Can you believe its already September? With summer in the rear view mirror and the High Holidays fast approaching, beginning in just two weeks at sundown Friday September 15, we are afforded a wonderful opportunity to find new meaning in our lives during the month of Elul, the season of love.
After spending many hours researching countless websites researching the High Holidays, I learned that there are five customs observed during the month of Elul which help to prepare us for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
1. Blowing the shofar each morning (except on Shabbat).
The sound of the Shofar awakens our soul and stirs us to remember that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, ancestors, parents, teachers, those who have helped to shape and influence who we have become.
2. Reciting special prayers of penitence called Selichot, (Hebrew: סְלִיחוֹת, romanized: səlīḥōt, singular: סליחה, səlīḥā), especially those said in the period leading up to the High Holidays and on fast days. The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are a central theme throughout these prayers. A special Selichot service is conducted late in the evening, often by candlelight, on the Saturday night a week before Rosh Hashanah.
3. Visiting the graves of our loved ones.
Elul is a time of year when Jews traditionally visit the graves of loved ones. This custom reminds us to honor their memories and prompts us to think about our own lives and the legacies we will leave to others; kind words spoken, comfort offered, love given and received; all take on added meaning as we enter the High Holiday season.
4. Reading Psalm 27, which begins, “The Lord is my Light and my Help”, or “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation”. This Psalm is both a cry for help and a declaration of belief in the greatness of G-d and trust in the protection G-d provides.
Probably the most important task before us as we think about asking forgiveness from those we may have wronged and asking ourselves how we can be kinder and help those in need.
As the calendar moves closer to the High Holidays, the Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs wishes everyone a peaceful and thoughtful Elul and L’Shana Tova.
This moment of Jewish learning is brought to you by the Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC). We are part of a confederation of over 200 Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods representing over 20,000 members across the United States, Canada, Latin America, and beyond. Learn more about how your Jewish Men’s Club or Brotherhood can affiliate with the FJMC at: https://www.fjmc.org/content/affiliating-fjmc.
The Florida Region of FJMC serves the needs of affiliated Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods throughout the State of Florida. Get to know more about the FJMC Florida Region and our growing network of Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods at www.floridaregionfjmc.org and please visit and LIKE our Florida Region FJMC Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/FloridaRegionFJMC.