Today is not only Rosh Chodesh Elul (the celebration of the new month of Elul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah and the rest of the High Holidays). It is also the first day of Ramadan, a month of daytime fasting, prayer, and reflection in the Islamic tradition. I wonder how often these two holy periods align?

I’ve heard that the Hebrew letters of Elul (aleph, lamed, vav, lamed) can be thought of as representing the words “ani l’dodi v’dodi li” – I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine – standing for the relationship between G-d and Israel.

Whether you buy that or not, Elul is a time for reflection and “warming up” to the High Holidays. It is difficult here in the U.S., where summer (for many) is still in full swing, and there are only hints of fall and school days to come. But like it or not, Rosh Hashanah is coming very early this year, and on Wednesday night September 8th, Rosh Hashanah will be here.

I just found something to help me get into the mood, if you will, for the High Holidays, and I’m going to share it with you. It’s called Jewels of Elul, and it’s something new to think about each day for the 29 days of Elul.

The creator of this idea, Craig Taubman (who is also a musician), says:

“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 was a bit more challenging. Enter . . . Jewels of Elul. For the past six years I have collected short stories, anecdotes and introspections from some fascinating people.”

To sign up, click here, and a Jewel will be sent to your e-mail in-box each day. I think it’s a great idea!

Cross-posted on my blog MotherThoughts http://www.motherthoughts.com.