#BlogElul 2: Act

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 28 August 2014 @ 10:05 am

blogelul2014

I am terrible at predicting trends.

For example, I predicted Cyndi Lauper would be more successful than Madonna, Tiffany over Debbie Gibson, and never, never would I have thought that nearly the entire world would have jumped on the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. To the tune of nearly $100M in a month.
I have a perfect track record.

The Ice Challenge, however, has gotten a lot of people thinking about where and how we choose to make our world a better, healthier, safer, and more peaceful place. Really creative thinking. Not just about monetary gifts which, BTW, are important. But about our actions and what we can do to truly make a difference.

Which is why I love what my friend and colleague, Rabbi Danny Burkeman, has got going over at his shul, The Community Synagogue (Port Washington, NY).

the Elul Mitzvah Challenge

Rabbi Burkeman has big plans for this challenge and is encouraging all of us to participate. He’s even given us an alphabet of suggestions. If 613 of us upload a video to the #elulmitzvahchallenge FB page, The Community Synagogue will make a donation to the #36rabbis Shave for the Brave, benefiting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

We’ll be discussing what mitzvah we’ll be doing here at Beit Schorr at tomorrow night’s Shabbos table and post the video sometime during Elul. Because actions really do speak louder than words.

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The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with the Selichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I’ll be blogging a thought or two, b’li neder, for each day to help with the month of preparation… Follow me on twitter @rebeccaschorr for all the #BlogElul posts.

This is the brainchild of Ima on (and off) the Bimah. You can follow her on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others’ as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

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#BlogElul 1: Do

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 27 August 2014 @ 3:33 pm

blogelul2014

Elul means different things to different people.

As a pulpit rabbi, it is a time filled with intense pressure and infinite spiritual potential. Every waking moment and, truth be told, some sleeping ones are filled with High Holy Day prep. Going over the liturgy, looking for nuances that resonate in a new way, and practicing the less-familiar prayers take up much of the time. Preparing cue sheets for me, the other rabbi, and our amazing accompanist. Hours and hours of vocal practice and rehearsals. And sermon writing.

For me, these tasks served not only as practical vehicles of preparation but necessary for my own spiritual needs. Through the process of readying myself, I am able to strip away the thorny, protective barriers around my soul. I am able to fine-tune my equilibrium and get ready to cast away my transgressions and missteps.

I was, however, unprepared for the deep personal loss I would feel when I stepped away from the bimah three years ago.
Yes, I knew that there would be changes as I moved from “the rabbi” to “the Jew-in-the-Pew.” Different worship style. Different melodies. And so forth. But most of all, I missed the preparation.

Two years without this rhythm has proved enough; this is the year that I am doing High Holy Days and I’m doing it for me.
Not because it’s part of my portfolio. Or because it’s part of the job description.
I am headed back to a pulpit for the Holy Days because my soul yearns for it.

So come one month from now, I am proud to say that I will be serving the Hillels of RIT and SUNY Geneseo.
And already my soul is singing.

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The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with the Selichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I’ll be blogging a thought or two, b’li neder, for each day to help with the month of preparation… Follow me on twitter @rebeccaschorr for all the #BlogElul posts.

This is the brainchild of Ima on (and off) the Bimah. You can follow her on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others’ as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

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Lamentations

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#487699779 / gettyimages.com It’s been so long that I can no longer remember what, if anything, I really knew about Tisha b’Av prior to rabbinical school. All of that changed during my first year at HUC in Jerusalem. Just a few weeks into our Israel experience, we were expected to mourn for something that we […]

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#AB62963 / gettyimages.com I am really fortunate. My life has brought me into relationship with some truly inspiring and amazing people. Individuals who are compassionate. And brave. And filled with conviction. And the belief that they are able to help bring a modicum of peace to our broken world. Andrea Berlin is one such person. […]

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Passover is Over: A Reflection

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This was the year. In 2010, I gave myself until this year to make a decision about kitniyot. Of course, 5774 seemed like such a long way off… After several years of experimenting with the Pesach prohibitions, we have finally found what works best for our family. Rice? Fine. Beans? Fine. Peanut butter? Fine. Corn […]

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Inappropriate Pressure

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Last week, after months of planning, scores of rabbis from across North America shaved their heads as part of the #36rabbis project. (Here is the Rashi on the #36rabbis.) It was a transcendent experience. And one that has raised more than half a million dollars as the top St. Baldrick’s event of the year and […]

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Invitation

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Maybe that is what it takes. An invitation to participate. Perhaps that is why you haven’t given to the cause. SO consider yourself invited. Invited to donate to the #36rabbis. Invited to support the efforts of my seventy-two colleagues who are going bald to raise awareness. Invited to fund essential pediatric cancer research. Invited to […]

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*Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

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If you don’t know what this means, then it doesn’t really matter what “they” say; apparently NOT everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. (*Happy St. Patrick’s Day! in Gaelic) Arriving at the salon for my Rosh Chodesh mani/pedi, it didn’t take more than a few moments to realize that everyone must have gotten the […]

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