Tag Archives: Elul

A Side Project

A Side Project

As the High Holidays are hurtling toward us, I feel completely unprepared…

There, I’ve said it. Don’t worry, as far as work and sermons and Torah and such, I am completely on top of things. What I am unprepared for is the spiritual aspects of the month of Tishrei.

So, I’m going to slow things down a bit, build up my kavanah a bit. I’ve launched 29 Days of Tishrei as a personal project to help me do that. Each day, from the remaining days of Elul and all the way through Tishrei, I’m going to post up something that I think is of interest around the Holy Days, Festivals, and life that we live during this Jewish month.

I hope you’ll follow my musings over this next month or so!

Click the link at the top of this post to head over to the new blog, or go to http://29daystishrei.tumblr.com.

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Beginning Elul Reflections

For the past few days, I’ve been with high schoolers from all over New England at NFTY-Northeast’s Summer Institute, held at Eisner Camp in the Berkshires. It’s been such a great time.

Each morning and night, the participants and faculty all gather together for services. Last night, as we all sat together on the broad Universal Lawn, the service leaders invited the participants to go take a short walk during silent prayer. I have always found this technique a really effective one to conjure up those most personal prayers and reflections. As the participants wandered, I noticed a whole bunch of them headed toward the lake. There is something about getting to stare into some water that brings on a prayerful moment, I suppose. To get to look at something natural and beautiful, there is nothing quite like that to help us reflect on what’s really important in our lives.

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In this Jewish month of Elul, as we enter into focused attention on ourselves and our relationships, we need spaces conducive to those reflections. The High Holidays are made all the more meaningful when we do that work now. Our participants, while at camp, get that space built into their experience here. Still, when we are able to craft that time and space in our regular work and home, we give ourselves a gift.

Where are those special places for each of us? And, are we spending time there right now?

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