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Rabbi Shawn Zevit

Rabbi Shawn Zevit


Introduction to Reconstructionism

Part two of a two-part conversation with Rabbi Mordechai Liebling about the development, philosophy, theology and practices that have emerged from Reconstructionist Judaism. An episode of Heart, Mind and Spirit.

God—Through A Reconstructionist Lens

In this episode of the radio show Heart, Mind and Spirit, Rabbi Richard Hirsh, RRC '81, offers an-depth look at Reconstructionist theology, Kaplan's views of God and current views of how the Divine "Power that makes for Salvation" is expressed in our lives and communities.

Rosh Hashanah

Rabbis Erin Hirsh, RRC '00, and Shawn Zevit, RRC '98, engage in a dialogue about one of the most powerful and widely celebrated times of the Jewish year cycle. How did the Jewish New Year evolve? What are the key practices that express the central ideas of this High Holy Day? What are the...

The Origins of Sukkot

Rabbi Vivian Schirn discusses the origins, development and practices of the fall Festival of Booths, with attention to home and synagogue celebration. This program is an episode of the radio program Heart, Mind and Spirit.

Passover: The Holiday

Rabbis Jacob Staub, RRC '77, and Shawn Zevit, RRC '98, discuss the holiday of Passover: its origins, its status as the most celebrated Jewish festival, and its major themes (which are so rich for Reconstructionist interpretation. This is an episode of the radio program Heart, Mind and Spirit...

Passover: The Seder

This audio program offers an overview of the structure, development and religious meanings of the haggadah and the Passover seder with Rabbis Joy Levitt and Richard Hirsh. It includes a special behind-the-scenes look at the Reconstructionist haggadah, A Night of Questions...


Rabbis Fred Dobb and Richard Hirsh look at the development of the philosophy and practice of kashrut from Biblical times to the present and what a Reconstructionist approach to kashrut can mean for us today. An episode of Heart, Mind and Spirit.

Kabbalah: What is Jewish Mysticism?

Dr. Joel Hecker discusses Jewish Mysticism. What are the key texts and traditions of Jewish mystical tradition? What are current trends towards a popularization of Kabbalah about and what is the role of Jewish mysticism in Reconstructionism? An episode of Heart, Mind and Spirit.

Women in Spiritual Leadership

Rabbis Linda Holtzman and Elyse Wechterman explore the issues and challenges that face Jewish women in leadership roles, particularly in congregational life, as well as the opportunities and contributions female rabbis have been part of in recent years. An episode of Heart, Mind and Spirit...

Issues for Jewish Men Today

Harry Brod and Shawn Zevit discuss their experience over the years writing about and leading retreats and workshops for Jewish men. Particular attention is given to the issues of being a man in Western culture and a Jew, and how these religious, ethnic, and gender issues impact Jewish men today...

Reconstructionist Education

Rabbis Jeffrey Schein, RRC '77, and Linda Holtzman, RRC '79, examine the key components of an effective Reconstructionist education in an episode of the radio program Heart, Mind and Spirit.

The "Kehillah Mekabelet" - Welcoming Congregation

An inspiring discussion with writer Roberta Israeloff, as she traces her faith journey that lead her from alienation with the Judaism of her youth to finding a Reconstructionist congregation to call her spiritual home. There, she fought for a policy explicitly welcoming gay and lesbian Jews. An...

The Changing Role of the Rabbi

An exploration of the many facets of being and becoming a rabbi in contemporary society with Rabbi Richard Hirsh. What were the pre-modern roles and responsibilities of a rabbi? How have they changed into the 21st century? What is particular to being a Reconstructionist Rabbi and leadership in...

Training the 21st Century Rabbi

A dynamic conversation with Rabbi David Teutsch about the historic and current methods of identifying and training future Jewish leaders, with particular attention to the experiences and programs at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and models of becoming a Reconstructionist Rabbi. An...

Social Action (Tikkun Olam)

Rabbi Brian Walt, RRC '84, explores tikkun olam through Reconstructionist philosophy and communal values. This is an episode of the audio program Heart, Mind and Spirit.

Communities and Resources

Rabbis Shawn Zevit and Mordechai Liebling discuss the uses and variety of values-based approaches to money and other resources in congregational planning, dues, budgets, building campaigns, fundraising and tzedakah. This program relates to the JRF leadership workshop and resource book on Jewish...

A Torah of Money

Sue Hoffman and Larry Bush engage in a lively discussion about the way money has historically been and can be a spiritual tool for communal and societal transformation. Special focus is given to the meaning ascribed to money, issues of class and social justice in Jewish life. An episode of ...

Governing Documents This document defines different kids of core documents that are important in congregational life: mission/vision statements, bylaws, minutes, guidelines and policies.
Governance Structures This document serves as a guide to different kinds of leadership structures that are important in congregational life and their well-being: the board, the executive committee, other committees, meetings.
Lay Leadership/Staff A guide to thinking about the interaction of lay leadership with professional and non-professional staff in a Reconstructionist congregation.
Planning for Change: Dollars and Sense A guide to thinking about and implementing long-term strategic planning in your congregation as a community building process.
Resources on Congregational Leadership and Governance An extensive list of books and articles about many aspects of effective institutional leadership and governance.
A Values-Based Approach to Jewish Communal Leadership and Congregational Governance Defines the terms "leadership" and "governance" to help create holy and whole communities.
A Jewish Approach to Obligatory Giving This 2001 article explores our discomfort with money, offers some historical perspective and some contemporary solutions of how American congregations have set up their dues structure.
A Group Discussion About Money (RT Winter 1999/2000) This article from Reconstructionism Today contains a transcript of a conference call involving Rabbi Shawn Zevit, JRF board members and synagogue representatives from the West Coast Region about the Torah of Money workshops.
Dues and Financial Policy: Our Tax for Jewish Citizenship This article brings a historical perspective on biblical taxation, suggesting that synagogue dues are a tax for Jewish citizenship. It also introduces the idea of "fair share" dues, where individual members' dues vary based on their income.
Organizing Money: Capital Campaigns and Fundraising A guide to values-based, community-oriented fundraising. Includes sections on general/annual fundraising, capital campaigns and solicitation.
Fundraising Tips Values-based tips for general fundraising, continued support, capital campaigns, studying feasibility and movement giving from the JRF Department of Affiliate Services.
Tzedakah and the Jewish Holidays: Giving for Social Change Ideas for giving opportunities throughout the Jewish year. Connects each Jewish holiday to the concept of tzedakah and recommends a relevant type of beneficiary to support.
Books on Values and Resources A list of books about Jewish values and money.
Kehillah Builders: Inreach, Outreach and Membership This article connects effective inreach and outreach in the process of community growth. Thinking about how to grow can help a congregation figure out how to better serve its current members as well.
Values Inventory An exercise examining your congregation's goals and values, evaluating successes and planning for the future.
Resources on Community Building A list of books and periodicals about congregational growth, outreach and inreach.
Ways to Welcome New Members A list of ways to warmly welcome new members into your community, from partnering new members with veteran members to running special programs for members' uninvolved partners and families.
The Role of Text Study in Congregational Values-Based Decision Making This article encourages communities to draw on ancient and contemporary texts as they develop and articulate their values.
Shabbat Zahor -- Reconstructing Amalek Via Hasidism "Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Mitzrayim. How he surprised you on the march, and cut down all the weak ones who were behind. When you were famished ...
The Spiritual Dimension of Justice Prayers, songs, and text study meant to be used to focus and inspire people who set out to do social justice work.
Sustainability Sources From Jewish Tradition In 2007, JRF launched its third Omer text-study initiative. That year's theme was sustainability. These texts were compiled from Jewish tradition (including contemporary and Reconstructionist texts) to help participants develop their own teachings.
Synagogue Governance as a Sacred Trust The conclusion of JRF's 2001 Leadership workshop series
The Evolving Face of Reconstructionism Reflections on Mordecai Kaplan's "Second Century"
Synagogue Dues with Less Blues Congregations seek dues policies aligned with Reconstructionist process and Jewish values.
Ecological Sustainability and Jewish Civilization

Rabbi Shawn Zevit passionately promotes the importance of both tikkun hanefesh (healing of the soul) and tikkun olam (healing of the world). This file outlines a talk he gave to launch the 2007 Omer study period for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. The theme is...

Contemporary Shalom Aleykhem New interpretation of traditional text sung to welcome the Sabbath.
Contemporary Lecha Dodi

Listen to a contemporary setting of Lecha Dodi.


Rabbis Shai Gluskin and Linda Potemken explore the history and meaning of the Jewish spring festival, the counting of the Omer, and the time of "receiving of the Torah." This is an episode of the radio program Heart, Mind and Spirit.

Jewish Family Life

Rabbi Jeffrey Schein explores the principles and meaningful experiences that make for a rich Jewish family life and how Reconstructionist approaches can help create a positive Jewish learning environment at home. An episode of Heart, Mind and Spirit.

Budgets: Living Our Values in a Financial Plan

A guide to exploring your community's relationship to money and creating a budget for your congregation based on your values and priorities.

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