10 ways to get High Holy Day Ready

Rosh Hashanah will be here before we know it. It seems to always come early or late – never quite on time. Except that in truth, it always arrives exactly as scheduled: on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. If we are following the Jewish calendar, then we know that we are currently in the month of Elul, the month that precedes the High Holy Days with 29 days of contemplation, reflection, and preparation.

Like most things in life, we will get out of the High Holy Days what we put into them. This is what the month of Elul is for. It is time to prepare ourselves, time to find our spiritual center, time to consider the ways that we might like to change in the year ahead.

I’ve compiled here ten easy ways to prepare for the holy days. Notice: when we take the time to prepare, our High Holy Day experience can become richer, more authentic, and even more fulfilling.

1. Make An Intentional Plan for Prayer. Will you be attending in person, or virtually? If in-person, have you mapped the route to Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church? Have you figured out what time you’ll need to leave? If virtually, have you thought about how to make your home feel like a ‘sacred space?’ Where can you sit comfortably and free

4. Stock up on non-perishable items to bring to NourishPHX (formerly ICM). Our Haftarah on Yom Kippur reminds us that a fast day is not meaningful if it isn’t accompanied by action that will help to nurture the world around us. Start stocking up now on donations of non-perishable food to help those in need.

5. Start a ‘Gratitude List.’ Whenever you have a moment (while waiting for the host to start a zoom meeting, while waiting in the carpool line, while trying to fall asleep at night…) jot down a few moments when you have felt a sense of gratitude. Start the list now, in the month of Elul, and try to keep it going until the end of the Days of Awe.

6. Make plans for quality time with friends and family. It is customary to take some time during the month of Elul to ask forgiveness. However, this is difficult to do if we haven’t even had a phone call with family or met for a coffee with friends recently. Who in your life do you miss spending time with? Take this opportunity to set up a time to reconnect.

7. Make plans for quality time with yourself. Just like we need to make for others, we also need time alone. Schedule time just for you. Take some time with your own thoughts. Perhaps you think best on a long walk or run, while journaling, or in meditation. Prioritize this time to reflect and reconnect with yourself.

8. Immerse in the mikvah. It is traditional to immerse in the mikvah before the High Holy Days. The sacred waters

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