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Elul

2022 Elul Programming  |  Online Elul Resources  |  2022 High Holiday Programming

 

What is Elul?

The month prior to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is Elul. It is used as a time to mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepare for the transition to a new year. Jewish leaders encourage the month of Elul to be a time of introspection and personal stock-taking (known in Hebrew as cheshbon hanefesh…an accounting of the soul), as well as a time for repentance (known in Hebrew as teshuvah...returning). The customs of Elul are meant as preparation for Rosh Hashanah, when Jewish tradition teaches us that divine judgement and forgiveness is given.

This year, we invite you to use the month of Elul to meditate on our theme: Eit Hadash—A New Moment.

The word “eit” in Hebrew can mean moment or time or season, but in either case it is a defined period of time that begins and ends. It is often translated as “time” in the famous passage from Ecclesiastes: “A season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven…a time for weeping and a time for laughing, a time for wailing and a time for dancing…” In any case, an “eit” is a limited window of opportunity to accomplish our intention, a fleeting moment that challenges us to be fully present for it right now, before the opportunity is lost. Cantor Ruth and Rabbi Carrier declared this year’s holidays as an Eit Hadash, a New Moment of emergence from the isolation of the recent past into the connectedness that sustains us as a community. We hope this New Moment will inspire you to be fully present so that you may seize this opportunity while the Gates of Heaven remain open this holiday season. 

What are the traditional customs?

The Blowing of the Shofar: It is tradition to blow the shofar every weekday after morning services to rouse us from complacency and jolt us into repentance.

Psalm 27: It is customary to recite daily Psalm 27, which assures us of God’s protection and also pleas that he not forsake his people.

S’lichot: The prayers of forgiveness called S’lichot, including also the 13 Attributes of Mercy, are recited during Elul. Some communities begin the recitation at the beginning of Elul, though Ashkenazi Jews generally begin the practice on the Saturday prior to Rosh Hashanah.

Elul’s Weekly Torah Readings: The Torah readings during the month of Elul provide timely cues for people to awaken to reflection and observe their lives…

  • Parashat Re’eh – Reminds us to see clearly the possibilities presented in each moment and to choose the path of blessing.
  • Parashat Shoftim – Invites us to consider the unfinished business that tears at our hearts.
  • Parashat Ki Teitzei – Demands that rather than impulsively ceding to our desires, we watch them for deeper truths to be revealed.

The Significance of Elul

The idea of repentance in Jewish thought is a return to the path of righteousness. Devoting an entire month to take dedicated steps of introspection, assessment, goal setting and forgiveness (of both your own transgressions as well as those of others), provides a clean slate and a purposeful path into a new year that is guided by truth and mercy. Our rabbis and Jewish leaders of old knew that this could not be done in a day, and with the customs of Elul, they set their people up for successfully leaving one year behind and beginning fresh in the new year.

2022 Programming 
PJTC has prepared many resources and programming to help inspire and guide your readiness for the new year.

NEW! Shema Circles CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
"Shema" comes from the Hebrew root "to listen." When you sign up for Shema Circles, you are making a 1-hour, September-May monthly commitment to a special group of 8-10 congregants. You'll spend the academic year learning, sharing, laughing and making new discoveries together through a combination of Jewish and secular source material. Sign up here by August 20 to share your date/time/location preferences, and we'll get back to you in late August to reveal your group assignment! If you have any questions about the discussion content or format, just email melissa@pjtc.net.

Jewish Fall Holidays FAQ with Rabbi Carrier: CLICK HERE TO WATCH BEGINNING 8/26
For 30 days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi John Carrier will be sharing daily videos on YouTube answering the most Frequently Asked Questions he hears about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and everything in between. Test your Jewish knowledge and maybe learn something new with your friends at PJTC. Videos, which can be found here will be begin Friday, August 26.

Community S'lichot
Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 7:30PM, virtually via Zoom and Facebook Live and in person at PJTC. 
Join Rabbi Carrier and Cantor Ruth September 17 at 7:30PM in Galpert Sanctuary for a spiritual preview of the High Holy Days. The Selichot service invites us to explore the spiritual themes and the musical motifs of the Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, so we can begin to prepare for this special time at PJTC. 

SHIRAH: High Holy Days Edition'lichot
Thursdays September 1, 8, and 15 at 7:30PM on Katz Terrace
Learn, sing your hearts out, and even try a bit of meditation as you connect with the music and melodies of the High Holy Days season. No experience necessary!

Religious School (LBSRS) Opening Day & High Holidays 101 & 102: Sunday, August 28
9AM–10:30AM: LBSRS families, faculty, & students are invited to a Pancake Breakfast in the Social Hall, sponsored by PJTC Men's Club
...followed by
High Holidays 101 & 102, open to the whole community!
10:30–12:30PM: Preparing for the High Holy Days looks different for all of us. Whether you are brand new to celebrating or an old pro, we will offer opportunities to prepare yourself—in the kitchen, spiritually, or learning how to use the machzor (HHD prayerbook)! More information coming in your synagogue emails.

Listen to the Melodies of the Season - Coming Soon! 
Cantor Ruth and the davening team will be recording a few of the prayers that we deeply associate with the High Holy Days. Recordings will be accessible via the High Holy Day section of the PJTC website soon. We encourage you to play these melodies in your homes to begin creating your spiritual space.

Sisterhood & Men's Club High Holiday Goodies - Coming Soon! 

These giving groups would like to gift you a special High Holy Days goodie bag filled with a holiday challah, honey and apples!

With the sweetness of challah and honey, may reflection and prayer bring new hope to your heart and true peace everywhere in the New Year.

Sisterhood’s Community Outreach program, in collaboration with the Men’s Club and PJTC’s Membership Assistance Committee (MAC), is offering a way for each of our members to welcome in the Jewish New Year with a complimentary one-pound holiday challah, a small jar of honey and a few apples. This will also be an opportunity to receive your High Holy Day Greetings booklet and membership directory.

Although we are inviting you to pick up your celebration package on Friday, September 18, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at PJTC, limited deliveries within a reasonable distance from the synagogue will be available that same day. All appropriate handling and safety precautions will be followed to insure items you receive are contact free.

 

Online Resources

Prayer:

You too can blow the shofar!

  • Click here to watch a how-to video on blowing the shofar.

Engaging Elul as a Family:

  • Click here to read a My Jewish Learning article to help guide family members of all ages toward an enriching Elul.
  • See our ELUL for kids activity suggestions below! (click on the image to open and download a PDF)

Fri, December 9 2022 15 Kislev 5783