Thanks & Acknowledgements
Ben Zoma used to say: "What labors did Adam have to carry out before he obtained bread to eat? He ploughed. He sowed. He reaped. He bound the sheaves, threshed the grained, winnowed the chaff, selected the ears, ground them, sifted the flour, kneaded the dough, and baked it. Only then was he able to eat. But I get up and find that all these things have already been done for me. Similarly, how many labors did Adam have to carry out before he obtained a garment to wear? He had to shear the sheep, wash the wool, comb it, spin it, and weave it. All I have to do is get up and find these things done for me.
All kinds of artisans come early to the door of my house, and I rise in the morning and find all these before me.”
– Talmud Berachot 58a
About Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and influential spiritual teachers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Reb Zalman died in 2014. May the memory of this righteous man be blessed and a blessing! His teaching CDs are featured here because he was a mentor and colleague to Rabbi Debra. They led High Holiday services together for 14 years, and the CDs are edited from live recordings of those services.
Learn more about Reb Zalman’s life and legacy at the Reb Zalman Legacy Project.
A note about RabbiDebra.com and ShareWonder Media
For those of you ordering CDs - and I hope it's all of you - you are about to hear something truly wonderful. I’m excited for you. I first heard Debra speak some 20 years ago at an all-night study session for Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates God giving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. I came planning to stay for a couple of hours to “check out” all the talk I had been hearing about Rabbi Debra. No doubt, she was charming. I had met her socially on a few occasions. But what else did she have to offer?
I was not prepared for the impact her teaching had on me – intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. I ended up staying and studying all night. Our numbers dwindled from well over 100 to just over 10 by the time of 6 am morning prayers. Outside in the sun, I stood in a circle of strangers I had not known the night before. Now I related deeply to them, to God, and to myself. Rabbi Debra had led me to this place. She was the “real deal.” She had gotten through my critical shell and helped me to make my own discoveries, to get excited about my Judaism, to connect with community, and to feel my own soul – not just hers – at work in the world.
After that, I attended her services and classes. I contributed my time and expertise to her ministry and to recording her words, always with the idea of bringing her teachings to a wider audience.
ShareWonder Media grew out of this experience and my desire to share Debra's teachings with you. I invite you to listen to these CDs and the wonderful teachings of the eminent Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. These audio releases have been edited from live recordings and were delivered at High Holiday services to several hundred people. As Rabbi Debra introduces prayers, explains holy texts, offers her own commentaries, and answers questions offered spontaneously from congregants, I think you will discover both her great transformative power and, more deeply, your own . . . Oh, and by the way, she is now my wife.
- Craig Weisz
President, ShareWonder Media & RabbiDebra.com
Partners and Associates:
Congregation B'nai Israel is Rabbi Debra Orenstein's new home synagogue in Emerson, New Jersey.
Makom Ohr Shalom was Rabbi Debra Orenstein’s previous synagogue in Tarzana, California.
Reb Zalman’s Legacy Project will tell you more about this great teacher and how his students are helping to preserve his legacy.
Jewish Lights/Turner Publishing is the publisher of Lifecycles 1: Jewish Women on Life Passages and Personal Milestones and Lifecycles 2: Jewish Women on Biblical Themes in Contemporary Life, edited by Rabbi Debra.
Zmiros Database - As a labor of love, the son of a dear friend has created an impressive resource for learning and sharing Jewish songs traditionally sung around the table on Sabbaths and holidays.
Steve Rachwal designed our CD covers and other materials. He's a great designer and wonderful man.
Mark Reden, a beloved member of Makom Ohr Shalom, took many of the photos that appear on this website.
Craig Weisz Photography. was launched after several friends and fans relentlessly encouraged Craig, Rabbi Debra’s husband, to showcase and sell the photographs he had been taking since his film school days. Now you can see his vision and purchase his creations – from display-quality prints to greeting cards.
Service and Charities:
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease, among the people of the developing world.
Breaking the Chain Through Education is a grass-roots, volunteer-based charity that helps liberate child slaves in Ghana to ensure their ongoing freedom. Founded in 2006 by a social studies teacher from Metuchen, NJ, who read about child slaves in The New York Times one day and made it his mission to make a difference, BTCTE continues to free boys as young as six and provides former slaves with education, rehabilitation, food, health care, and job training.
The Fistula Foundation is dedicated to preventing and curing obstetrical fistulas, holes that develop during childbirth between a woman’s birth passage and one or more of her internal organs. While we see very few fistulas in the West, they are rampant in the poor countries of Africa and Asia, due to malnutrition and inadequate obstetrical care. The results are catastrophic: women suffer infertility, incontinence, infections, foul smells, and abandonment by their families and communities. The good news is that cure rate for a relatively simple low-cost surgery is 90%, and prevention costs pennies, while curing other ills simultaneously.
Free the Slaves is among the most influential and effective abolitionist organizations operating today. Working on the frontlines, in partnership with many local activists, it uncovers slavery and liberates men, women, and children. It also partners with businesses, ngo’s, governments, and people like you and me to change the policies and practices that allow slavery to flourish.
Good People Fund , founded by some of the same folks who worked on Danny Siegel’s Ziv Tzedakah Fund, is named for the good people who do grass-roots charitable work, the good people who need those services, and the good people who lend their financial support.
Hadassah, the world’s largest Jewish women’s organization, does ground-breaking work in medicine and community-building, both in Israel and in the Diaspora. Hannah Mathilda Weisz, Rabbi Debra’s daughter, is a fourth-generation lifetime member of Hadassah.
Jewish World Watch (JWW) is a coalition of over 70 synagogues dedicated to advocating for the prevention of genocide and the proper care for its victims.
The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the overseas arm of the American Jewish community, providing support to Jews and non-Jews across the globe. I grew up hearing about “the Joint,” and couldn’t initially figure out how some speakeasy was able to do so much good, world-wide.
The New Israel Fund (NIF) supports the vision of the Israeli declaration of independence: social justice and equality for all people in the Jewish State, without regard to religion, race, or gender. To date, NIF has supported about 1,000 grass-roots organizations with over $300 million in grants.
The Passover Project co-founded by Rabbi Debra and Maurice Middleberg, former executive director of Free the Slaves, is a coalition of over 60 synagogues and Jewish schools that work year-round toward the goal of ending slavery by the year 2030. Passover Project partner organizations practice and promote advocacy, education, fundraising, and responsible purchasing and investing, The Passover Project creates downloadable curriculum and holiday resources that connect Jewish values and history to the plight of slaves today. Annual campaigns bring relief to slavery hot spots around the world.