Today was the first day of the month of Elul, the last month on the Jewish calendar before the New Year begins with Tishrei. In the northern hemisphere, the month often occurs as it does this year, during the time of the new school year, the approach of fall, the beginning of new projects – – a time when new things dawn. On the Jewish calendar, we enter a month of intense reflection and preparation for Rosh Hashanah (the New Year).
It may seem odd to have a time of beginnings in general western culture be a time of endings in Jewish culture, yet we know that the endings bring us back around again in a month to a new beginning, the start of a new year, 5772.
As 5770 draws to close, I look back on a year of personal change, growth and many blessings. The year was largely positive personally, yet so many people in the world faced (and continue to face) challenges – war, unemployment, natural disaster, disconnection, abuse, fear and hate.
There is much work to do in our world – many lives to help, many people who yearn for meaning, for connection, for hope. I pray that I can contribute a bit of my part in the days, weeks and months to come. May our world be more peaceful and better in 5771 than in 5770.
I just got off the phone with a dear and close friend. Since I spoke with her last week she has gone through some major changes: moving, helping her kids through changing to new schools, a new commute and a huge personal change. Our conversation was full of all of the stress, joy, anxiety and hope she is feeling. Why blog about this?
The changes she is living seem to be part and parcel of the kind of self-reflection of this time of year. Who are we, what choices do we make? When do we make them? How do we use our support systems?
During these last days of Elul we reflect on our lives and our choices. I pray that my friend continues to feel the support, hope, courage and strength that continue to sustain her.