Each day during the Jewish month of Elul (with the exception of Shabbat) it is traditional for the shofar (ram’s horn) to be blown. The sound of the shofar, Maimonides explains, is the call to teshuvah (returning to your true self). As we get closer & closer to the High Holy Days, we look back over the year and strive to recognize where we may have missed the mark. The sound of the shofar is the reminder to return to ourselves, to reflect on who we want to be and who we have yet to become.
One could even think of blowing the shofar and #BlogElul in the same way; each symbolically challenges us to do the work of reflection and self-improvement necessary to reach the New Year with a whole heart.
Yet it is not enough to simply hear the sound of the shofar. We must truly listen. Each of us has a story, and to be heard, to be genuinely listened to, is to have our story validated. I challenge you to take it upon yourself, in the New Year ahead, to ensure that one more Jewish story is heard, because in doing so you can make inclusion a part of your life. Maybe your focus will be on inclusive language or maybe you will have an opportunity to bring someone with disabilities into the life of your congregation. Maybe your focus will be on education or maybe you will help someone to make a spiritual connection. Listen to the stories, they deserve to be heard.
“We, the one's who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has, and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being.” -- Robert M. Hensel