Learning in Elul 5778

August 8, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Rosh Chodesh Group: Women’s Singing As Spiritual Practice – Sing in community, listen to others singing, and practice attuning through music. We’ll feel Elul in our kishkes with High Holiday melodies. As Joey Weisenberg offered during his Shabbat with us: “If you can’t hit the high notes, you can always use your eyebrows”. In the sanctuary.

August 10-13 – Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li – Family-Friendly Jewish Mindfulness Retreat at the JCC Ranch Camp – The month of Elul, is a month of teshuvah, transformation and healing, calls on us to transform and heal our relationships, to greet ourselves and the world as the beloved. On this retreat, open to individuals, couples and families, we will explore our relationships to ourselves and others, training in creating more aware, compassionate, wise, and sacred relationships. On this retreat we will practice both in solitude and through interaction to cultivate more meaningful and mindful relationships, returning (teshuva) to the calm, loving, open and joyous center which awaits us within. Visit Orhalev.org for more information.

August 11, 7:00 pm -9:00 pm – Seudah Shlishit (Third Meal of Shabbat) and Havdalah – Join Rabbi Marc for a light dinner, soulful singing and learning, followed by Havdalah. The last hours of Shabbat as the sun goes down are considered the most precious moments of this special day and are accompanied by special melodies that help us cleave to Shabbat’s sacred pulse. In Elul, the month of deepening connections, this is even truer!

August 15, 7:00 pm – 8:45 pm – We Spoke with Two Mouths with Charna Rosenholtz – Das ganze welt licht often spitz tzing…Yiddish Proverb. The future of the world is at the tip of the tongue. Where better to start our cheshbon hanefesh, personal accounting before a new year, than examining the words we choose in our relationships? According to the Baal Shem Tov, the quality of our speech determines whether or not our words become a creative or destructive force. In this learning laboratory, we will explore what Jewish tradition says about ethical speech, lashon hara (evil tongue), and tochecha (rebuke), as we apply it to our lives. Donations Accepted.

August 21, 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm – Israeli Dance with Eirit Yonatan – Social dance with Israeli music and moves. Bring your dancin’ shoes for a great time and a good workout. In Bonai Shalom’s social hall.

August 22, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Deep Teshuva: Not just, ‘oops, sorry, restart’ – with Morah Yehudis Fishman – In this class, we will examine some profound Hassidic texts that will teach us about more profound aspects of the work of Elul and ‘returning to the Source’ of our being.

August 23, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm – Healing Circle with Hannah Kapnik Ashar and Sheryl Paul – We will convene a space together where we can share about our grief – whatever its story or shape.

August 26, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm – Shofar Hike with Betsy Kessler and Rabbi Marc – Meet at NCAR parking lot at 9.30am. This family-friendly adventure will begin with an easy and short group hike to a spot where we will hear the shofar together and discuss its meanings. We will then split into 2 groups for a longer hike and a family hike. Hearing the shofar every day during Elul reaches some very deep places within us. This primal sound of the ram’s horn is from the natural world and hearing it in nature adds to its power. Bring plenty of water, snacks and lunch food, hats and sunscreen. Shofar optional.

August 27, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm – What Does the Machzor Ask of Me? – With Hannah Kapnik Ashar – Enter Rosh Hashana with a better understanding of the ideas and emotions that the liturgy invites us into. Join us for text study and a High Holiday melody or two.

August 29, 8:00 pm – Men’s Moonlight Hike – Jeff Levy and Yoni K. Ashar will lead a men’s night hike, lit by the shining moon of Elul. Meet at the Chautauqua ranger cottage at 8:00 pm sharp, with a headlamp (or another light source), pen, and paper. The hike will include guided activities for reflection, purification, and fellowship.

August 30, 7:00 pm – Elul – Opening up the Prayers – Selichot and Avinu Malkeynu – The liturgy of the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, is so deep and emotive and it can be harsh and alienating. Avinu Malkeynu and Selichot are among the most central of our prayers in these days and, together, we will delve into these layered texts to help better prepare us.

September 1, 8:15 pm – 11:00 pm – Selichot Program and Service – Join Rabbi Marc & Congregation Bonai Shalom for a Selichot screening of Coco, a Disney, Pixar Animation Oscar-winning animated film about Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), with themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, and memory followed by a short discussion. Free & open to the community!
8:30 pm – Havdalah, 8:45 pm – Screening of Coco, 10:30 pm – Light snacks
11:00 pm – Selichot service led by Jan Kirschner and Rabbi Marc

September 4, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Journey through Movement – Dance through this movement meditation informed by Gabriel Roth’s 5 Rhythms map with Rachael Brody, a somatic therapist. For all female-identifying folks. In the sanctuary.