Hashivenu is a podcast about Jewish teachings and practice around resilience. Cultivating resilience in challenging times, both individually and collectively, is an essential path to personal renewal.
This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org
April 13th, 2021 | Season 4 | 41 mins 38 secs
We're joined by Professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, one of fewer than 100 Black American women to earn a doctorate in physics -- and a Reconstructionist! We discuss the insights she draws from her background as a Black and Ashkenazi Jew, and the richness, complexity, and fruitful challenges that diverse voices bring to the Jewish community. She and Rabbi Sandra Lawson discuss their respective experiences as trailblazers within the physics and the rabbinate. Finally, we delve into theoretical physics and Jewish theology as she explains why she included the ma'ariv prayer in her new book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred.
March 1st, 2021 | Season 4 | 38 mins 3 secs
We begin a new season focusing on Judaism, resilience, and racial justice, and welcome a new co-host: Rabbi Sandra Lawson, director of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion for Reconstructing Judaism. We dig deeply into the complexities of engaging in racial justice work within the Jewish community, the necessity for deep listening and empathy toward Jews of color, and the need to draw on resilience practices to stay committed to the challenging but vital process of teshuvah on the path to redemption.
September 11th, 2020 | Season 3 | 35 mins 6 secs
At this extraordinary High Holiday season, so many people are experiencing losses of many kinds. We speak with Rabbi Margot Stein about the lessons she learned about resilience while navigating profound loss -- the death of her eldest son, Aryeh. We discuss the practices that sustain her, and explore how Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur invite us to choose life, in many ways, again and again.
August 20th, 2020 | Season 3 | 40 mins 9 secs
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld has made a life and career at the core of Jewish counterculture. We discuss his experiences as a founder of the havurah movement, co-creator of the groundbreaking Jewish Catalog series, and rabbi of the SAJ. Toward the end of our conversation we turn to the Jewish future, reflecting on the opportunities presented by digital culture and on new paradigms for Jewish prayer.
August 3rd, 2020 | Season 3 | 37 mins 37 secs
When our world falls apart, what sustains us? We recorded this conversation with Rabbi Shira Stutman, senior rabbi at 6th and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C, in early April 2020 — shortly after coronavirus response had brought face-to-face communal gatherings, and indeed most people's social lives, to a screeching halt. Speaking at a time of profound global dislocation that affected our most personal connections, we discussed the challenges we faced, the adaptations we and our institutions were beginning to make, and the unexpected insights we'd glimpsed into what is truly essential, insights that continue to resonate months later.
June 25th, 2020 | Season 3 | 42 mins 38 secs
Is Harry Potter a sacred text? According to our guest, Casper ter Kuile, Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and the co-founder of the Sacred Design Lab, it is if you bring that approach to the series. His study of the ways in which people find meaning through text, community, and tradition has opened up vibrant conversations that break down the walls of "religious" and "secular" by illuminating the human experiences that unite them. In his new book, The Power of Ritual, he explores the ways that ritual -- even when nominally secular -- can help us build community, find meaning, and connect our past with our future. This conversation was recorded in late March of 2020.
May 21st, 2020 | Season 3 | 31 mins 24 secs
Yoshi Silverstein’s passions — which include Jewish outdoor and environmental education, as well as fitness and movement — each strive toward creative embodied Jewish practice. We explore how these approaches can contribute to a resilient Jewish community, and conclude by applying them to the upcoming holiday of Shavuot: how might they help us experience revelation and gratitude in the midst of an uncertain future?
April 21st, 2020 | Season 3 | 37 mins 54 secs
It's a fundamental Jewish belief that all human beings are created in the divine image. But society all too often treats those with disabilities as second-class citizens. In our conversation with Jay Ruderman, we discuss his family foundation's work to advocate for and advance the inclusion of people with disabilities, both within the Jewish community and in society at large. We also delve into the dangers posed by the current pandemic to those with disabilities, as well as the opportunities this moment offers to affirm our deepest values by treating every person with concern and care.
April 2nd, 2020 | Season 3 | 37 mins 20 secs
As the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Rabbi Joshua Lesser created a Facebook group to support and connect clergy of all faiths struggling to respond to the crisis. Over five thousand people joined within the first two weeks. We discuss the exponential growth of the multifaith community he created and reflect on both the practical challenges and interior dimensions of spiritual leadership in times like these. Rabbi Lesser also explores the lessons he learned about community and vulnerability as an out gay rabbi during the height of the AIDS crisis, and how that experience informs his work now.
March 24th, 2020 | Season 3 | 20 mins 46 secs
As the current pandemic disrupts our lives and everyday connections, we each face the dual challenge of saving lives and caring for our souls. Rabbi Deborah Waxman reflects on the Jewish spiritual imagery that unites these concerns and shares a practice of breath work that can sustain us in stressful times.
March 20th, 2020 | Season 3 | 36 mins 46 secs
As our lives are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we speak with Dr. Ameet Ravital, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating trauma. We reflect on personal experiences of anxiety and grief, and discuss strategies he uses to support an orientation toward joy even in the hardest times. Our conversation draws on his beautiful essay, "Despair to Awakening", free to read at Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations.
February 3rd, 2020 | Season 3 | 28 mins 57 secs
We speak with Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, Rabbi of the SAJ: Judaism That Stands For All. Our conversation explores the importance of placing joy and connection at the center of vibrant Jewish community, even (or especially) one deeply committed to social justice and activism. We also discuss the lessons learned from building a start-up congregation, and how they translate into her work at a 98-year-old flagship Reconstructionist synagogue.
January 9th, 2020 | Season 3 | 29 mins 59 secs
We speak with Rabbi Sara Luria, co-founder of Beloved, a home-based spiritual community in Brooklyn. Our conversation explores the power of putting love, nurturing and acceptance at the center of community life. We also explore what Beloved Brooklyn can teach the broader Jewish communal world, and reflect on new models of leadership opened up by forty years of women in the American rabbinate.
December 10th, 2019 | Season 3 | 29 mins 58 secs
Rabbi Sid Schwarz has devoted his career to the practice and study of building rich and engaging Jewish communities. In our conversation, we talk about the groundbreaking congregation he built, Adat Shalom, which continues to serve as a laboratory for innovation to this day. And we ask the question: as new platforms for Jewish life and community emerge in the 21st century, what values and practices make a community truly sustaining and meaningful?
December 9th, 2019 | Season 3 | 6 mins 46 secs
In this upcoming season of Hashivenu, we’re going to talk to a lot of people who are thinking about and practicing how to create community. Many of them will be talking about synagogues, since that is a primary location of Jewish community, but this isn’t a pitch for synagogues. It’s a pitch for binding relationships, for mutual obligation, for connection, so we’ll also be talking to folks building communities in spaces other than synagogues. I hope you’ll listen with open hearts and will find insights and strategies to fill you up and nourish you on your own journeys.
November 7th, 2019 | Season 2 | 24 mins 29 secs
What drives us toward justice? Often, we're driven by a sense of the world's brokenness that keeps us up at night. In our conversation with Rabbi Alex Weissman, we explore an alternative motivation: what gets us up in the morning? In a conversation based on his essay for Evolve, Halleluyah, and his other work around spirituality and activism, we discuss how deeply-felt experiences of gratitude and blessing can move us toward empathetic action.