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Elul is Coming and So Are the Etudes

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

We are rolling around to Elul now on the Jewish calendar. It feels too soon, and yet, it also feels right on time.

Too soon, because Elul always comes too soon. I’m never really ready. And right on time, because it’s impossible to be ready. 

The clock ticks, the calendar days fly by, and IT arrives, whatever IT may be. A wedding, a birth, death, the start of a new school year, Shabbat, a difficult conversation – whatever it is we are awaiting, it always comes too soon – or sometimes not soon enough – and it always comes on time.

Too soon, because Elul always comes too soon. I’m never really ready. And right on time, because it’s impossible to be ready. 

And so, we pull out the shofar to begin blowing — or hearing — it every morning, a reminder to wake up and get ready for the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, and the super-intensity of trying to let go of our defects and come closer to the Mystery. We acknowledge that summer will again draw to a close, always too soon. We watch the sun set earlier each day and light our Shabbat candles earlier each week, but always, always, on time, on their time, on the time of the Universe and of G!d.

Welcome to this year’s Earth Etudes for Elul, which will start Sunday evening, written by environmentalists, poets, rabbis, and others, bits of reflection and wisdom on Earth and teshuvah for your journey through this month. Enjoy and b’hatzlachah – good luck with this year’s efforts for personal change!

Elul tov – may you have a good and wondrous Elul.

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the founder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in  Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma’yan Tikvah.

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen is the founder and leader of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, a congregation without walls that meets outdoors all year long. She is the co-convener and President pro-tem of the Boston-area Jewish Climate Action Network, and the founder of the One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit in Framingham, MA.
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