Our year is off to a great start here at ShalomLearning! We are so excited to launch another great year of learning, engaging discussion, and thoughtful questions in our classes and communities. Our numbers have grown significantly, and we welcome our new friends along with our old ones. We look forward to all the joys this year brings for our extended ShalomLearning family!
Our first value, Teshuvah: Taking responsibility for your actions is directly connected to the holidays in our Jewish calendar. With Rosh Hashanah having just past and Yom Kippur and Sukkot soon approaching, many of us are busy planning, cooking, and spending time with family. We, at ShalomLearning, are here to infuse your families and communities with learning opportunities to enhance your experience during these Jewish holidays. Our students are learning what it means to do Teshuva, to reflect on who they are, how they act, and what it means to make the effort and do our best in the year ahead.
The beginning of the school year can be hectic; throw in a few Jewish holidays, and it easily turns into a time of running from one activity to another, crazy schedules, too much food, not enough sleep and stress. However, the good news is that the Jewish holidays provide us with a welcome a time of reflection, calm, introspection, and family. But if you focus on only the chaos of our busy lives, it’s simple to forget the things that truly matter.
During this very busy month full of holidays, we hear the blasts of the shofar (throughout the last month of Elul, as well as on Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur) in synagogues around the world. These sounds serve as an alarm clock. They wake us out of our daily routines and stress, and they remind us to prepare for the upcoming holidays. We need to focus on ourselves, who we are, how we act, and how we want to be in this coming year of 5777.
Take this special and holy holiday time to reflect with your children and family. Here are some good questions to discuss at the breakfast or dinner table:
- What did you do well last year?
- How did you act towards others especially during times of stress?
- How do you imagine your year ahead?
- How can you engage Jewishly in your daily lives?
By becoming our best selves, we share a brighter Light of goodness with the world. Teshuva is both a personal and a communal process.
- How can your family engage with the Jewish community more in this coming year?
- How can your family make the world a better place?
- How can you live the value of teshuva, of constant reflection and repair, in this year ahead? (Oh yes! Teshuva is a process that lasts all year, not just for the high holidays. Think of your Teshuva now, as a time of heightened reflection, like a spiritual booster engine)
As we celebrate the holidays, let us all hope for a sweet year ahead. All of us at ShalomLearning are here for you, your families, and communities to ensure 5777 is a year full of sweetness, joy, and of course, meaningful Jewish learning.
From me and all of the staff at ShalomLearning, we wish you and your families shanah tovah u’metuka, a sweet and happy new year and G’mar Hatima Tova, May you be sealed for a good year.
Rabbi Danielle Eskow
Rabbi in Residence