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As part of the URJ Reflection Project, a new set of offerings and experiences for the High Holidays in a time of social distance, we’ve also developed three short essays that allow you to go deeper into the essence of Jewish wisdom that grounds these rituals.
Last year, we talked about it being a High Holidays like no other. And this year we are faced with the same opportunity – to create something that has never before existed.
Meet 88-year-old Murray, an astounding man. Quiet, sometimes reserved, Murray became my father-in-law 31 years ago, when God softly whispered to me, “Don’t wait.” I confess I didn’t appreciate him fully until recently.
Every year I look forward to this time as a reset button, and a chance to truly evaluate who I am and who I am becoming. I also know, from my time as a congregational rabbi, that for those of us working in the Jewish world, Elul takes on its own strange character.
This is not going to be a sad story, I promise. But it does start out with the process of going through my parents’ condo after their passing.
This Elul, what comes to mind as I think about my own growth and what empowers me towards religious action is the work of Northeastern University’s Community Fridge.
Blaming God for such tragedies is theologically problematic; blaming God for failed human policies is blasphemous. This idea is worth considering as we cope with the devastating aftermath of the multiple disasters confronting us.
It’s a long-standing custom for Jews to wish one another a “sweet new year” on Rosh Hashanah; to hope that this coming year will be one filled with joy, fulfillment, and an abundance of blessings. However, Judaism isn’t a path focused simply on wishing for good things; if our goal is to make each year “sweeter” than the last, we must work to make it happen.
I pray that our observance of Yom Kippur will be probing and transformative, helping us become the best people and the most inspiring Movement that we are meant to be.
The High Holiday season is an important time of personal and communal reflection, including your congregation’s leadership. This can also be a time of reflection for your congregation’s leadership.