Musings on Jewish Education and Jewish Living

Archive for August, 2015

#BlogElul – Act, Search, Understand, Accept

Tonight marks the start of the 5th day of Elul, and I’ve already fallen four days behind. OY!

I was all set to act on my good intentions to blog each day of Elul, but I find myself searching for inspiration and motivation. I understand that I don’t have to write every day and I accept my shortcomings, but really, I want to do better.

For the past several months, I’ve been trying to completely the 150 hours necessary to reactivate my Massachusetts teacher certification, searching for meaningful opportunities to earn CPEs. I finally understood and accepted that it made more sense to seek Texas certification and I acted on it, completing my application today.

This one’s harder – For the past ten months, I’ve put on an act that everything was okay; that I was okay. I searched for information, for reasons, for anything that made sense, even as I searched unsuccessfully for a new position. I still cannot say that I understand, but I have no choice but to accept the situation and move on. And so I continue to search for what’s next and to act on every opportunity.

And finally…

Some days I visit my father and he seems like himself, the Daddy I remember with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous smile. Other times, I search for him in the dull eyes looking back at me from his bed and wonder where he is. Still other times, he comes up with the craziest stories. Is it an act? Does he really think he ran a race today? Or is he pulling my leg, trying to see if I’m going to buy his story. I understand that much of what made him the man he was is gone, and I accept that. But still… every day I search… and sometimes I’m rewarded with a glimmer of him shining through.

The Jewish month of Elul leading up to the High Holy Days provides an opportunity for spiritual preparation. It is a time for cheshbon ha-nefesh – looking inward and reflecting on the past year.  The daily sounding of the shofar calls us to examine our words and our actions, and the words of Selichot (prayers of forgiveness) inspire us to seek forgiveness and to forgive others.  We look ahead to the new year when we can begin anew, striving to be the best version of ourselves.  Each day, I plan to blog on a thought related to this period preparation for the Days of Awe, along with many others in the Jewish blogosphere.  For further inspiration, search #BlogElul on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

I invite you to add your own thoughts on the daily topic.  Feel free to add your comments below or write your own blog, following the daily topics indicated or any others that call out to you.

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#BlogElul – Prepare

My blog has been quiet for a while. I’ve had a hard time finding the inspiration over the past year with so many big changes taking place. As I’ve navigated the new landscape of being responsible for my father, I’ve chosen to document our journey on Facebook and Instagram. As I’ve navigated the landscape of losing my job and trying to figure out what’s next, I’ve chosen to be more or less silent.

This summer, I participated in the San Antonio Writing Project as a way of earning professional development hours to reactivate my expired teaching license. It became so much more. On the first day of writing our morning journal, we were asked to respond to the question, “Why do I write?” This was my response:

Why do I write? I write because I have to. Lesson plans, curriculum, evaluations, forms, letters, bulletin articles, and even grocery lists. I write because I’m inspired by an idea, a comment, or my own musings. I write because writing publicly is easier than answering all the texts and emails with the same response. I write because it’s cathartic, because I can share in writing what is too painful to share in person. I write because it’s a way to create community. Most of all, I write because I have something to say.

As I prepare to relaunch my blog, I could not ask for better inspiration than this time of reflection and preparation for the Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe. I hope to write each day of the coming month, using Rabbi Phyllis Sommer’s prompts for #BlogElul as inspiration. I welcome your thoughts, feedback, comments, and suggestions.

The Jewish month of Elul leading up to the High Holy Days provides an opportunity for spiritual preparation. It is a time for cheshbon ha-nefesh – looking inward and reflecting on the past year.  The daily sounding of the shofar calls us to examine our words and our actions, BlogElul5776and the words of Selichot (prayers of forgiveness) inspire us to seek forgiveness and to forgive others.  We look ahead to the new year when we can begin anew, striving to be the best version of ourselves.  Each day, I plan to blog on a thought related to this period preparation for the Days of Awe, along with many others in the Jewish blogosphere.  For further inspiration, search #BlogElul on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

I invite you to add your own thoughts on the daily topic.  Feel free to add your comments below or write your own blog, following the daily topics indicated or any others that call out to you.

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