In the September Connection, Vicki Nelson’s Traditions column reminds us of ways we can prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days through traditional practices associated with Elul, the month right before the Days of Awe. Elul begins on September 1 and ends at sundown on September 29 (Erev Rosh Hashanah). Here are some of the rituals mentioned in Vicki’s column, plus a few more to try out!

Hear the Calls of the Shofar Each Day During Elul

It is traditional to blow the shofar each day during the month of Elul to prepare for the coming High Holy Days. If you don’t have a shofar to blow, try listening to one on-line here.

Reciting Psalm 27

There is a custom of reciting the words of Psalm 27 each day during the month of Elul. In Vicki Nelson’s Traditions article, she says one reason cited for this is that “God is particularly accessible at this time of year and if you are repenting, that is a good thing.” Read the Psalm here.

A Time to Reflect

There are many different opportunities to find personal reflection during the month of Elul. Taking a nature walk, going for a swim, a hike, a bike ride, or even just sitting on your porch can allow oneself to discover your inner spirit. Another way is to read stories specifically for Elul. Once such place to find that is through Jewels of Elul, a booklet, or daily email of “inspirational anecdotes and insights from some of the both famous and under-the-radar leaders who influence and galvanize our global community,” according to the Jewels website. Check out their website, order the book, or sign up for a daily email during the month of Elul at www.jewelsofelul.com.

Prepare for the High Holy Day Music

The special melodies of the High Holy Days serve as an alarm clock to wake us up each year, reminding us of the sacredness of these Days of Awe. Prepare yourself to recognize the special melodies and be familiar with them so that you can sing along with our cantors and choirs during our High Holy Day services. To download mp3 files of some of our melodies, click here.

Come to S’lichot Services: Saturday, September 21 at 8:00 pm

S’lichot is our service that prepares us for the turning towards forgiveness in the coming High Holy Days. S’lichot is Saturday evening, September 21. We begin with a musical program of Jazz and classical works by the acclaimed National Chamber Ensemble, followed by a dessert buffet and then our beautiful service of S’lichot, led by our clergy. We hear the first sounds of the melodies of the High Holy Days and the first t’kiah of the Shofar. RSVP here (for refreshment planning)

For even more ideas for preparing for the High Holy Days, visit https://reformjudaism.org/preparing-high-holidays.