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Rosh HaShanah


Elul is the Hebrew month that precedes the High Holidays (Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur). It is a time of study and personal reflection on our actions of the past year. It also is a time when we seek forgiveness from those we have wronged or with whom we otherwise have “missed the mark” in our interactions and behaviors. This year, Elul began at sundown on August 26.

Here are seven things to know about Elul.

Traditionally, the shofar is blown each morning (except on Shabbat) from the first day of Elul until the day before Rosh Hashanah. Its sound awakens the soul and kick... Read More

We often think about the cycle of the year-the change of the air in the fall, or the blossoming of new life in the spring-and we see a circle. But we sometimes fail to recognize that while each year's times and seasons can be very similar to years past, we are never in the same place we once were. Rabbi Michael Marmur suggests that the cycle of the Jewish year is better seen as a spiral. Each year, we hope to merit the chance to come back to the same season or moment, as in years past; to appreciate its beauty and the unique nature of what it might represent.

Sometimes, certain...

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In Pirkei Avot, the rabbis wrote, “Mitzvah goreret mitzvah, averah goreret averah,” one mitzvah (commandment/good deed) leads to another mitzvah, and one transgression leads to another transgression. I don’t think they could have ever envisaged how true this statement would be in the age of social media. The craze of video challenges has grown over this past year, both with positive and negative effects. 

Earlier in the year, we witnessed the craze of “neknomination” in Europe, as teenagers and young adults challenged one another to participate in risky behavior, recording the...

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The Hebrew month of Elul begins on Wednesday, August 27th. During this month preceding the High Holidays, many Jews take time to reflect on the past year and to take stock of their actions.

As people mature, they begin to formulate achievable goals, allowing them to later look back and evaluate what they accomplished and where they fell short. The Babylonian Talmud (the repository of Jewish wisdom compiled in the 6th century CE) teaches that at the final judgment, we are asked three basic questions: Did you conduct your business with integrity? Did you set aside fixed times for...

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During the height of the recession, I moved to Switzerland. I had already lived in France, Japan, India and Israel, and traveled much of the rest of the world.

I’d gone global for work, love, spirituality, and cultural infatuation, but this last time was for cash: As a teacher in the recession during a hiring freeze, like thousands of other Americans, I became an economic expat.

In the land of chocolate, cheese, bankers and income, my fellow New York native teachers and I were able to afford taxi rides, apartments on our own and meals out, living the American Dream - only...

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