Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.
Co-Host of Hashivenu
The first woman rabbi to head a Jewish congregational union and a Jewish seminary, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., became president of the organization now known as Reconstructing Judaism in 2014. Since then, as president and CEO, she has drawn on her training as a rabbi and historian to be the Reconstructionist movement’s leading voice in the public square.
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D. has hosted 52 Episodes.
S3 Ep. 5: Catching Our Breath
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.
S3 Ep. 4: Despair to Awakening
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.
S3 Ep. 3: The Song of Community
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.
S3 Ep. 2: Living in Beloved Community
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.
S3 Ep. 1: Finding Sustenance in Covenantal Community
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?
Season 3 Intro: Resilience Through Community
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.
S2 Ep. 8: Halleluyah: Fueling Our Social Activism through Gratitude and Praise
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.
S2 Ep. 7: Discernment and Renewal at the High Holidays
September 20th, 2019 | Season 2 | 24 mins 52 secs
The holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur call us to deeply individual reflection while embedded and connected with community, and to a humility that nevertheless acknowledges that our choices matter. We speak with Rabbi Barbara Penzner about the spiritual dynamics of the High Holiday days, and their power to help us find discernment, connection and renewal.
S2 Ep. 6: Portraits of Resilience
September 11th, 2019 | Season 2 | 29 mins 53 secs
Daniel Jackson is an MIT professor and award-winning photographer who edited an extraordinary collection: Portraits of Resilience pairs images and first-person accounts of MIT community members who have struggled with mental health issues. We dig deeply into Judaism's powerful psychological and spiritual resources for resilience, particularly for those grappling with the isolation and shame that can come with depression.
S2 Ep. 5: Raising Our Voices
August 2nd, 2019 | Season 2 | 29 mins 57 secs
Dr. Koach Frazier is an audiologist, an activist, a rabbinical student and a powerful musician. We speak about singing and drumming, and explore how music can support us, uplift us, and lead us to transformation personally and collectively.
S2 Ep. 4: The Spiritual Activist
July 1st, 2019 | Season 2 | 30 mins 53 secs
Claudia Horwitz's life's work has focused on integrating spiritual practice with the work of social change. In this conversation, she shares the strains that social justice work can inflict on activists, and articulates the importance of deep inner work in anchoring and sustaining individuals and groups in their work of tikkun olam.
S2 Ep. 3: Changing the World from the Inside Out
June 11th, 2019 | Season 2 | 32 mins 18 secs
This compelling conversation with Rabbi David Jaffe explores the essential relationship between the pursuit of justice and the spiritual growth that comes from self-knowledge. We discuss his personal experiences of moral and spiritual awakening, as well as the tension between experiencing the brokenness of the world and opening ourselves to the unity of all creation.
S2 Ep. 2: Love Received, Love Extended
April 28th, 2019 | Season 2 | 29 mins 22 secs
This wide-ranging conversation with noted teacher of spirituality Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg begins by recounting the influences that led her toward integrating meditation and yoga into Jewish spirituality. She then digs deeply into the essential interplay between spiritual experience (love received) and spiritually-rooted justice (love extended not only to neighbors, but to strangers, even in the face of trauma and fear.) We conclude by discussing of the transformative practice of spiritual direction.
S2 Ep. 1: Trauma, Healing and Resilience
March 21st, 2019 | Season 2 | 30 mins 54 secs
Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg delves into her deep interest and growing expertise in the varieties of trauma and how trauma has informed Jewish experience on both the individual and the collective level. Equipped with this awareness, we then discuss ways to move beyond trauma and cultivate resilience, and how these approaches inform her development of Reset: Spiritual Practice for Social Justice Organizations.
Episode 21: Tikkun Middot
February 4th, 2019 | Season 1 | 38 mins 3 secs
This conversation with Rabbi Marc Margolius explores the spiritual practice of Tikkun Middot, a mindfulness-based approach to cultivation of character traits.
Episode 20: Choosing Life
December 4th, 2018 | Season 1 | 1 hr 3 mins
This special episode was recorded before a live audience at the Reconstructing Judaism convention in November 2018. I interviewed Susan Levine, an extraordinary person and a member of the Board of Governors of Reconstructing Judaism. Trigger Warning: Susan and I discussed resilience in the aftermath of a suicide attempt. Susan is wise and grounded and deeply reflective, both about her attempts to end her life, and about her decision to live with integrity and beauty afterward. We want listeners to be prepared for what's coming.