Monday, August 25, 2014

Returning - Renewing my blog for #BlogElul

I've been away from my personal blog for some time. For those who were following my posts, I've been blogging as part of a team for the folk at My Jewish Learning on the 'Rabbis Without Borders Blog.' We've recently expanded the team, so my posts there will now be monthly instead of twice a month. I share the page with a wonderful set of colleagues who offer a diverse range of voices. I'm hoping that the space created will help me keep my own, personal blog a little more current. Beginning this week, I'll be starting the seasonal postings that I offer more intensively each year in the lead up to Rosh Hashanah.

The Hebrew month of Elul arrives tomorrow evening. The month that will bring us to the Jewish New Year of 5775. As in past years, it is my intention to participate in #BlogElul and share reflections, if not daily, then at least several times a week. I hope that these reflections will offer some spiritual nourishment and food for thought as we prepare for this deeply introspective time of the year.

As in past years, I will try to align my postings with the daily themes offered by my colleague, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, who has enabled a broad collection of bloggers to share many unique perspectives on these shared themes, simply by creating the list and enabling us to find others’ postings on twitter and other social media by searching under the tag #BlogElul.

In addition to following these themes, I have another theme internal to my own blog that I wish to explore this year. If you’ve ever struggled with some of the words that are recited in prayer during the High Holy Days, or felt distanced by the images and concepts that they seem to convey, I hope these posts will speak to you. Inspired by new translations and alternative texts and readings that are being compiled in the upcoming (2015) new machzor for the Reform movement, Mishkan haNefesh (Sanctuary of the Soul), I’ll be exploring different ways into this dense and sometimes off-putting High Holy Day liturgy.  My congregation, B’nai Shalom, in Westborough MA, participated in several months of piloting services with these new materials earlier in the year and voted to adopt the new prayer books that we hope to have in our hands in time for next year. We’ll be using a supplement of material from the new book during our High Holy Day services and, in fact, during our Friday night Shabbat services throughout the month of Elul and Tishrei.

I look forward to traveling with you, and encourage you to leave your own reflections, interpretations, and responses in the comments of these postings.

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