On Shabbat September 1st, we celebrate the new month of Elul. Traditionally, Elul begins our preparation for the High Holiday period. All month at the end of the morning daily prayers we blow the shofar as a prelude to the New Year. The process of teshuvah/change is a challenging one, and so we begin it a month before.
This Shabbat, we will begin our process of teshuva as we focus on the themes of change, reflection, connection and regret through liturgy, song and study. The service and study, led by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, will be organized around these themes rather than following the traditional order of a Shabbat service.
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld has been prominent in the American Jewish community for nearly forty years, dating from his involvement as co-editor of the first Jewish Catalog in 1973. Rabbi Strassfeld was the founding chairperson of the National Havurah Committee, and is Rabbi Emeritus of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, having led the congregation from 2001-15. He has authored many books and articles including "A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice".