I cannot name all of the months in the Jewish year, but I can tell you that we are currently in the month of Elul. I’ve known for awhile now that these last weeks of summer are a time of reflection and teshuvah (a word that is often translated as repentance, but I prefer the idea of return—returning to our best selves, our highest values, or our relationship with God) as we prepare for the High Holidays, but I’ve never done anything about it before.
I decided to tackle Elul for my first Jewish Mother Project. I know from experience that while I am quite skilled at beating myself up for my shortcomings (real or imagined), the work ofteshuvah—of taking an honest inventory of the ways in which I have missed the mark and how I might begin to do better—is no easy task. I needed help. Fortunately, Judaism has no shortage of advice for what to do when you don’t know what else to do.