Meet Our New Community Manager, Ryn Silverstein

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We sat down with Ryn Silverstein, the latest addition to the team, to discuss ritual, Jewish life, and her new role. Here's what Ryn had to say: 

Tell me about an early memory of a special ritual. 


When I was quite young, my family had a regular meditation practice. Sometimes, family friends would come over to our house and we’d all meditate together. I remember being around seven or eight years old and just sitting silently on the couch with my eyes closed for upwards of thirty minutes at a time—maybe that sounds impressive but I honestly spent most of that time daydreaming instead of practicing nonattachment to my thoughts. Either way, it was always a special time where I felt I could really rest and let my mind wander without any other responsibilities. Even at that young age, I began to feel connected to something beyond myself, and I think it was also vital in nurturing my ability to think creatively, which was essential in a space without distractions like tv or video games!


What excites you about being the first Community Manager at 


I see as the best kind of potluck, one where everyone brings a really special dish to share and it’s possible to combine different foods together to make something unique and delicious. This community is made up of so many brilliant people, each of whom has their own take on rituals that can make Jewish life more intentional, diverse, and inclusive for us all. It’s an honor to be the first Community Manager, and I’m thrilled to have the space and creative freedom to innovate and to work with so many amazing people. 


What are you looking forward to creating in this role? 


I’m especially excited to bring my ritual expertise to this role in creating more LGBTQ+ content, rituals for social justice, and rituals to support creativity and connect with one’s soul purpose. Rituals connect us to something beyond ourselves, whether that’s community, divinity, or a greater sense of meaning in life. I sincerely believe that within every experience lies a ritual just waiting to be created. 


What’s a ritual that’s close to your heart? 


In 2019, I received ordination from the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, which is a feminist ritual leadership training program that focuses on embodied experience and earth-based Judaism. As part of my training, I developed and led a queer full moon ritual for the month of Tammuz. As Tammuz is traditionally a month tinged with grief in preparation for the traditional mourning day of Tisha b’Av several weeks afterwards, the kavanah, or intention, of the ritual was twofold: to connect with the grief so many of us were feeling and continue to feel around white supremacy, climate change, and other important issues while simultaneously replenishing ourselves for the work still to come. The ritual itself centered around handwashing, a traditional Jewish practice of cleansing and purification, and participants said afterwards that they came away feeling refreshed and renewed. 


What would you change about Jewish life? 


To my mind, much of Jewish life today is still very focused on a narrow understanding of Jewish continuity, that is, the focus on replicating a very specific kind of Jewish identity that can exclude patrilineal Jews, Jews of Color, LGBTQ Jews, interfaith families, and Jews-by-choice, among others. Driving this exclusion is the fear that Jewish life is changing beyond recognition. But while Jewish life is indeed changing, isn’t that cause for celebration? I for one welcome a more diverse and inclusive Judaism that creates room for and celebrates the multiplicity of our identities and perspectives. And here at, we’re creating and curating rituals to do just that. 


How are you hoping to build relationships with our community of users? 


I’m looking forward to connecting with this community by reaching out to those who are already engaged in creating ritual content, whether that’s Passover-focused, related to everyday spirituality, or for the High Holidays, and cultivating those relationships as well as inviting those who are engaged users but not necessarily content creators into deeper relationship with us on a communal level. I hope to do this through webinars, one on one podcast conversations, and further developing our communal space. 

Hanukkah Cooking Hotline Webinar

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The duo behind The Gefilteria, Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, answer all your burning Hanukkah cooking queries and offer culinary inspiration and empowerment to reimagine the Hanukkah menu. Their recipes are featured in our Hanukkah Cookbook.

Find Liz and Jeffrey and The Gefilteria at: and @Gefilteria


Cooking Tips Discussed During the Webinar
Preferred oils: grapeseed oil, avocado oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil are all great neutral oils for frying
Balance out the meal with: goose or brisket, salads featuring in-season vegetables and fruit, stew, sauerkraut or something for tartness like cranberry sauce
Cookbook recommendation: Malka's Secret Recipe and The Jewish Cookbook by Leah Koenig
Hanukkah treats that aren't latkes: cheese fritters, bimuelos, zoulbia 
Substitutions: corn starch or potato starch for gluten free, pre-cook potatoes for vegan recipes
Eliminate cooking smells: put bowls of baking soda on the counter, boil water with lemon and a cinnamon stick


Year-Ending Ritual Webinar

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Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife ( leads us in rituals to count down and release as we move toward (and embrace) the darkest part of the year. For the eight reflection questions Keshira shares in this session, visit:


DIY Outdoor Menorah Webinar

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Paper bags and other basic household items are all you need to create your own outdoor menorah. Artist Hillel Smith demonstrates different techniques to customize your menorah's design.

For a list of supplies and templates to cut out letters and shapes on your menorah, click here:

Celebrate Chanukah With Custom & Craft And Our Partners!

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Celebrate Chanukah (or Hanukkah) with Custom & Craft and our community of partners! We've got something for everyone to make this Festival of Lights extra festive. 

For Families, Artists and Cooks: Custom & Craft is teaming up with our favorite artists and makers for a webinar series made possible through the ROI Community Grassroots Events program. Make a DIY outdoor menorah on December 7. End the year with ritual & intention on December 8. And get your Hanukkah cooking questions answered on December 11

For Seekers: Tend the hearth with Shamir Collective and Tiny Tevet Treasures, starting December 16, and keep the spark of connection alive this winter. All are welcome, and no previous knowledge of the month of Tevet or the rhythms of the Hebrew Calendar are required. This project of Shamir Collective is donation based. Curious to learn more? Click here.

For Adults with Special Needs: Custom & Craft and the Marlene Meyerson JCC will share creative rituals to make the most of the winter cozy season on December 16. Register at:

For Adults 60+: Custom & Craft and the Marlene Meyerson JCC will share creative rituals to make the most of the winter cozy season on December 14. Register at:

For Body Positive Adults: Rabbi Minna Bromberg of Fat Torah will lead A Miracle of Fat, a webinar on December 13, celebrating fat - the thing that saved us during Hanukkah! Learn more at:

For Secular Jews, Interfaith & Intercultural Families: Rabbi Denise Handlarski of Secular Synagogue shares the real history of the holiday with Hanukkah For Heretics on December 8th. Register at:

For LGBTQ+ Adults: JQ's annual Gelty Pleasures on December 17 features a Drag Queen Bingo Party and Hanukkah candle lighting, drag performances and more!  Register at:

For Anyone Wishing To Be Included In A Circle Of Women: SVIVAH is celebrating Hag HaBanot/Eid al Benat at HerTorah on 12/16. This Sephardic Celebration of Womanhood will features customs & guest scholars and honors upcoming b'not mitzvah. Find out more at

For Everyone: Find gatherings from around the world as well as resources on Here For's Hanukkah website:



Announcing Our 2020 Chanukah Webinar Series

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Get ready to celebrate Chanukah with DIY art projects, meaningful ritual and delicious food!
Find inspiration to make this Chanukah full of light with webinars featuring our favorite artists and makers. This event was made possible through the ROI Community Grassroots Events program. 

Join for one, two, or join all three!  All sessions will be recorded and shared with everyone who registers and session times are Eastern. 

DIY Outdoor Menorah with Hillel Smith - Monday, December 7 at 6 pm Eastern

Paper bags and other basic household items are all you'll need to create your own outdoor menorah. Artist Hillel Smith will demonstrate different techniques to customize your menorah's design and will talk about his work making public art that's Jewish. Family-friendly with options for kids of all ages. Register at:

Year-Ending Ritual with Kohenet Keshira HaLev Fife - Tuesday, December 8 at 1 pm Eastern
As the end of this challenging year approaches, what do we want to release, to keep and to give away. Kohenet Keshira HaLev Fife will lead us in reflections and rituals to help us close 2020 with grace, gratitude and acts of kindness. Register at:

Hanukkah Cooking Hotline with The Gefilteria - Friday, December 11 at noon
The duo behind The Gefilteria, Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, will answer all of your burning Hanukkah cooking queries and offer you some culinary inspiration and empowerment to reimagine the Hanukkah menu. We'll discuss schmaltz-powered menorahs, the true story of the latke, how to avoid a stomach ache and so much more. Family-friendly. Register at:

Start Your Hanukkah Shopping Without Leaving The House!

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Just In Time For Chanukah - We're Relaunching Our Holiday Store! 

Have you enjoyed on your computer? Now you can bring us safely into your home this Chanukah season with our signature quirky, creative and fun Jewish holiday store. Shop cards, totebags, ritual objects and more at 

Happy Holidays from! 

Thanksgiving Gratitude Webinar With Freedom's Feast

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In this workshop, we'll explore gratitude and a new way of connecting with your family this Thanksgiving. Similar to a Passover seder, Freedom's Feast is a way to bring intention and meaning to the Thanksgiving table, whether we're gathering in-person or virtually.

Ready to start? We've got you covered with our Gratitude Reflections booklet, Freedom Feast's 10-Minute Thanksgiving Ceremonykeepsake plate activityways to make Thanksgiving meaningful and more

Sponsored by and the Jewish Grandparents Network.

Thanksgiving 2020: Finding Gratitude When We’re Gathering Differently

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Explore how to have a meaningful, multi-generational and fun Thanksgiving this year with a webinar on Thursday, November 12 at 1 pm Eastern, sponsored by, Jewish Grandparents Network and Freedom's Feast.    
                                                                  Click Here to Register

And keep reading for an article by Freedom's Feast Co-Founder Lee Hendler about expressing gratitude. 

Thanksgiving will be here in a few weeks. For many of us it will not be the Thanksgiving of years past. Even as that saddens us, we yearn for greater connection with those we love and a truly meaningful celebration of the holiday’s purpose.

This is the gratitude holiday. In times of challenge especially, reflecting on the things that ground us: our essential relationships, stories, values, and purpose fills us with resolve and genuine gratitude.

Thanksgiving also strikes a deeply engrained impulse in us. Although most of us no longer grow our food, this harvest holiday, like Sukkot, represents the gratitude and joy our ancestors felt at the end of the growing season despite the real uncertainty they faced in the months ahead. Their survival response became ours when we engage in a familiar form of thanksgiving. We recite the Shehechiynau prayer during many holidays—the supreme Jewish prayer of praise and gratitude. Embedded in our recitation is the hope that we will be able to recite the same prayer when the holiday returns again. We will not be the same individuals but—God willing—we will be granted the joy of celebrating the moment again. Perhaps that is why we are so attached to the familiar Thanksgiving markers of beloved recipes, family traditions, and places we gather? Reaching them signals that we have safely completed the year. We are “home” again—not the same people we were a year ago—but gathering in the same way.

This year, however, most of us will gather differently. Our markers will be different but our desire to express our gratitude remains.  Freedom’s Feast offers original resources to help you and your family explore and express gratitude at your gathering in ways that are meaningful, memorable and fun.

To explore resources from Freedom's Feast, continue reading here:

Cozy Up With At-Home Ritual This Winter

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The High Holidays are over, but’s creative, innovative Jewish ritual workshops are now available as a customizable experience. Choose one of the topics below, or collaborate with our team to design a one-of-a-kind gathering for your community.  


Creating Sacred Space At Home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our homes have adapted to accommodate a range of needs. With access to our usual sacred spaces like synagogues limited, we have the opportunity to transform a small corner of our homes into an altar, a spiritual sanctuary. This guided and interactive workshop will share practical mindsets and adaptable tools that empower participants to create intentionally sacred space in their homes, and to build authentic rituals around using that space. 


Seasonal Seders

The Passover seder is one of the most beloved Jewish traditions for good reason: it’s interactive, playful and open to creative interpretations. These meals with meaning have also served as inspiration for celebrating other holidays - Rosh Hashanah, Tu Bishvat and even Juneteenth. As we experience deep changes in how we gather, what opportunities might the seder provide for reimagining other celebrations? In this workshop we will collectively design a community seder for the event of your choice.


DIY Blessing Books

Get your creative juices flowing as you find a more authentic connection to the practice of blessing. Together, we’ll write our own blessings and intentions, then turn them into a simple book. No experience necessary, but please bring your craft materials. 


Designing Jewish Rituals

What role does design play in our connection to tradition? How might we design transformative moments together? Learn the basic principles of design thinking, and how they can help us understand the building blocks of our Jewish rituals. In this session, breakout groups will work together to redesign a Jewish ritual to fit their current needs. Available as a 90-minute Zoom session or a virtual weekend hack-a-thon. 

Dates for these workshops are available now for fall and winter 2020, and fees are negotiable. Please contact Rebecca Missel, Director of Partnerships, at [email protected] to learn more. 

We can’t wait to create ritual with you!