Echoes of Elul 5781

Echoes of Elul Returns

We are bringing back our popular program called “Echoes of Elul” where we share a selection of stories, insights, and memories in the form of writing, poetry, art and music. All are welcome to contribute. A daily offering will be posted to read and contemplate throughout the days of Elul. Shared stories can bring inspiration and connection, helping to open our hearts and minds.
Join us as we embark on our journey through the Echoes of Elul. We are stronger together. Looking forward to hearing from you!

More information, prompts, and details will be coming by email and in the Shavu’on News.
Feel free to contact Risè Kirbo with any questions

 

Echoes of Elul, Day 29: Echoes of Elul Concludes

I want to express my deepest gratitude to all the contributors and readers of the 5781 Echoes of Elul. A heartfelt thanks to all, whose generosity and effort keep the Echoes alive! May we all have a healthy and happy new year. L’shanah tova Risè Kirbo Special thanks to: Soni Sanberg, Yanir Dekel, Ruth Irving, and Jill Weinthal ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 28: Carry On

Anonymous Elul, a time of dread to me. Like in a movie when you hear the ominous background music while people are having fun. Something dreadful is about to happen and everyone is oblivious. I am headed for the High Holy Days where something profound “should” happen. But unlike my movie friends, I know it. I know I will face ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 27: “It’s Just a Paw to the Left”

Cantor David Reinwald One thing that some of my TBS community may not know about me is that I also have a degree in media, was an award-winning news radio competitor in high school, and from that, have continued a hobby in radio and podcasting to this very day. My off-and-on podcast Tropeful (www.tropeful.net) was inspired by my teaching of ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 26: Memories of My Mom and Her Invaluable Life Lessons

Barry Levinson How to describe my mom? She was a giving, caring mom who throughout my life was always there for me. My mom’s early years were filled with much hardship. Her mom and dad divorced during the depression. She was about 15 at the time. Much of the responsibly of raising her younger sister fell on her shoulders. My ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 25: Within the Sounds of Silence

Anonymous Elul, a time of reflection, “soul accountability,” time to take stock of thoughts and conversations of the past year. This Elul sends me to thoughts of isolation. Isolation leads to an increase in inner thought, that then leads to the opportunity for inner reflection that is wrapped inside of silence. If true, we have for many months been prematurely ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 24: Shofar

by martin nakell shofar as oceans are mountains are skies are winds are rivers of languages gush forth are pressures are release are lost are opened are eons to now’s are timeless are sourceless are inevitable are what we have been waiting for are turbulence are crazy speed are poems are yourself are yourself are immersed are immersing are a ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 23: Who Am I?

The following piece was submitted by Alan Shebroe. He suggests it may speak to many with regard to our Jewish values. Alan says he found it “enlightening” and hopes you will too. WHO AM I? Anonymous Big Cheeks. A grandson of slaves, a boy was born in a poor neighborhood of New Orleans known as the "Back of Town." His ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 22: “What Can I Tell My Grandchildren About Why They Should Live A Jewish Life?”

Mike Rubin This question has dogged me. I have 5 grandchildren, ages 1 through 7. So, I decided to lead a Torah Study this year focused on the question. During these days of reflection, I think more about it. I focused on “live a Jewish life”1 rather than “be Jewish” because many of our children or grandchildren are automatically Jewish ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 21: Experiencing Joy a New Way

Cindy Grossberg How things have changed in a year! Last August I wrote about experiencing the birth of my first granddaughter, Libby Jane. I reminisced about holding her for the first time, how I cherished rocking her in the wee hours of the night while her parents slept. Living so close, I have been blessed to witness every milestone, to ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 20: Are You There Judy Blume…

Anonymous Once upon a time, there was a semi-sweet young woman in despair. Meg (pseudonym) was a serious eighteen year old. She experienced severe symptoms of anxiety. Her family, boyfriend, and friends did not recognize the depth of Meg’s disorder.  She came from a tumultuous home and the loss of two young aunts and her parents' separation was devastating. When ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 19: After the Flood

Norm Rosen The Lord said to Noah, “There’s going to be a floody, floody” The Lord said to Noah, “There’s going to be a floody, floody” “Get those children out of the muddy, muddy” Children of the Lord. Well Noah, he built him, he built his an arky arky Well Noah, he built him, he built his an arky arky ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 18: Free Mom Hugs

Anita Rothman Years ago, I became aware of Ken Nwadike Jr. and his Free Hugs Project. I saw videos of him wearing a tee-shirt which read FREE HUGS. He was walking through protests, some of which were very heated, offering hugs to anyone who’d like one, protesters and police alike. I saw this activist brokering a more peaceful attitude with ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 17: Intimidation

Victoria Goodman Victoria is pleased to join the Echoes of Elul and share her most recent work in clay and pastels, titled Intimidation. “The relationship between us – among us. Shapes. Images blurred. The moment that you can’t describe. Reflection as being.” ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 16: What was. What needs to be.

Mitchell Y Cohen Whatever promise 5780 held will soon be a memory. Days, weeks, and months flowed by. Calendar plans erased. Uneventful, yet filled with sorrow. Lives lost, racial injustice, forest fires, unprecedented weather, connections strained. A desire for normalcy. 5781, the promise of a New Year, a Good Year. Who do we make that commitment to? G-d? Ourselves? Loved ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 15: Awareness

By Donna Wolffe When we first become aware of a problem, a situation, or a feeling, we may react with anxiety or fear. There is no need to fear awareness. No need. Awareness is the first step toward positive change and growth. It’s the first step toward solving the problem, or getting the need met, the first step toward the ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 14: The Inner Child

By Sarry Refael, z”l He is always deep inside. The child from our past. Who’s rejected, Hurt, Different, Who’s humiliated, and abandoned. The one whose company no one wants. The one who they did not know how to love. And even if it seems that his wounds have already been bandaged, treated, and healed They bleed again In the moment ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 13: An Orchid Named Hot Sause

By Risè Kirbo I do not have a green thumb, but somehow I seem to wind up the recipient of dying and neglected plants. I don’t really want them but I can’t bring myself to abandon them to the trash, even if it’s in the compost bin. Last summer I received an orchid. I never really liked orchids. I wanted ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 12: JOY and TRAGEDY within 12 Hours

By Karin Altonaga A young boy named Scott started his life in a beautiful family and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD. He struggled for many years and ended his life with a drug overdose at the age of 29. A young girl of 21 from a different family, nearly lost her life to a rare blood disorder ten ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 11: How Far Apart Are We Really?

By Jeff Merkow Over the past year, I’ve done a great deal of reflection on what separates us from one another -- as a nation, as a community, as individuals. Increasingly, it doesn’t feel safe to engage in conversations, as the risk of offense, and even permanent damage, just appear to be too great. I truly long for a time ...
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Echoes of Elul, Day 10: Our People

By Brent Wasserman Our people have built homes in every land; Our hist’ry traces back five thousand years. We persevere together, hand-in-hand; Despite our past, which knows its share of tears. Our people have been beaten, broken, killed; For differing beliefs, for diff’rent views. Erasure from the books has not been willed; By God, or else there would be no ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 9: Memories

Monica Engel My Mother became a widow when I was four years old. She always viewed my childhood as negative and felt I was cheated. I, on the other hand, remember and cherish my childhood memories. I lived on my grandparent’s farm every summer. I learned table manners and cooking from my grandmother. I learned how to milk a cow ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 8: Sharing the Light

Nancy Silverman “Disabled Mom Needs to Furnish Apartment.” The header grabbed me as I was scrolling through the Nextdoor app on my cell phone, as most of what appears on this ap is much more mundane. A woman named Leanne posted that she had a disabled friend with 2 daughters who were leaving a homeless shelter and moving into an ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 7: Hebrew Letters

Risè Kirbo I don’t know Hebrew. Not the words, not the alphabet, not the punctuation. But when I see the written words in a prayerbook or on a screen, something happens to me. My grandparents were Orthodox. They had newspapers in their home written entirely in Hebrew. A Jewish calander from the kosher butcher hung in their kitchen. It had ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 6: Nature is Calling

Marci Endless Bruffey Both my mother and father were raised orthodox. My parents were cultural Jews. I was a Jew by osmosis. My Jewish life included attending Bar Mitzvahs, standing outside the temple with the gang on high holidays, and attending Shabbat and holiday dinners with family. Judaism did not play a part in my life until I prepared for ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 5: Seize The Day

Elizabeth J. Cohen The older I get, the more I appreciate the days of my youth; the time in my life when there were clear cut boundaries. I knew every rule as set out by my parents; I knew what season we were in just by looking out my window and most importantly, I thought nothing untoward would ever happen ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 4: It’s Alive!

Scott Friedman In the past, my echoes started with an event I experienced and then I wrote about the experience. Today’s story is a little different. The story begins with a picture given to me, and ends with my offer to explain why the picture deserves a place among stories for Elul. My first thought, when seeing the picture of ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 3: Random Acts of Kindness

Anonymous I was sitting in a restaurant enjoying a quiet Sunday morning breakfast with my husband. The server seated a family of four next to us. They were a mom, a dad, and two kids about 7 and 9 years old. After they were settled in the young son began acting out by shouting and screaming aggressively which quickly increased ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 2: My Mother

Sarah B. Schweitz My mother’s name was Alice. She was born into a healthy, smart, well behaved and beautiful family of nine children. My mother was 5’3” with brown curly hair, smiling eyes, straight white teeth and a dimple on both cheeks. When I was fourteen years old we were told that we looked like sisters even though she was ...
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Echoes of Elul Day 1: Shiny Wrappers

Did you hear an echo?? Welcome back to our popular program Echoes of Elul. The echoes are pieces of work submitted by people just like you! They are thoughts, insights, and memories presented in writing, art, music, or poetry. As we prepare for the High Holy days, we put aside time for introspection and reflection. Shared insights help to open ...
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