Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Elul Tool 2016 - 19 Elul 5776

Elul Tools 

for the 
Days of Awe

 Shofar Blast 

(press the arrow below)

Today's Elul Chai-Ku:

We are what we eat...
Apples dipped in honey makes
the coming year sweet

20 Elul—Shanah Tovah, Have a Sweet One!

During the month of Elul, it is customary to get in touch with loved ones. While we have been reaching out to friends and family for the purpose of making amends, Elul is also a time to reconnect with those we lost touch with over the year. We extend New Year’s greetings and exchange highlights of the year. Many send Rosh Hashanah cards. Others call friends and relatives who live far away. The purpose is to connect, to share this holiday time together as a Jewish community.

A common greeting during the High Holidays is for a “Sweet New Year.” Ideally, our efforts to  improve ourselves by soul searching and making amends have been deliberate and sincere. This indeed paves the way for a new, good, and very sweet year ahead. We set the tone for a sweet year with Jewish culinary traditions such as eating apples and honey, sweet round challah, and honey cake.

Tradition holds that the very first Rosh Hashanah card was sent by 14th century Rabbi Jacob Halevi. In it he wrote what is heard throughout this holiday season, May you be written and sealed for a good year! In Hebrew the words are, L’Shanah tovah tikateyvuh v’tichatemu.

The process of sending out Rosh Hashanah cards may sound overwhelming and tedious. Yet for many it is a holiday tradition that helps set the tone for a new year. In reaching out and sharing holiday greetings, you are expanding on the idea of Teshuvah, return. This is a new year for all of us and we share in the renewal this time offers.

Today’s Elul Tool:  Extend a Rosh Hashanah greeting to at least one person you care about. If you have more time, make a list of several people you would like to make contact with in this way. Try one of the following ways to make a Rosh Hashanah connection with someone:

1.  Buy a set of Rosh Hashanah cards from a synagogue gift shop. Even if you end up not sending any cards, you will support the synagogue with a donation! But try to send at least one card.

2.  Send homemade Rosh Hashanah cards. This is more realistic if you have children and are looking for engaging holiday ideas to share with them.

3.  Set aside the time for personal phone calls with friends or relatives you want to connect with. Make sure to extend a New Year’s greeting.

Or if Communicating Via the Computer Works Best for you consider...

1.  Sending Rosh Hashanah e-cards.  Try one of the links provided below:

2.  Share Rosh Hashanah greetings and highlights of your year with friends and family through a group email. One blast and it’s off!

3.  Make a quick Rosh Hashanah “video card” and post on You Tube. Send the link to friends and family. Again, one blast and it’s off!

Additionally, start to offer any of the following greetings to your Jewish friends and family through the rest of the Holiday season:

• Shanah Tovah or L’Shanah Tovah:  A Good Year

• Shanah Tovah U’metukah:  A Good and Sweet Year
L’Shanah Tovah Tikateyvuh V’tichatemu:  May You Be Written and Sealed For a Good Year

NOTE:  It is customary to send Rosh Hashanah cards and greetings all the way through Simchat Torah which this year ends on October 25. So if you want to get in touch with lots of people with cards or calls, don’t feel like there is an urgency to complete this before Rosh Hashanah.

Psalm 27

It is customary to read Psalm 27 twice daily during Elul.

Here is an online version of Psalm 27 for easy access. 

For Families and Kids!

Junior Tool Box:

Discuss the importance of staying in touch with people. Rosh Hashanah gives us the opportunity to do that, even if only once a year!

Make home-made Rosh Hashanah cards and send out to family and friends.

Teach your children the traditional Holiday greetings above.  Practice and have fun with both the English and Hebrew versions!

Make apple prints, either for cards or holiday decorations.  Cut an apple in half (try to have the cut as smooth and even as possible), dip in paint or press on a stamp pad, and apply to paper or card.  Add leaves and a stem!

Make a snack of apples and honey.

Listen to “Apples Dipped in Honey”  in the audiofile below.

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