We asked clergy across North America which music, books, art, movies and more help them get into a reflective state of mind as they gear up for the High Holidays. Here’s what Rabbi Andy Bachman from Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY, had to say.
ReformJudaism.org: Any favorite musicians you tend to listen to during Elul?
Rabbi Bachman: When Elul comes, I generally listen to Johnny Cash, specifically his last recordings made with Rick Rubin. Hearing him sing, at the end of his life, songs of despair and sin and hope and triumph is always inspiring.
What about writers. Any novelists, poets, or columnists you are drawn to this time of year? Favorite (non-canonical) Elul book?
For poetry, I consistently lean on Yehuda Amichai and then Robert Frost. Amichai captures the beauty of modern Hebrew, reminding me of the virtual miracle of Jewish survival; and Frost in the American context is deep, dark, and terrifying, which I find inspiring in the Days of Awe.
How about visual arts? Any paintings or sculptures that spark soul-searching?
I guess I'd say that Richard Serra is always a journey, no matter what time of year.