Tradition & Innovation

Renewing Our Communities and Ourselves: An Elul Workshop Series

headshots of four rabbis

Join four inspiring rabbis on a journey of shared reflection, learning and renewal. You may register for one or more sessions.

Sundays, August 23, 30, September 6, 13, 2:00–3:15 PM ET

Social Justice & Repentance: Can We Do Teshuvah for Our Indirect Moral Complicity?
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
| August 23, 2:00–3:15pm ET
We know that the month of Elul and the High Holiday spiritual peak that follows demands our introspection and our repentance of mistakes we made. But what about for mistakes we didn't make but for societal evils in which we're merely complicit? Am I responsible for sins that emerge from capitalist society merely as a citizen and participant? Am I guilty for benefiting from the white patriarchy? What about my tax dollars that support an unjust war? And if these are true (among many other areas of potential moral complicity), how do I do teshuvah for the indirect harm I've participated in or been complicit in?

You Do Not Walk Alone: Welcoming Ancestors Into Our Movements for Justice
Rabbi Micah Geurin-Weiss
| August 30, 2:00–3:15pm ET
Have you ever had a moment where you feel totally aligned with a political or social movement? Where you know that the presence of the Holy Blessed One surrounds you? This session is not about those moments. Our learning will explore spiritual practices for moments of confusion, overwhelm, shame, lethargy, indecision and defensiveness that can inhibit our connection to the presence of the Divine in justice and liberation movements. We will touch on the role of community, ancestors, chosen family, personal spiritual practice and we even try to reclaim the complicated tradition of turning to tzaddikim (righteous ones) as intermediaries with G-d.

"Who by Silence?": Policing the Boundaries of Jewish Community
Rabbi Emily 
Cohen | September 6, 2:00–3:15pm ET
As our nation grapples with a pandemic and the evils of racial injustice ascend to center stage, it's on us to take the conversation of systemic discrimination to our own Jewish spaces, where for too long we have privileged certain voices over others and cut people out of sacred community. Join Rabbi Emily Cohen to explore stories of exclusion and methods for empowerment, and to engage in the reflective work of Elul by taking stock of who is present, absent, and silent in our synagogues.

Cultivating Trust: Exploring the Writings of Etty Hillesum
Rabbah Dorothy Richman
| September 13, 2:00–3:15pm ET
In this time of pandemic and social disruption, is it wise or naive for us to trust? We’ll explore the experience of trust by looking at the writings of Etty Hillesum, a Dutch woman in her late twenties living in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Etty's journals and letters have been called "the most spiritually significant documents of our age." Who was this young woman and what is the impact of her writings in our Jewish communities today? Together, we will examine what gets in the way of trust and how to cultivate it, even in the most dire of circumstances.


All sessions will be recorded and available to participants. You may join the session live or watch recordings at your own convenience.

To view our full list of online learning opportunities visit: www.ritualwell.org/learn

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz received a Masters from Harvard University and his Doctorate from Columbia University. He serves as the President & Dean of Valley Beit Midrash (Jewish learning center), the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek (the Orthodox Social Justice movement), the Founder and CEO of Shamayim (Jewish animal advocacy), and the Founder and President of YATOM, (Jewish foster and adoption network). Rabbi Shmuly, his wife Shoshana, and their four children live in Scottsdale, Arizona. They are also foster parents.

Rabbi Micah Weiss is the Assistant Director for Thriving Communities and Tikkun Olam Specialist at Reconstructing Judaism. In his professional role, Micah works to support the day in and day out needs of synagogues in the Reconstructionist movement, specializing in congregation-based social justice work.  He is most passionate about supporting racial justice work in the Jewish community and beyond. Micah holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Religious Studies and African American studies and was a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar for two years. He is a trained spiritual director, and spends much of his free time in Jewish community in his neighborhood of West Philly.

Rabbi Emily Cohen is the spiritual leader of West End Synagogue in NYC. A 2018 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Emily just concluded a two-year fellowship with Lab/Shul. She is the host and producer of "Jew Too?" Podcast, a writer for Alma, a frequent song-writer, and the co-creator (with fellow RRC alum Rabbi Jake Best Adler) of the "Hamilton Haggadah." You can find her in Brooklyn or she tweets wherever you are @ThatRabbiCohen.

Rabbah Dorothy Richman serves as the rabbi of Makor Or: Jewish Meditation Center and is a founding faculty member of the new Romemu Yeshiva, a six-week immersive program of intensive spiritual study and practice in New York City. Dorothy's work centers on the spiritual practices of Torah study, prayer, meditation, creativity, and justice. She released an album of original songs, Something of Mine, largely based on texts from the  Jewish tradition, available on BandCamp.

Thank you to Rise Up, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah for their generous support of Reset.

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