Rabbi Robin SparrShalom, dear TEMV family!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a restful summer, full of good times with family and friends, outdoor activities, and opportunities for both rest and growth. Perhaps you are, like me, approaching the fall with a mix of excitement and wistfulness. Hot days (and nights) will soon give way to earlier sunsets and turning leaves, and, for many of us, a return to school or more routine work schedules.

In the days just ahead, we will enter the month of Elul, the 12th month of the Jewish year, during which we are encouraged to spiritually prepare ourselves for a new year. As we begin to shift gears, I offer you a couple of questions and challenges:

What are YOU doing to further tikkun olam, repair of an infinitely imperfect world?

TEMV has a long and estimable history as a leader for social justice. Our work continues apace, in the work that we do communally, such as preparing meals for soup kitchens and the Lowell Transitional Living Project, supporting our members and neighbors in times of need, and donating our funds and energies to worthy local projects. As a member of TEMV, you can say that, by extension, you, too, participate in the work of tikkun olam. But what are you doing, personally? (Really – this is sincere question – if you’d like to share your answer with me, drop me a line! I’ll write a few words spotlighting our members’ commitments in a future missive.)

Tikkun olam is not only achieved in the work we do outwardly, in the way we literally repair or improve the world beyond ourselves. Particularly during this final month of the Jewish year, we are obligated to turn inward – to engage in teshuva – and examine our lives – what are we doing to repair ourselves and our own personal world? How are we mending and tending our families and other close personal relationships? What are we doing to heal ourselves, physically, spiritually, emotionally? What steps do we take each day toward our goals?

As you contemplate these questions, I encourage you to visit 10Q for a new question each day during the Ten Days of Awe – you’ll be able to review the answers you provide this year at this time next year and reflect on your growth. I will also be exploring some of their intriguing ideas during our Selichot program on September 16th, and hope you’ll join me in lively discussion and quiet reflection.

I’m excited to reconnect with each of you in the days ahead, at our Welcome Back service on September 8th or Open House on the 10th, High Holy Days beginning on the 20th, or apple picking on 24th. If you’d like to meet with me privately, please email me to arrange a convenient time.

Wishing every one of you and your families a sweet, healthy, and fulfilling New Year,

—Rabbi Robin S. Sparr

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