Posted on August 1st, 2013

A Message from the President

Debbie NiedermanWow, August already and the High Holidays nearly upon us! August 7th was 1 Elul, the beginning of the last month of 5773. Perhaps you have heard that the letters of Elul form an acronym for the words in the verse Ani le‑dodi ve‑dodi li–“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3). Our sages understand this verse to describe the loving relationship between God and Israel.

As the reality of the beginning of Elul sets in, it may carry with it a certain sense of panic about the beginning of the new school year, programmatic year and Jewish New Year with all their impending professional responsibilities.  However, I believe one of the most powerful tools Jewish life offers us is the sense of Jewish time. While this may be an unusually busy time given that it is still summer, we cannot lose sight of the importance of Elul as a traditional month of reflection and renewal. Rabbi Reuven Hammer says about Elul, “Because these days are filled with so much meaning and potency, they require a special measure of readiness. We are called upon to enter them thoughtfully and to consider what they mean…Elul is our time to establish this closeness [to God] so that we can approach the Yamim Noraim, or Days of Awe, in trusting acceptance of God’s judgment. We approach the trial not out of fear, but out of love.[1]” I hope you will find time this month to prepare yourself for a meaningful entry into 5774. I wish you and yours a Sweet and Healthy New Year.

Within ARJE leadership we have spent a great deal of time over the summer thinking about the New Year as well. We look forward to a meaningful year of deepened connections among all members and continued impactful professional learning. We continue to be committed to our Strategic Plan and to enhancing open communication between all members. New dates for ARJE Now Live webinars will be announced shortly and watch for new initiatives and information gathering opportunities to help us understand your needs and how we can better serve all our members.  As always, if you have comments, feedback and concerns to share, please don’t hesitate to contact me (or any other member of our leadership) directly at debbie@natenet.org

Deborah Niederman, RJE