Tuesday, September 4, 2012

#BlogElul 17: Inspiration {Guest Post}

I decided that I would invite friends to do a "guest post" here on Ima on and off the Bima during BlogElul. There were quite a few motivations - 1) writing daily posts on two blogs - whew! 2) encouraging non-bloggers or new bloggers to "get out there" and just do it and 3) to hear from other people! So I hope you enjoy them - there are a number of guest posts coming up in the next two weeks! Yay!

Today's guest post comes from Caroline Musin Berkowitz, and she describes herself as "a voracious reader, a Jewish educator, and a joyously lazy cook." You can peek inside her brain as she tweets @CarolineEr. (And she posts yummy looking stuff to Pinterest, too!)

When I'm preparing for an upcoming holiday, many things come to mind: menu, guests, whether clothing needs to be dry cleaned. (Just kidding. I never think about dry cleaning until the last minute, usually when it's too late.) Basically, my mind is focused on standard, run-of-the-mill logistics.

Unfortunately, the mental preparations seem to get short shrift. What are the themes of the holiday? What are the ritual and spiritual foci? How do we take time to wrap our heads around the intangible work that must be done in order to experience the holiday in the fullest way?

It's hard to do a personal accounting. It's hard to ask others for forgiveness. It's hard to forgive ourselves and pledge to do better. Listening to the shofar can shock us if we're not ready, or it can awaken us, or if we're really, really lucky, it can be the call to action we've been anticipating for a few weeks already.

For me, #BlogElul and #ElulGram provide a wonderful method for creating that anticipation in my daily life. For the past two weeks, I've read blog posts and smiled over pictures as others have been inspired to share their unique takes on the daily themes, and I've jumped in with my own thoughts and pictures, too. Sometimes, those themes align easily with life (as in the wedding I attended the day before "blessing," and the person who snapped a pic of her boarding pass on the day designated for "return." But often, as in life, we are challenged to work harder to make those connections.

Today -- and throughout this month -- I am inspired. Thank you for being part of my journey toward Rosh Hashanah.

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 for each day to help with the month of preparation... I will be blogging here, and sharing #Elulgram photos on the same themes at imabima.tumblr.com. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! 

Leave your blog Elul post in the linky below!

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