Assistant Director, Youth Engagement
To say that I've heard the statement, "The High Holy Days are really early this year" just a few times throughout this summer would be an understatement. It's true. While many of us are wondering where the summer went, I'm still unpacking (both mentally and physically) from visiting our happy campers at the many wonderful Jewish overnight camps we are blessed to have throughout our region. Our team at TBE has been quite busy this summer planning for what promises to be an exciting year, filled with new and innovative programming, welcoming new members to our Clergy and Learning Teams and all of the wonderful intangibles that add to the kehilah kedoshah (holy community) that is Temple Beth Elohim.
Our tradition reminds us that these days leading up to Rosh Hashanah are an opportunity to prepare. We do not only prepare our building for services or our calendar for a full year of programming ahead - but we strive to prepare spiritually and personally, as well. The challenge, through all of the scheduling, carpooling, working and back-to-routineing that fills this time of year, is to find your own time for reflection and renewal. Ha! While that may sound like a joke, it's actually a quite serious and important concept. At some point, we all need to hit the pause button, take a deep breath, look around us and re-calibrate our priorities and actions to line up with our values and what's important to us as we begin the new year. So...a challenge. To myself, and to you. As we enter Shabbat, hit that pause button. Be thankful to all of the wonderful things that have been going on this summer, and look forward to many more in the coming months. But reach a little further back. Think about the past year - the good stuff, and the challenges. How can we do better in the coming year? How can we make it more fulfilling? How can we improve ourselves and our interactions with others? How are we spending our time? Where can we make a few slight adjustments to ensure we're engaging in meaningful things and spending time with those individuals and communities in our lives that challenge us be the best version of ourselves?
As for me? I'm starting my reflection process in the best way I possibly can. I'm spending Shabbat with 14 of our BELY/Havayah teens, along with 120 other Jewish teens from around the region, at NFTY Northeast Summer Institute at URJ Crane Lake Camp. During the days, I'm going to be teaching, eating, praying, learning, singing and playing. And at night, I'm going to think, read and write. Not such a bad way to wind down my summer and begin my personal reflection process. I'll be sure to post a few photos on our Facebook page!
We've compiled a number of fun and interesting videos and links on our website. I encourage you to check them out and explore your personal connections with the High Holy Days, as well as share a good laugh or two. Additionally, here are a few more articles and resources to consider:
From Mashable: 7 Essential Life Lessons From Kids' To-Do Lists
From ReBoot: 10 Questions. 10 Days. Do you 10Q?
I'm looking forward to reconnecting and celebrating with everyone over the coming weeks. Shabbat Shalom!