How Faith Groups Are Bringing Sermons to Screens This Holiday Season - Rabbi Rachel Weiss ('09) | Page 2 | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

How Faith Groups Are Bringing Sermons to Screens This Holiday Season - Rabbi Rachel Weiss ('09)

News

Produced by Blair Paddock

Originally published and aired by WTTW / PBS Chicago on Dec. 7, 2021

View full television segment here.

Hanukkah and Christmas are held during some of the shortest days of the year — meaning, they’re also the darkest.

But these holidays offer light through menorahs and advent candles, and now, due to the pandemic, the glow of a computer screen.

Typically, these holidays are celebrated in groups of family and friends, but with COVID-19 cases on the rise, faith groups have had to push their celebrations online.

Rachel Weiss, a senior rabbi at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, said her congregation has created meaningful ways to celebrate the holiday online. Together, they’ll be cooking latkes together, watching movies and lighting candles virtually.

“Because we do it on Zoom, we have windows into everyone’s homes and it’s incredibly moving to be able to see candles lit all over,” Weiss said. “It’s like windows into 100 different sanctuaries.”

With celebrations being held outside of the synagogue, people have a unique opportunity to explore their faith, Weiss said. It’s allowed them to see how they can create Jewish rituals that are meaningful in their daily lives.

“I have officiated at this point over a dozen Zoom bar, bat and brit mitzvahs in which we mark this ritual of becoming a Jewish adult,” Weiss said. “It’s really a marker of Jewish values that a 13-year-old gives up something that they want for the greater good of the community.”

Shawna Bowman, a pastor at Friendship Presbyterian Church, is also shifting gears for the holiday. The congregation is having people sign up to carol, do a table reading of a Christmas pageant and light candles for Christmas Eve — all virtually. Moving completely online has allowed the church to embrace new ways of learning different technologies they might have not used otherwise.

“I think that it’s not uncommon to make jokes about the church being the last to adapt and that sometimes we are resistant because we’re fearful of what we might lose,” Bowman said. “There’s an intimacy to online gatherings—in  a way you’re face-to-face. Like with passing the peace, there’s a participatory piece that you don’t get in the church.”

While holiday celebrations during the pandemic present challenges, Weiss says, they also offer opportunities for people to come together and bring more light into the world.

“Whether we’re putting up Christmas lights or lighting Hanukkah candles, they’re all about taking risks in the darkness and I think that’s such a poignant message for right now,” Weiss said.

More News

College News

Yardley native finds faith, path to become rabbi - Rabbi Nora Woods ('20)

Rabbi Nora Woods received her rabbinic ordination at a private and socially distanced ceremony at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pa., June 2020.

News
College News

Rabbi Solocheck ordained - Rabbi Lily Solochek ('20)

Rabbi Lily Solochek, spiritual leader of Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland, on June 7 graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

News
College News

Mazel tov to our New Rabbis

With great pride and joy, we introduce the rabbis of the graduating class of 2020/5780.

News
College News

Closing Circle Music Collaboration 5780 - Eilecha (from Psalm 30) by Adam Cerino Jones

In May 2020, three of our rabbinic students, Koach Baruch Frazier, Solomon Hoffman and Adam Cerino Jones, gathered video and audio from other members of College community to create this beautiful musical piece.

News
College News

Spotlight: Rabinnical Student Koach Baruch Frazier

I definitely want to continue to be with the people who, in my eyes, are neglected by spiritual caretakers — people of color, queer folks, people who are at the margins, disabled folks. How can I best support, particularly spiritually, the people who have for many years been neglected? So wherever that happens to be, that’s where I will be.

News
College News

The Four Children Of COVID-19

By Janine Jankovitz Pastor; Photo: eJewish Philanthropy

Originally published in eJewish Philanthropy on April 1, 2020

News
College News

How to Have a Kid-Friendly, Meaningful Virtual Seder - Rabbi Tamara Cohen ('14)

If members of your crew seem a bit disappointed that this year will be different than all the others, remind them that this whole scenario is actually kinda fitting: Mitzrayim means “narrow place.” “We’re experiencing narrowing very literally right now,” Cohen says. “What we can take from that is not just a message about our own longing for liberation, but our responsibility to help others who are in places of constriction. In many ways, it’s the right holiday to have this happen.” Look on the bright side!

News
College News

A Rabbi’s Cure for Coronavirus Anxiety - Rabbi Emily Cohen ('18)

“Now, I’m not a doctor, epidemiologist, sociologist, or psychologist. I’m a rabbi. I’m someone who does a lot of thinking about how to hold communities in moments of joy, fear, and pain — and, often, how to hold communities experiencing multitudes.”

News
College News

A Moment of Crisis Can be an Opportunity for Connection - Rabbi Ari Witkin ('19)

…we at the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, and the broad array of communal agencies we support, are grappling with what it means to navigate the programs and resources we offer amidst this unprecedented moment of public health concern.

News
College News

Washington Jewish Week Spotlights Rabbinical Student Mikey Hess Weber

“I wanted to work at Hillel, and now I’m finally doing it. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” she said. “Listening, building relationships, giving resources and texts along their Jewish journey.”

News
College News

Rabbi Darby Leigh ('08) authors chapter in newly released book

Rabbi Leigh is one of few deaf rabbis in the world. As an expert in Torah, who has travelled extensively teaching Torah analysis, he could offer the full analysis of moving in deaf and non-deaf religious worlds.

News
College News

Rabbinical Student Koach Baruch Frazier named LGBTQ Jewish Hero by Keshet

“I express my Jewish identity at the synagogue, at work as I serve people and my community, and through my social justice activism.” This includes drumming for justice “using my djembe — an African drum — that provided the cadence, much like a heartbeat, to help us as we marched in Ferguson.”

News
College News

Rabbi Sandra Lawson (’18) named LGBTQ Jewish Hero by Keshet

“We are raising a generation of Jews to look past whomever their grandfathers’ rabbis were. One of the things I want the larger Jewish community to understand is that rabbis today are a diverse group. Many are people of color. Many are not straight. Many might be married to non-Jews. My difference, my diversity, is helping people become aware of that.”

News
College News

Rabbi Sharon A. Kleinbaum ('90) Appointed to US Commission on International Religious Freedom

“We welcome the appointment of Rabbi Kleinbaum to USCIRF.” said Chair Tony Perkins. “Rabbi Kleinbaum is a widely recognized leader in both faith and politics, which will make her a great asset in the complex environment in which we advocate for communities and individuals around the world who are discriminated against or persecuted for their beliefs.”

News
College News

Hate Knocks on the Door: What to do when your synagogue is vandalized? - Rabbi Shira Stutman ('07)

The door flew open, and there was Rabbi Shira Stutman.  She beamed, smiling and immediately embraced us. “Welcome,” she said, “welcome to Sixth and I.”

News