August 2018
Rabbi Lisa Goldstein
Re-Committing to Intention
In just two short weeks, the High Holy Days will be upon us: a new year, a new beginning, a new opportunity to live our lives a little more in alignment. At first glance it may seem a little odd that Rosh Hashanah is also known as Yom Hazikaron, the Day of Remembrance. If we are setting our sights forward and reconnecting to the possibility that in every moment we are recreated as a new creature, as R. Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev put it, why would we begin the season with remembering? Why not focus on envisioning?

One answer might be to reconsider precisely what we want to remember. Perhaps the Day of Remembrance is not a call for nostalgia or regret for days gone by. Instead, we might see it as an invitation to recall - and recommit to - our intention, to setting a direction for the purpose for our life.

Practices in this Letter
Rabbi Marc Margolius
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
Rabbi Aryeh Ben David
Closing the Distance
Rabbi Marc Margolius
The essence of Jewish spiritual practice is a process: setting a kavvanah (intention); straying from that intention; waking up to “missing the mark;” and choosing to return again to the intention. Perhaps the most significant part of this journey is the inevitability—even the necessity—of wandering from the original intention.

Sheila Weinberg
Psalm 27: An Interpretive Translation
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
Psalm 27, traditionally recited daily during Elul, is a personal, beautiful piece of both poetry and prayer. In this translation, our teacher Rabbi Sheila Weinberg takes an interpretive and poetic approach, offering us a new way to explore the close of the Elul daily ritual as we begin to set our intentions for entering the Days of Awe.

Guided Practice for Kavvanah/Intention
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
Our intentions can have brief shelf lives - we focus on something, and then, as is natural, life happens, and we lose our way. Our practice can help us train in sustaining kavvanah and in returning back to it when we lose it. In this guided meditation, we will practice refocusing and recentering our intention, just for these next 10 - 12 minutes. Notice your experience in emet and chesed - honestly bearing witness to what is happening, and greeting whatever you notice with love.

Getting "Stuck" in Jewish Spiritual Practice
Rabbi Aryeh Ben David
Jewish educational leaders and their communities have become very good at the first stage of Jewish spirituality - connection. The time has now come to move to the second stage - calling.

The First Stage
When I ask people for their first association with ‘spirituality’, the most common response is ‘connection’. They speak of connecting with something beyond themselves, whether with nature, history, a people, a transcendent being, or even the depth and fullness of the present moment.

Spirituality begins with pausing and noticing.

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