There is a great Jewish tradition to dedicate the 29 days in the month of Elul to study and prepare for the coming high holy days. The time is supposed to challenge us to use each day as an opportunity for growth and discovery.
While conceptually the notion is noble, it was clear that acting on it would be a bit more challenging. Enter… Jewels of Elul. For the past seven years Jewels of Elul has collected short stories, anecdotes and introspections from some fascinating people. Rabbi Sharon Brous shares this month’s first Jewel:
I was young and earnest with a dream summer internship at the Justice Department, living in dorms crowded with college kids from around the country. My roommate was coming a week late and I anxiously awaited her arrival, certain we’d be best friends forever. Way too early one morning, there was a knock on my door. “Hi. I’m your roommate” she said coolly, pushing past me. “So happy to finally meet you!” I said. “Where are you working this summer?” No answer. “Have you lived in DC before?” Still no answer. “There’re some great people on our floor – I’d love to introduce you …” She wouldn’t even make eye contact with me! My face started to burn – I turned and walked out of the room, embarrassed by what an easy cry I was. I called my folks, convinced that this was going to be the worst summer of my life. Should I try to switch rooms? Get an apartment? Pack up and escape back to New York?
I avoided the dorms until late that night, and when I finally returned… read the full Jewel here.
The Jewels of Elul have been collected from an eclectic group of people, including President Barack Obama, Eli Winkelman, Desmond Tutu, the Dali Lama, Sarah Lefton, Eli Wiesel, Deepak Chopra, Pastor Rick Warren, Kirk Douglas, Rev. Ed Bacon, Rabbi David Wolpe, Ruth Messinger, Jeffrey Katzenberg and over 100 other inspired voices… well known and not so well known.
Now in its eleventh year, Jewels of Elul Vol. XI: Ten Years of Inspiration is a booklet filled with short, inspirational insights from 29 contributors selected from our previous 10 editions.