Each year as summer fades into fall, Jewish tradition invites us to turn inward. The month of Elul precedes the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We dedicate this time to preparing ourselves for the holidays so that we can experience them as fully as possible. During Elul we are asked to look into ourselves. We think about who we are and who we want to be. Whose forgiveness do we need in order for us to enter a new year with a clean slate? Judaism offers help for this period of introspection in several ways: The shofar sounds daily, awakening us from complacency; later in the month, prayers of repentance—selikhot—are added to the daily liturgy. Perhaps most important, during Elul, we can support each other through the process of requesting and offering forgiveness with full and open hearts.
Month of Elul
The prayers and tunes of S’lichot are meant to crack into our yearnings for all that is good, righteous and holy, and to point us toward our own errors. We’ve put stumbling blocks in front of...
For me, living in two civilizations means that they inform one another.