The Yamim Nora’im (High Holy Days) serve as a type of anchor. Every year, regardless of where we’ve been, they bring us back together, back home. This year, we invite you to come into our homes.

The Yamim Nora’im ask us to not only show up, but to prepare our soul for the spiritual journey of the season. During Elul, the month leading up to the Yamim Nora’im, we engage in the spiritual work of Heshbon Hanefesh, or literally, the accounting of the soul. It pushes us to take a deep dive into who we are, what the past year has been like, and where we’d like to go.

This year, several community members will lead us in Heshbon Hanefesh through home-hosted gatherings during the weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah. These will provide several different avenues for spiritual and intellectual work. We are thrilled to offer 15 of these groups, and hope that you will find one that fits who you are and what you need this year.

These sessions are for BJ members only, with the exception of Hatanu Lefanekha, Navigating the High Holy Days, and Hearing the Shofar Mindfully, which are open to all.

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Upcoming Sessions

Hatanu Lefanekha: Tuning Our Souls for Teshuvah

Wednesdays, September 18, 25, October 2 | 7:00-8:30PM | Rabbi Rachel Cowan Chapel

Led by Rabbi Roly Matalon and Music Director Dan Nadel

For the past thousand years, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews have gathered for the forty days from the beginning of the month of Elul, through Rosh Hashanah, and up to Yom Kippur, rising at dawn to sing Selihot prayers and to prepare the soul for repentance and renewal. This three-part poetical and musical experience will engage us in that spiritual journey and get us ready for the upcoming days of soul-searching and prayer, the Yamim Nora’im. These sessions are free of charge and open to all.

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A Journey through Infertility and Miscarriage

Wednesday, September 18 | 7:15-8:45PM | Location Given Upon Registration

Led by Rabbi Shuli Passow and BJ member Lisa Kisch

Join us as we open up the conversation about infertility and miscarriage, transforming a closed topic into an open topic. Lisa will share her own story of going through three miscarriages and how this experience transformed her as a Jewish woman. Read more »

Leaving the Nest

Thursday, September 19 | 7:15-8:45PM | Location Given Upon Registration

Led by Jessica Feder-Mantel and Ariella Soffer

This session is for BJ members whose children have flown the coop. What does it mean to observe the holidays without our children around? How do empty-nesters (or partial empty-nesters and their younger children) carry on with family traditions when our hearts yearn for our absent children, even as we encourage their independence? Join Jessica Feder-Mantel and Ariella Soffer for this powerful conversation.

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Yoga and the Body of Prayer

Monday, September 23 | 7:15-8:45PM | Location Given Upon Registration

Led by Anne Landsman

Together we will use yoga techniques (specifically mountain pose with all its subtleties) to find a way to engage the body and the breath during prayer.

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Facing Race: A Personal and Communal Accounting

Monday, September 23 | 7:30-9:00PM | Location Given Upon Registration

Led by Judith Plaskow and Martha Ackelsberg

Together we will explore two powerful pieces, written 53 years apart, calling for a national accounting in relation to race: James’ Baldwin’s My Dungeon Shook from The Fire Next Time, and a selection from Ta-Nehesi Coates’ Between the World and Me. We will reflect on where they are situated in relation to each other, and where we are in relation to them. What would it mean for our country to do genuine heshbon hanefesh in relation to race, and what would it mean for us personally and communally?

By signing up, you are committing to attend both the September 16 and 23 sessions. 

This session has reached capacity. 

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Music as Midrash: Ya'aleh Tahanuneinu

Wednesday, September 25 | 7:15-8:45PM | Location Given Upon Registration

Led by Cantor David Mintz

How can the different musical settings of a piece of liturgy impact our understanding of that prayer? As a gateway to the Yamim Nora’im, we’ll explore various musical settings of the piyut “Ya’aleh,” and gain a deeper insight into its meaning and transformative power.

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Hearing the Shofar Mindfully

Thursday, September 26 | 7:00-8:30PM | Location Given Upon Registration

Led by Jonathan Silver

The sounding of the shofar during Elul and the Yamim Nora’im is deeply soul-stirring, as it awakens primitive sensations and emotions. How can we prepare to listen with intention and be aware of the messages that resonate within us? Led by Jonathan Silver, one of our Baalei Tekiyah (shofar blowers), this session will include mindfulness meditation and the sounding of the shofar to help us prepare for the Yamim Nora’im. This session is open to all and free of charge. 

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High Holy Days Seasoning: Spice up Your Rosh Hashanah Dinner

Thursday, September 26 | 7:15-8:45PM | Location Given Upon Registration

Led by Rabbi Adina Lewittes, Andi Lewittes, and Suzanne Schecter

Sample some awesome flavors and dishes for the new year festivities. Learn about foods unique to the holiday and take home some new recipes for your celebrations.

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This is Water

Thursday, September 26 | 7:15-8:45PM | Location Given Upon Registration 

Led by Rabbinic Fellow Abi Weber

Join us for this Elul conversation on how to live in the world.

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