional prayer can help process loss.

Sun setting over downtown Buffalo, New York

Suzanne Sabransky’s poem invokes the fast of Tisha BAv to remind us of the blessings so many of us take for granted and to focus on how many people suffer from hunger.

Woman sitting silhouetted against a window pane

Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg delves into how trauma has informed Jewish experience at both the individual and collective levels.

Podcast cover: Trauma, Healing and Resilience

This excerpt from The Guide to Jewish Practice, Volume 2” outlines the history of this most solemn of Jewish holidays.

Close-up of a man wearing a prayer shawl and reading a prayer book

July 14-15

With poor air quality continuing to be a concern throughout much of North America, Trisha Arlin prays for the health of all.

Hand holding a dandelion, dandelion seeds floating away in the breeze

Learn how Reconstructionist values guide Sophia Barrett’s actions from how she raises funds for the organization to teaming up with her crisis response dog to help people in need.

Sophia Barrett headshot

Rabbi David Jaffe adapts Judaism’s teachings on applied ethics to offer resilience and inspiration to all those working for social change.

Black woman in a crowd yelling into a bullhorn

In this commentary on the weekly Torah portion, Rabbi Jonathan Kligler explains how the Torah is not a road atlas but a map of our inner journeys.

River with tree on the bank

July 7-8

At a time of year when many of us travel, this prayer urges the God of our ancestors for safe passage home.

Multiracial family, a father, mother, and daughter, in a car together

This poem by Rabbi Janet Madden seeks coherence and calm amissthe day’s tsunami of ‘To Do’s.”

White woman with long brown hair with her eyes closed against an abstract background

Revisit one of the Evolve podcast’s most downloaded episodes, focusing on how Jewish communities can truly become more inclusive, embracing spaces.

Podcast opening slate: Warm and Welcoming?

Rabbi David Steinberg’s commentary of Parashat Pinchas examines the passing of one generation to another while encouraging us to temper our judgments with compassion and humility.

Three hands (one old, one adult, one a child) touching at the fingertips

June 30-July 1

A psychologist/scholar shares her research into Jewish families, as well as her personal experiences as a parent of biracial children.

A Black woman psychologist who is the main speaker

On the eve of American Independence Day, Rabbi Ayelet Cohen’s poem calls on all Americans and people everywhere to strive to be their best selves.

Aerial view of a farm field

Rabbi Jen Gubitz offers a healing prayer for the United States of America.

American Flag blowing in the wind

From our podcast archives, we have the story of Rabbi Jon Cutler, who served his country for decades as a U.S. Naval chaplain while having to keep his sextual orientation hidden.

A Naval vessel on the water at sunrise

June 23-24

As we reach the first anniversary of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, dive deep into this three-part series.

Close-up of a pregnant woman in a magenta dress.

Learn how a climatechange chaplain is helping Jews and other seekers manage very real anxiety stemming from global warming and extreme weather.

Manhattan skyline obscured by smoke.

A computer scientist explains exactly what ChatGPT is and isn’t — and how it is unlike a mythical creature from Jewish folklore.

Clay golems with Hebrew writing engraved into them

Rabbinical student Koach Baruch Frazier offers an inspirational chant that blends a traditional morning blessing with a folk staple.

Aerial of a landscape with a river cutting through a forest with green trees

June 16-17

This meditation on the meaning of freedom by an incoming rabbinical student asks each of us to “remove the shackles of one another.”

Illustration about Juneteenth proclamation

Buffie Longmire Avital: Professor, researcher, Jew of Color and mother shares her research on how Jewish parents talk to their kids about race, and how everyone might better tell a multi-racial Jewish story.

Close-up of a Black person reading a book

Nearly 200 Reconstructionists traveled to the South to confront America’s legacy of racism: This is the d’var Torah that inspired them.

People on the Edmund Pettus Bridge

In this podcast, Shahanna McKinney-Baldon an educator, activist and artist talks about her time singing for the ska and reggae band Highball Holiday and rediscovering her singing voice in middle age.

Close-up on flowers and grass in a field, with a yellowish light.

June 9-10

There’s much food for thought in this vital web conversation about how non-Orthodox Jews relate to Israel, featuring Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., president and CEO of Reconstructing Judaism.

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., in conversation with Chanan Weissman.

Rabbi Shefa Gold writes that “to stand in God’s presence means to stand outside the whirlwinds of change, anchored in the stillness of center.”

Two hands creating a heart shape, silhouetted against a yellow sky with a bright sun

This prayer was created to encourage and empower synagogues and organizations to incorporate LGBTIQ Pride into all gatherings.

People celebrating Pride with rainbow flags and brightly colored outfits

This original ritual enables an individual to mark a gender (or any major life) transition surrounded by friends, family and community.

A hand holding a shallow glass cup of water.

June 2-3

In March, some 200 Reconstructionists traveled to the South to “deconstruct racism to reconstruct Judaism.” This new web page captures the experience in pictures, reflections and more. Sourced from ReconstructingJudaism.org 

Visitor at a memorial for victims of lynching

Activist Sallie Gratch was honored with the Keter Shem Tov award at RRC’s 51st graduation ceremony. Hear her inspiring story.

Activist Sallie Gratch

RRCs graduating class of 2023/5783 marked a profound moment of transition by creating a beautiful ritual that incorporates the Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing.

Still from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College graduation ceremony

This mediation asks us to imagine ourselves walking in the desert under a night sky, looking up at a canopy of stars.

Cloudy night sky

The Reconstructionist Network