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Doing Teshuvah Today
What is the pain that is pressing on your heart right this moment? That’s what you need to make Teshuvah about. You need to make Teshuvah about your fractured mind and your fearful heart. What is occluding the deep connection between you and your fellow human beings? That is also right there over your heart, and that also needs to be looked at. (This Is Real And You Are Completely Unprepared, p. 82)
Rabbi Rachel Marder: The Check, Please!

Continuing our You are Here series, Rabbi Marder teaches about taking an accounting of one’s self and connecting with God.
Personal Reflection:
Strengthening My Soul
By Heather Brown

During Elul, we are encouraged to engage in Cheshbon HaNefesh, quite literally, an accounting of the soul. As a busy working mother, I’d be the first to admit this concept sometimes seemed like a luxury for those lucky enough to have time to reflect and breathe deeply on a regular basis. These months of pandemic, however, offered the gift of deep breaths and reflection. The streets emptied of cars and we enjoyed long, lazy walks down the middle of the road. The passage of time relaxed. I read more. I called friends that I often forgot to call before. We enjoyed later dinners and family movie nights.

I am entering these Days of Awe with a clearer sense of my soul. I am keenly aware that these days are precious and unique. I am choosing to support my community and use my platform as an educator to fight for peace, kindness, and equality. I appreciate what parts of this time I want to preserve as we come to terms with our new normal. If nothing else, when I am finished reflecting on what I will keep and what I will discard, I know deeply that my soul is strengthened by the love and support that is intrinsic to our community. May we all find comfort as we examine who we are today, and who we wish to be stepping forward. L’shanah Tovah U’Metukah!

Heather Brown is the Director of Education at Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair.

Our guest High Holiday Chazan Rabbi Menachem Creditor sings Chamol al ma’asechah, a liturgical poem from the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Musaf Amidah. This soul-stirring piyyut calls on God to show compassion on all of creation, to rejoice in us and pardon us from transgression.
Try This At Home: Orderly Speech 

Be attentive and sensitive to how you use words. The act of verbalization has power. It clarifies ideas and concretizes concepts, turning them from fuzzy mental notions into a reality in the world. When the Mishnah says that your lips are to be orderly (Pirke Avot 5:9), that means that you should take care that what comes out of your mouth lines up with your values and ideals. In this period, pay special attention to everything that comes out of your mouth and assay every sentence to ensure that it carries into reality only your highest aspirations. (With Heart in Mind: Mussar Teachings to Transform Your Life by Alan Morinis, p.31)
The Art of Teshuvah: Creative Prompts for Renewal
During this season of teshuvah, the Jewish Studio Project is offering text study + creative prompts to help support the work of reflection, renewal and change. Whether you consider yourself to be "creative" or not, through the use of art materials we can learn about ourselves, our patterns and tendencies and can develop our capacity for open-mindedness, empathy and resilience. Visit https://www.jewishstudioproject.org/elul for prompts.
Selichot Night Live
Saturday, September 12, 8:30 pm
This year we are joining an international lineup of Conservative synagogues to learn, sing and connect as a Jewish community ahead of the High Holidays. Over 60 rabbis and cantors will present, and a variety of Selichot services will be offered throughout the evening. For more information and to register, click here.
Previous Emails in the "You Are Here 5781" Series

Congregation Beth El is an inclusive, egalitarian synagogue affiliated with United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, serving Essex, Union, and Morris counties. We can be reached by calling 
973-763-0111.

Jesse M. Olitzky, Rabbi
Rachel A. Marder, Rabbi
Jason Silberfein, Executive Director
Danielle Weitz, Director, Thelma K. Reisman Preschool  
Rivka Nelson, Director of Religious Education
Karen Freeman-Pettis, Assistant Director
Molly Gimbel, Youth Program Director
Terry Pridgen, Coordinator of Maintenance Services

Jehiel Orenstein z"l, Rabbi Emeritus
 
For more information about Beth El membership, please contact
Membership Chairs, Yuval Brokman and Lisa Buber.