The Hebrew month of Elul has just begun, and with it comes the countdown to the new year. Rosh HaShana and the season of the High Holydays is only a few weeks away. Elul is a month with enormous power. It is traditionally the time in which Jews start a process of "cheshbon nefesh" ( soul-searching) to reflect on the past year and make changes for the future. Even though this might
be an individual process, Jewish tradition is clear there is also a very significant collective dimension. Just as the traditional liturgy speaks of our wrong-doings in the plural ("WE have sinned", rather than "I have sinned"), so also the whole Jewish People is involved in preparation for the new year, and together everyone embarks on the three traditional components of meaningful soul-searching – teshuva (repentance), tefilah (prayer) and tzedakah (social justice). The Peoplehood Education Toolkit contains a text study on just this issue.
And the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education is also making some plans for the upcoming year. Watch out for the following in the next couple of months:
- A newly-designed website, highlighting all the offerings of the CJPE
- The 13th edition of the Peoplehood Papers, which contains 20 short essays from a diverse group of Jewish writers and educators, focused on the question "What does Peoplehood mean to you?"
- New materials in the Peoplehood Education Toolkit, in particular a new topic of "Judaism as a Civilization" and several new film-based discussion sessions.
As ever, we welcome your thoughts on our materials and invite you to join the discussion on Jewish Peoplehood and how we can educate more effectively towards a Jewish collective consciousness. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.