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Elul Learning & “Word for Word” Blog

Elul Learning & “Word for Word” Blog


We are excited to offer various in-person learning opportunities during the Hebrew month of Elul, as well as a daily Elul blog. Below, please find descriptions of our various events, offerings, and sign-up information.


Learning Sessions 

Topic: Cheshbon Ha’nefesh: A Soulful Year in Review 

August 27, 7-9 p.m.
With Rabbi Lori Levine
Location: Congregation Shaare Emeth

Every year in the month of Elul, our sages teach that we must do the work of a soul audit, cheshbon ha’nefesh. So, where do we start? Come learn with Rabbi Levine about this tradition and its goals. A true accounting of the year requires us to go through the year to review, reclaim, and redefine all of our past experiences. We will partake in this process together and prepare for the arrival of the new year and a fresh start.

Topic: To Whom do we Pray? 

August 27, 7-9 p.m.
or August 28, 10-11:30 a.m.
With Rabbi Jim Bennett
Location: Congregation Shaare Emeth

As we gather in celebration of the new year, many of us struggle with the idea and efficacy of prayer. Join Rabbi Bennett on either date to prepare for the High Holidays by focusing on the topic “To Whom Do We Pray?” Using ancient and modern texts, we will explore our faith and the value of praying together.

Topic: Does Judaism Require That We Forgive? 

September 5, 3:30 p.m.
With Rabbi Jonah Zinn
Location: Crown Center, 8350 Delcrest Dr, 63124

Too often the pain inflicted by others makes granting forgiveness difficult or even impossible. And yet, Maimonides teaches that a person is forbidden to be cruel and not forgive the person who has wronged them when they ask wholeheartedly. Join Rabbi Zinn as we discuss this and other ideas about forgiveness and how Jewish tradition understands our responsibility to forgive those who have wronged us.

RSVP for a Teaching for Elul Session


According to Jewish tradition, the Hebrew month of Elul (the month preceding the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) is a time for us to undertake cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of the soul.

It is a time for us to reflect on the year that has passed and on the kind of people we were during that year.  It is a time to ask ourselves – are we living the life that God wants for us?  A life that makes our families proud?  That makes us proud?  Each person must go about this accounting in their own unique way, but the more one prepares, the more meaningful the High Holy Days can be. It is our hope that Word for Word: 29 Words, Reflections, and Questions to Help Us Prepare for the Days of Awe can be a helpful tool in your own cheshbon hanefesh. Each day during the month of Elul (Sunday, August 12 – Sunday September 9), either in your email inbox or through the Jewish Mindfulness Center of St. Louis, you can find one word, idea, or practice that can assist you in your spiritual preparations. 


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