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Welcome to Elul! One month until Rosh Hashanah! This Saturday and Sunday are the two days of Rosh Chodesh Elul, the new moon of the Hebrew month of Elul.  The Rabbis of the Mishnah designated this entire month as a period of preparation for the High Holy Days.  Starting on Sunday morning, we will blow the shofar at every minyan except Shabbat, starting the process of “waking up our souls” to the process of “teshuvah” - returning to our best and highest selves. 
 How does the month of Elul help us to prepare?  The Hebrew letters that form the word Elul form an acronym for the words in the verse “Ani L’dodi, v’dodi li” – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”. This verse is understood to symbolize the loving relationship between ourselves and God – with God as the Beloved.  Elul is the time to renew or seek that closeness so that we can approach the High Holy Days with trust in God’s forgiveness.  We are reminded not to berate ourselves over our shortcomings, rather to engage in a loving dialogue with ourselves and God, filled with hope and faith that we can always begin again. 
 And don’t forget to enjoy all the other preparations for the holidays – planning special meals, arranging family gatherings and updating our wardrobes!

Chodesh Tov! – Have a good month!
Cantor Caitlin Bromberg
Sun, July 21 2019 18 Tammuz 5779