The month of Elul is the time of year leading up to the High Holidays when we as Jews can uncover and investigate our inner spiritual life and make some changes. The gift of time is a gift to our souls to reflect on who we are, who we want to be and note how far we have come during the past year. During these inner conversations, we can discover areas for change and growth.  

Personal reflection brings us special energy that can deepen the experience of our own worship during Rosh Hashanah. Today we have so much anxiety about the state of our world, our children and grandchildren, our own health and the health of our loved ones and friends. We worry about inflation and poverty and social injustice. We worry about crime and corruption and climate change that brings earthquakes, fires and hurricanes. We worry about Israel, Ukraine and the humanitarian needs and food insecurity for so many millions of humans and animals around the planet, including our own country.  We might even worry about affording the kosher brisket on our dinner table, as the grocery bills have risen sharply in the last year. 

The preparation for the New Year presents opportunities to take time to gather the strength and optimism needed to stand strong in the face of life’s many challenges with action, hope and purpose. Every one of us can do things to make a positive difference. Taking time to step up and volunteer is healing. Taking time for spiritual practice can reward us with renewed strength and energy to move into and through the coming year. Writing this weekly column clears my head and cleanses my soul as I consider topics that affect Jewish Senior Life residents as well as myself and my family and friends. I’m on the lookout for celebrations of joy and examples of faith and positive attitudes to document in our newsletter.  

 As Rosh Hashanah approaches, we celebrate all the residents, staff and families at JSL and all our wonderful activities and plans to promote joy and purpose. We look ahead to joyous celebrations of the world’s birthday, eating apples with honey in the company of loved ones, with gratitude to Gd for everything in our lives.  I’m grateful for the nearness of my loved ones and everyone who brings me joy. Wishing all of you the best in good health, prosperity and peace for a sweet and joy-filled, happy New Year.  

Shabat Shalom. 

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