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30 Days of Elul – Day 12 - Repentance

The big word for this season is "repentance".  It's a concept we don't easily embrace. We live in a society in which perfection is not a goal but an expectation.  We get incredibly angry when things don't go as we expect they should.  There are not supposed to be missed appointments, traffic jams,

30 Days of Elul - Day 11

Every morning as we wake up, before we even open our eyes, we are taught to say the prayer, “Modeh ani l’fanecha, melech chai v’kayam; she’hechezarta be nishmati b’chemla, raba emunatecha.” I thank you, living and enduring God, for You have graciously returned my soul within me. Great is your

30 Days of Elul - Day 10 - Awe

30 Days of Elul - Day 10 - Awe

As a child of the 90s, when I was growing up, everything was AWESOME! Maybe it was because of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but if something wasn’t awesome, it was garbage. Of course, as a 10 year old I had no idea what awe really was. Awe is so much deeper than really, really liking

30 Days of Elul - Day 8 - Psalm 27

Biblical scholar Robert Alter describes the Psalms as something that “has meant so much to countless people in their own hour of uncertainty and dread.” "The Lord is my light and my rescue. Whom should I fear? The Lord is my life's stronghold. Of whom should I be afraid?" -Psalm 27:1 It is

30 Days of Elul - Day 7 - Psalm 27

 Cantor Lori Shapiro and Cantorial Soloist Michelle Auslander Cohen  

30 Days of Elul - Day 6 - What does the month of Elul mean to me?

The High Holy Days: The Olympics of the Jewish year!  There is an inevitable tunnel vision that takes over me just as Elul begins. Because my primary role on the High Holy Days is to use my voice as a vehicle to reach God - to not only hear my prayers but the prayers of my congregation, it is of the

30 Days of Elul - Day 5 - Your Wake Up Call

30 Days of Elul - Day 5 - Your Wake Up Call

“Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles…” We read this in our prayer book and yet much of the time we do just that. Many of us belong to that group of busy people who fly through life, often missing so much along the way. We find ourselves overwhelmed with lists and

30 Days of Elul - Day 4 - The Moon

30 Days of Elul - Day 4 - The Moon

Every rabbi, and really every Jew, should own a watch with a moon phase function. So much of Jewish life is linked to the moon and her phases. Now we have calendars and websites and apps that tell us when the Jewish holidays are, but for thousands of years it was the moon that guided us. The

30 Days of Elul - Day 3

30 Days of Elul - Day 3

This is my favorite painting in the whole world.  The oil painting “Samson and Delilah” painted in the early 1600’s by Peter Paul Rubens hangs in the National Gallery in London and I visited it often when I lived in England after college.  It depicts a tender, gentle moment before everything