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		                                    Elul: A Month of Preparation		                                </span>

August 21 through September 18

Brought to you by the Temple Sinai Spirituality Committee

Because the High Holidays are filled with such importance, meaning and possibility, the days leading up to them traditionally encourage a bit of soul-searching and preparation, as well. Particularly during this year, when we will observe our rituals together but apart, our preparation for the New Year might require more intentionality than during this time in years past. We hope these activities, readings, questions and insights can provide an Elul road map as we prepare for our entrance into 5781.

Click Here for Sweet Apple Recipes
Click Here for the New Year's Coloring Card
Click Here for the Sacred Space Acrostic

Click Here for Elul Inspirational Messages

Week One: Elul Overview and High Holiday Prep
Elul 1-7 /August 21-27

Key Questions
• What aspects of our “best selves” have slowly diminished or been lost altogether over the course of the past year? How can we begin to recover the personal qualities that help us to be and live at our best during the days of Elul? 
• Throughout the year, but especially during the past five months, how successful were we at maintaining a sense of balance in our lives? What personal changes can we pursue throughout Elul to recalibrate?
• What would it look and feel like if we were able to begin the New Year with a genuine sense of balance and equilibrium in our lives?

Key Actions
• Jewish tradition teaches that our homes should be a mikdash m’at – a smaller version of the sanctuary. In preparation for Holy Day services, go on a tour of your home (with your family if appropriate) with the intention of deciding where you would ideally like your “Home Sanctuary” to be, where you would like to attend High Holy Day services this year. What can you do, or what do you need, to help enhance the space? Comfy chairs? A nice candle to represent your Eternal Light? Special artwork created by family members? “Reserved” seats on the couch for each person (😊)? Would relocating your computer for the Holy Days give you more options? If so, and if you need assistance, be sure to plan accordingly and click here for our Temple Sinai Tech Tune Up. Make a list of things you can do during the coming weeks to get your space ready, or complete the attached acrostic
• Consider ways to adjust your personal schedule if necessary to ensure adequate time and balance for all of the important components in your life – family, work, self-care, fun. And be sure to include ways to help others in the year ahead, whether in your neighborhood, the world, or your family. If identifying new ideas and actions, perhaps create a list as a reminder. 

Week Two: Learning and Growth
Elul 8-15 /August 28-September 4

Key Questions
• In which of your important relationships (yourself included!) have you missed the mark this year? How?
• Are there specific behavior changes or opportunities for learning to which you can commit in order to improve yourself or your relationships?
• What aspect of your authentic self will you work to reveal (or hide!) this year?

Key Actions
• Send New Years Cards to family and friends. Reach out to others in our Temple Sinai community and send cards to five people below your name in the member directory. Open, print and color this design if that’s your thing. 
• If you would like to commit to Jewish learning and growth, try joining our Temple Sinai Zoom Torah Study at 9 am on Saturday mornings or sign up for the URJ 10 Minutes of Torah.

Week Three: Forgiveness and Repentance
Elul 16-22/September 5–11



Key Questions
• Which qualities of ourselves do we find most frustrating when we see these qualities in others?
• Where did we mistakenly strive for perfection this past year?
• In the year to come, how might we instead consider bringing
our whole selves — flaws and vulnerabilities included —
to these situations and relationships instead of focusing on trying to be perfect?

Key Actions
• Make a list: Who did we wrong this past year by aiming for perfection?
• What are the honest and authentic ways that we can make amends with those we have hurt?  
• How can we find comfort in the act of teshuva (repentance) during Elul? 

Week Four: Memories and Remembrance
Elul 23 – 29/September 12–18


Key Questions
• What three words would you hope your loved ones would use to describe you? Of which of these qualities are you proudest?
• Which one(s) do you want to work on in the year ahead?
• A year from now, what three words would you hope your loved ones use to describe you?

Key Actions
• Bake a favorite family recipe and share stories. Or try one of our suggested apple recipes
• The melodies of the season can help connect you to holiday memories. Those melodies can also inspire and elevate your holiday experience as we only hear them at this one time of year! Here is a beautiful meditative setting of Achat Sha’alti by Chava Mirel or click here for this fun 613 High Holy Day Medley!

 

Sat, September 26 2020 8 Tishrei 5781