Today we are celebrating Rosh Chodesh Elul, the first of the month of Elul. Elul is the month that precedes Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In many ways, this month is as important as our High Holidays themselves. During these 30 days, we are meant to engage in introspection and t'shuvah.
This makes me think of the Summer Olympics (happening as I write this). The athletes compete for medals and accolades, and sometimes the competition is as short as just a few seconds (I'm thinking of Usain Bolt's 100 meter run.) But we know that the real work of the athletes did not happen in Rio. The real work took place during years of intense training and discipline.
As we move through the 30 days of Elul, I hope that each of us is able to do the personal training necessary to ensure that the High Holidays are a meaningful coda to the work that we've done.
The Hebrew month of Elul is the last month of the Jewish year. As such, it is considered a month of spiritual preparation for the High Holy Days. For several years, a group of Reform rabbis has collaborated on a series of Elul Thoughts, shared with our congregations in a daily email, and accompanied by a daily Tweet. We are happy to share them with you.
This year’s Elul Thoughts include contributions from Rabbi Brad Levenberg of Temple Sinai in Atlanta, GA; Rabbinical Student Alex Kress of HUC-JIR Los Angeles; Rabbi Eric Linder of Congregation Children of Israel in Athens, GA; Rabbi Daniel Treiser of Temple B’nai Israel in Clearwater, FL; Rabbi Alan Litwak of Temple Sinai in North Miami Beach, FL; Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX; and Rabbi David N. Young of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley, CA. You can follow any of us on Facebook or Twitter.