OneShul is the world’s only online chavurah: a synagogue not led by a rabbi, but by the community who makes OneShul happen. Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, holiday and special services are our regular monthly live streaming events, as well as classes on lots of Jewish topics and special chat sessions where people from all over the Internet can experience Judaism together. Join us by clicking here.
Our online leadership school, Darshan Yeshiva, teaches you everything you need to know to become a Darshan, a lay Jewish spiritual leader serving unaffiliated communities all over the world. There are so many Jews out there who need community, but for whom there will never be a brick-and-mortar synagogue community. That’s where YOU come in!
- Prayer Book Hebrew
- Liturgy for Shacharit, Mincha, Maariv
- Shabbat and Holiday Services
- Jewish history, philosophy and literature
- The Jewish calendar
- Lay chaplaincy including hospital visits
- Life cycle events including bar/bat mitzvah, baby naming, funerals and shiva minyanim
- Practical halacha and Talmud
- Maggid training
It has been seven years since PunkTorah started as “Punk Rock Torah” on YouTube. A weekly commentary on the Torah from a punk rock singer became a website, a non-profit, and the amazing online community we are today.
A lot has changed in seven years. We have the blog under our belts, as well as the online synagogue OneShul and the online Jewish school Darshan Yeshiva, providing distance learning conversion to Judaism and lay spiritual leader training. There have been some missteps along the way: websites that came and went, things we thought would take off but did not.
Where we are today is somewhere that best can be described as magical. You, the PunkTorah community, are making it all happen. And it has made us think strongly about what we need to spend our time working on, and what we needed to let go.
PunkTorah Blog Will Be Frozen In Carbonite
From this point forward, the PunkTorah blog will be going into archive mode. There are lots of great Jewish blogs out there and we would rather sail off into the sunset than attempt to compete for attention in a crowded space. You’ll always be able to search our archive and glean lots of amazing spiritual lessons.
Instead of our blog, PunkTorah will be focused on new creative projects, including Questions@, our latest community offering. More announcements coming soon, we promise.
Long Live OneShul (thanks Ketzirah!)
We’re thrilled that Kohenet Ketzirah, the long time co-leader of OneShul has stepped up to be our director. Ketzirah will be guiding the online community, growing it in ways we cannot yet imagine. But she will need your help! So make sure to reach out to her.
We never thought Darshan Yeshiva would grow the way that it did. That is because you, the online community, wanted it more than anything else. So Darshan Yeshiva will be our primary focus, growing our online conversion program, creating new classes, and finding more ways to improve the community aspect of the website.
So I’m sitting here listening to Matisyahu rock it on the Miracle remix EP and thinking about Hanukkah. I’ve been having this nearly heretical thought lately. I know, not shocking for me — but go with it.
Hanukkah is the festival of lights – right?
The solstice aspect and the reviving of the light is even older than the Maccabee aspect, if you think about it. There’s certainly ancient midrash about Adam at the solstice and such. The central ritual activity is lighting the 9-branch menorah called a Hanukkiah. Just about everything else we added on over the centuries, which is just fine.
But let’s go back to that light thing again. It’s the festival of lights….
Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking about. All those super pretty lights, preferably the white ones – not the tacky color ones, that our Christian neighbors put up this time of year. Yeah…we have the festival of lights, but they put up the lights? I know it could be seen as the height of assimilation, but what if we adopted white lights on our homes too. It seems like the urge to put all those lights and candles up all springs from a deep mythic place where we are all afraid of the dark. Where we’re all afraid that the sun really won’t come back and it will just keep getting darker and darker.
I know when I walk home during the winter I’m so grateful for all those lights. They push back the darkness. The remind me, even the tacky ones, that I have neighbors and I’m not alone in the world. Someone must be there to make those lights happen right?
Trust me, I’m not for the Christmas-ization of Hanukkah. I had a “Hanukkah Bush” when I was a kid. It makes me a bit ill in retrospect. There’s just no way that tacky white plastic tree had anything to do with the Jewish wheel of the year. But lights I think we have a pretty valid claim on. I know traditional Judaism likes to put as many walls between us and breaking mitzvot as they can, but would some pretty white lights be so wrong during these dark days?