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The High Holidays are a sacred time on the Jewish calendar for intense personal reflection and spiritual growth. Our weekly email series, YOU ARE HERE, is designed to help make this time personally meaningful. Look for an email from Beth El every Friday through October 18 with a video teaching from our clergy, a personal reflection from a Beth El member, liturgical music, and High Holiday programming details. May this be a season of growth, renewal, and reflection for you. Shana Tovah!
Rabbi Rachel Marder: Rosh Chodesh Elul

To kick off our YOU ARE HERE series, Rabbi Marder teaches on the roots of Rosh Chodesh Elul.

"Elul is really a time for searching," she says, "for seeking, for reflecting on ourselves and our lives, our relationships, our past year, and looking ahead to the future. We spend the month of Elul preparing ourselves for Rosh Hashanah. You can’t just enter a new year without having done some work ahead of time...And if we do that, then once we reach Yom Kippur, we’ll reach a place of wholeness and of beginning again."
Tools for Reflecting During the Month of Elul

Some people deepen their practice during the month of Elul with meditation and journaling. Of course, there's an app -- and several websites -- for that! Here are two to check out:

At the Well: The Elul Challenge : The Elul Challenge: A Call to Forgive, is a month-long intentional spiritual journey of healing guided by weekly emails and text messages, working with a partner.

10Q: 10Q emails you a question a day for 10 days. Afterward, you send your answers to a secure online vault. One year later, your answers are unlocked and returned, and the process begins anew.
Dr. Alan Cooper: Psalm 27 - The Days of Awe

Dr. Alan Cooper , Beth El member and the Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, writes about the custom of reciting Psalm 27 during the season of repentance that begins with Rosh Chodesh Elul.

"The psalm maps out the pathway to genuine teshuvah for us," he writes. "By reciting and understanding it, we are able to travel that path."
Alan Cooper

הַמְּאִירָה, הַמְּאִירָה 
הַמְּאִירָה לְאֶרֶץ וְלַדָּרִים עָלֶיהָ בָּרַחֲמִים
הַמְּאִירָה, הַמְּאִירָה, הַמְּאִירָה לַאָרֶץ

Hame’irah, hame’irah, hame’irah la’aretz 
V’ladarim alehah b’rachamim
Hame’irah, hame’irah, hame’irah la’aretz

"The Holy One who lights up the world and all of Her inhabitants with mercy. And in Her goodness, each day, renews the act of creation."
Rabbi Josh Warshawsky: Hame'irah

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, the nationally-known Jewish musician, song leader, and composer, returns to Beth El (where he started his career as our JLC Music Specialist!) to join Rabbi Olitzky, Rabbi Marder, and our talented lay daveners to lead us in prayer this High Holiday season. Rabbi Warshawsky will include traditional and original melodies in our worship, and in our YOU ARE HERE email series, we'll introduce you to some of them, beginning with this melody for the Shacharit morning liturgy, Hame'irah. (Please note that Rabbi Warshawsky will play guitar at Beth El only on Erev Rosh Hashanah -- other services will not include instrumentation.)

Rabbi Warshawsky says of this text:

We cannot live each new day in the same way we lived the last, for we have all of the experiences and memories of the previous day filed away in our internal memory bank. And so each day is created anew, filled with new opportunities. And each day, we have the potential to become partners with God in the act of creation, adding to the world in a way that only you can...This section of our Tefillah is all about creation, leading us into the other main themes of our central Tefillot: revelation and redemption. Now is the time for us to be partners with God again in creating a better world. May we continue to merit to be partners with the Holy One. Grant us the capacity to value our friends and family, and to enrich the lives of those whom we love.
Congregation Beth El is an inclusive, egalitarian synagogue affiliated with United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, serving Essex, Union, and Morris counties. We can be reached by calling 

Jesse M. Olitzky, Rabbi
Rachel A. Marder, Rabbi
Jason Silberfein, Executive Director
Danielle Weitz, Director, Thelma K. Reisman Preschool  
Rivka Nelson, Director of Religious Education
Karen Freeman-Pettis, Assistant Director
Molly Gimbel, Youth Program Director
Terry Pridgen, Coordinator of Maintenance Services

Jehiel Orenstein z"l, Rabbi Emeritus
For more information about Beth El membership, please contact
Membership Chairs , Yuval Brokman and Lisa Buber.