By Daniel S. Horwitz
If you’re like me, life often moves at a frenetic pace. Between devoting an appropriate amount of time to work, one’s spouse, child(ren), extended family and friends, let alone hobbies, there often doesn’t seem to be time to simply breathe and reflect on our lives. Even Shabbat often doesn’t provide such space in my experience, as between attending services, hosting meals, and collapsing mid-afternoon for a nap provided the baby is also willing to nap, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for intentional introspection.
My guess is that many others feel similarly strained. I can see it on their faces when they arrive to Rosh Hashanah services, and all of a sudden, without any preparation, have to transport themselves into an alternate frame of consciousness. My impression is that the shift is too challenging to make in such an abrupt manner, with the result being that the High Holidays come nowhere close to fulfilling their potential for the individual or the community.
So – aspirationally – what would it look like to enter the High Holiday season having actually carved out time each day for 30 days (even if only a for a minute or two) to reflect on the year that was… on who we are, on who we wish to be, and on the concrete steps we’re going to take in order to achieve those aspirations? What would a broad movement look like to commit to designating such time?
There are many congregations and Jewish organizations that provide “food for thought” type prompts daily during the month of Elul. But few, if any, seem to empower individuals to actively DO something each day in a shareable, community-building way.
Thus, #TheWell30Days was born. Mimicking the #365grateful and #100daysofgratitude social media campaigns / challenges often seen on Facebook, during the month of Elul, beginning August 16th, let’s commit to participating in 30 days of introspection, and encouraging others in our communities/families to do the same.
The 3 Steps:
- Stop: Each day for 30 days, beginning August 16th, take a moment to just breathe.
- Reflect: Each day, think back on the year that was. What were the highlights / lowlights? What were the blessings and shortcomings – both internal and external? What are the areas ripe for personal growth?
- Share: Each day, post a thought / picture / song / article to your social media outlet of choice, followed by the hashtag: #TheWell30days (it’ll allow our posts to link together!)
“Grateful for the gift of song. #TheWell30days”
“I’m committing to be more conscious of which words I choose to use in my interactions with others, humbled by the power words possess. #TheWell30days”
At the end of the 30-day period, we’ll have an amazing global collection of reflections, thoughts, aspirations, apologies, vision statements, gratitude statements and more to cherish and use as connection points as we enter the High Holiday season feeling part of a global Jewish community, supported by our own local communities and having done some of the essential introspective work necessary to prepare us for the High Holidays and year to come.
Please feel free to create an additional hashtag to utilize for your own specific community, so that in addition to linking with folks all over the world participating, you can also easily reflect with your own existing network.
Feel free to “Like” our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MeetYouAtTheWell
and follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/MeetUAtTheWell
We’ll be posting a daily prompt there each of the 30 days, often sharing ones originating from partner organizations, in case participants are looking for additional inspiration. (If you have a prompt you’d like shared on behalf of your organization with full attribution, please reach out to me!)
Wishing you a wonderful month of introspection, and a happy, healthy, sweet and intentional year ahead! #TheWell30days
Daniel S. Horwitz is the rabbi and founding director of The Well, a pluralistic Jewish community building, education and spirituality outreach initiative of the Lori Talsky Zekelman Fund at Temple Israel, geared to the needs of young adults and those who haven’t connected with traditional institutions.
For more information, please visit www.meetyouatthewell.org