Elul Events  (August 20 — September 18)

We have a tremendous number of events scheduled for the month of Elul (now) leading into the High Holy Days.  These are open to all.

All High Holy Day services and events will be virtual (zoom video), unless specified otherwise.


Link: From Elul to Sukkot.pdf
We come to the month of Elul as spiritual pilgrims.  Here is an outline for a personal journey of meditation, walking and journaling from Elul (now) through Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur to Sukkot & Simchat Torah.

CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART — SZ Racial Equality Group, Elul Practice
Link: Confessions of the Heart
Antiracism in Practice, 30-day Racial Equity Challenge.  Project overview article.  Take this at your own pace over the next 30 days.

SACRED SOUNDS: HEARING THE SHOFAR — Rabbi Copeland and lay leaders
Monday evenings 5:15-5:30pm
August 17, 24, 31 & September 7, 14
Register here for all (Zoom)
Do you have a shofar at home and want to learn some tips for getting out a good blast, or doing all of the distinct sounds? Stick around at the close of these shofar sessions for a few minutes and we’ll teach some shofar sounding skills.
Join a weekly spiritual practice of hearing the shofar sounded. During the month of Elul, we take in the sacred sound of the shofar as much as possible in preparation for the High Holy Days. This short ritual moment will include a chant, short teaching, and hearing our lay shofar sounders. Especially this year, let’s bring some ritual grounding to this period of seeming timelessness.

FROM ELUL TO SUKKOT — Maggid Andrew Ramer
August 19, 7-8:30 pm Part 1: Elul as preparation for the High Holy Days
September 14, 7-8:30pm Part 2: The High Holy Days
Register here for both (Zoom)
Reading: From Elul to Sukkot.pdf
We come to the month of Elul as spiritual pilgrims, wandering slowly toward Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, then on to Sukkot, our harvest festival. This class gives us an outline for a journey of meditation, walking, and journaling, all the way through the month of Elul to Sukkot, which in this challenging time you may want to hold as an inner harvest, of joy, hope, sorrow, loss, regret, gratitude, and a time of unfolding possibilities.

Sunday evenings August 23, 30 & September 13
6:00-7:30 pm
Cost: $18 members / $45 non-members
Flyer: HighHolyDays SZ Teshuvah and Afterlife
Preregistration required here
High Holy Day liturgy reminds us of the vulnerability of life. “Who shall live and who shall die?” we ask in the U’netaneh Tokef prayer, a theme profoundly relevant to us in this time of pandemic anxiety. This class will explore themes of life, death and mysteries of the world beyond. Though study, discussion and personal reflection we shall learn about little-known Jewish views of the afterlife, and discover spiritual resources helping us prepare for the season. Reb Simcha Raphael is Founding Director of the DA’AT Institute for Death Awareness, Advocacy & Training, and author of Jewish Views of the Afterlife.

TREE OF LIFE YOGA — Rabbi Mychal Copeland
August 27, 8:30-9:30am
Register here (Zoom)
Many of us are spending our sheltering days sitting more than ever before. We’ll bring some spiritual and embodied Jewish practice to sitting in a chair, including working with hands that are weary from typing at computers and other devices. Join us in this practice that will offer tools for enriching your High Holy Day season. All are welcome, regardless of ability, flexibility or experience.

EXPLORE TIKKUN OLAM – Social Action Committee
August 27, 6-7:15 pm  Part 1: Awakening our Hearts for Tikkun Olam
September 10, 6-7:15 pm Part 2: Committing Ourselves to Tikkun Olam
Do you want to do your part in repairing the world but feel unsure of where to start? These sessions will help you hone in on how to use your personal interests and skills for social change with the ultimate goal of moving past political overwhelm and into action.

BUILD YOUR OWN SUKKAH WORKSHOP – Director of Education & Lover of Sukkot Sue Bojdak
Thursday, August 27, 7-8pm on
Join here (Zoom)
Have you ever considered making your own sukkah but were afraid to try? Are you missing outdoor space or people building power? In preparation for this Sukkot (with time to prepare!) let’s imagine what is possible. We’ll get inspired, do creative problem solving, and play with the joy of Sukkot. RSVP to education@shaarzahav.org.

For kids age 5 to 12
Saturday, August 29, 9:30-10:30am on
Join here (Zoom)
What’s an Elul anyway? It’s the month leading up to High Holidays. Let’s connect, play, make, and listen to … what’s that sound? Oh – the shofar! RSVP to education@shaarzahav.org

Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Cantor Sharon Bernstein and community members
August 31, 7-8:30 PM
Register here (Zoom)
On all other High Holy Days, we’ve come together to celebrate and worship in our sanctuary and our special holiday gathering places. This year, we’ll meet on the Internet – but we will still celebrate these Days of Awe as a community, we will still find sanctuary together, and we will still wish each other a sweet New Year. Join us to learn what Sha’ar Zahav’s High Holy Days will look like and to talk in small, facilitated groups about preparing for this most different season. Advanced registration is appreciated to ensure the right number of facilitators for the small groups.
Presented by Hineni Caring Community

September 2, 7:00 – 8:00 pm Part 1: Introduction to Mussar
September 9, 7:00 – 8:00 pm  Part 2: Mussar Practice
Register here for both (Zoom)
Mussar is an inspiring and practical Jewish spiritual tradition that helps us attain our best selves.

HOLIDAY BAKING — Alex Ingersoll
September 4, 1:00 pm  Part 1: Rosh Hashanah Challah baking
September 11, 1:00 pm Part 2: Sweet Treats
Register here for both (Zoom)
The Rosh Hashanah table is laden with delicacies representing optimism for a sweet future. Dishes abound with honey, raisins, carrots, and apples—all seasonal reminders of hope for the coming year. Join Alex as he shares two Rosh Hashanah specialties.   Recipes:
Challah – Sweet for Rosh Hashanah.pdf

September 3, 5:30-6:30pm
Register here (Zoom)
During this time of immense loss and grief, we have been holding regular Memory Circles. This special Memory Circle for Elul will offer space for us to grieve deaths of our loved ones and contemplate our own mortality while calling on the themes of Elul and the Holy Days. We will support each other as we hold both our personal and communal losses. We will hear the shofar and recite Mourner’s Kaddish as a community.
Offered in partnership with Hineni Caring Community

Saturday, September 12, 10:30-11:30am on
Join here (Zoom)
We’re getting new babies and their parents together to welcome the new year with the launch of a new baby havurah. This monthly gathering of kids age 0-2 and their parents is a place to share hopes and dreams plus tips and tricks and wiggles and giggles and someday (soon?!) shared space. This month we’ll reflect on the year behind, hope for the year to come and begin to build a new community. RSVP to education@shaarzahav.org.

Saturday, September 12, 9:30-10:30am on
Join here (Zoom)
Our young people may not be old enough to vote yet, but they are old enough to repair the world. Kids age 5-12 and their families come join us for a virtual Get Out the Vote postcard writing party. RSVP to education@shaarzahav.org

September 13, 10:30-11:30am
Register here (Zoom)
Every year, we meet at our community’s grave sites at Hills of Eternity. This year, we will take a virtual walk through the grave sites of our beloved community members as we recite poems, liturgy and names. Whether or not you have personally had a loss in your life, this contemplative short service is for anyone wishing to contemplate life and death amidst supportive community on Zoom.