The High Holiday season begins with Elul, the preparatory month leading up to Rosh Hashanah. This year, Elul begins on the evening of Wednesday, August 16th. During this month, we have an abundance of offerings to help our bodies and souls land more deeply in this moment, as we begin to turn ourselves toward Rosh Hashanah. 

More details below.

Elul Learning: Tshuvah, Tefillah, Tzedakah

Wednesdays, August 16 and 30 | 7:30-9:00pm | Zoom (here)
Join us for learning designed to help us in our process of self-reflection.

We often talk about tshuvah (return/ atonement), tefillah (prayer), and tzedakah (acts of justice) as separate actions. But what if tefillah and tzedakah are what make tshuvah possible? Defining tefillah broadly as any form of spiritual or introspective practice, we will examine the relationship between tefillah, tzedakah, and tshuvah in our own lives.

This 2-part class will be grounded in traditional and contemporary texts, with plenty of time for both discussion and self-reflection. Please bring a journal or something to write on.

The two sessions will complement each other and we recommend coming to both. However, each session will make sense on its own and you’re welcome to come to just one!

This class is geared toward adults.

Elul Attunement

Saturday, August 19 | 10:30am-12:30pm | Egbert Picnic Area (here)

Join us for an earth-based spiritual experience near the woods, as we enter the month of Elul and the High Holidays season. We will attune to our bodies, the season, and the earth. 

Grounded in Jewish wisdom, this experience will loosely follow the structure of a Shabbat morning service. We will begin with song and poetry to help us wake up to wonder, awe, and interconnection. We will then spend some solo time attuning to our senses and the world around us, collecting items from the forest which we will use to create a collective altar. We will gather back together to create our altar and will close with blessings for peace, healing, and Mourner’s Kaddish.

Afterward, stick around for a BYO picnic lunch.

No prior experience with Jewish prayer or altar-building is necessary. You can find accessibility info on our calendar here.

Who might be interested in this?

  • Those who find spiritual connection in nature
  • Those who struggle with traditional Jewish prayer and are seeking spiritual connection
  • Those who love traditional Jewish prayer and are open to different experiences
  • Folks with a variety of God beliefs, including atheists
  • This experience is geared toward adults

What to wear & bring:

  • A basket or bag for collecting items (we will also have a few on hand)
  • A tallit (prayer shawl) if you want
  • Something for sitting if you want (we will also have a few blankets, pillows, and folding chairs)
  • BYO lunch & water
  • Please dress for the weather (we will only cancel in the case of severe weather)

Torah Mantel Quilting Workshop

Sunday, August 27th | 10:30am-1:00pm | Cleveland Heights Home
Please note the time *and location* change from what was originally announced

Members – please see your email for the updated address. Everyone else, please register for the address here.

Masking is optional but highly recommended indoors given the new COVID variant.

Join us as we make a new Torah Mantle for the CJC Torah! Each attendee will have the opportunity to create a section of the mantle using supplied materials and their own creativity. No prior experience needed! This workshop is suitable for kids roughly 12+ and adults.

After the workshop, Emma Reed will quilt all the pieces together to create our new Torah mantle, which will be revealed in 5784!

Shabbes Dinner Bonfire

Friday, September 1 | 6:30-10pm | South Euclid backyard CANCELED

Join us for a casual shabbes potluck dinner around the bonfire! Feel free to bring your favorite game or whatever craft you’re working on!

CJC will provide challah, grape juice, and supplies for making s’mores. Please bring a vegetarian dish to share.

Some people in our community are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, or allergic to nuts – please keep these dietary needs in mind as you decide what to bring, so that everyone has at least one thing they can eat. Please list ingredients so that people know what they are able to eat.

Soul Candles & Selichot

Saturday, September 9 | 3:45-8:30pm – Come to part or all | Cleveland Heights
Registration for this event is closed

Just one week before Rosh Hashanah, join us for a very special afternoon and evening, as the doors of tshuvah (returning/repentance) begin to crack open. We will orient our hearts and bodies toward the Days of Awe in a few different ways.

You’re welcome to join for any or all parts. Please register here, so we can make sure to have enough food and materials. The precise locations will be sent to those who register.

3:45 – We will begin in a cemetery in Cleveland Heights in order to reclaim the Ashkenazi women’s folk practice of measuring wicks for soul candles. (All genders welcome!) Annabel Cohen explains, “for centuries, Jewish women in Eastern Europe measured cemeteries and graves with thread [during Elul]. They used the threads to make special neshome likht [soul candles] [for Yom Kippur].” This practice acknowledges our fragility and vulnerability, and embodies our hopes and fears for the coming year.

5:15 – After measuring wicks, we will head to a nearby member’s backyard to create our candles. As we do so, we will call on our ancestors (literal and spiritual), set intentions, and invoke blessings. We’ll also have a chance to get creative, as we design and decorate our candles.

6:30 – Vegetarian dinner provided by CJC

7:30 – We will close with a Selichot* service, full of yearnful song and soulful prayer, as we bring ourselves into this sacred time of year. 

*In Ashkenazi tradition, we begin saying Selichot prayers the Saturday night that is roughly one week before Rosh Hashanah. Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews begin this practice at the beginning of Elul.