What does this season of the year offer to the sophisticated,
uncertain, agnostic modern Jew?
Many of us, unfamiliar with prayer
which stirs the heart and connects us to God,
will however admit to a rare sense of awe and wonder,
a feeling of spirituality and connectedness,
when flying far above the grandeur of the great mountain ranges,
or when looking from the top of a mountain;
when watching the rain drip from a mist-laden forest leaf,
the glorious perfection of a budding flower, a bird feeding its hatchlings,
or the first unsteady steps of a newborn lamb in spring.
Let us try to recall and recapture those moments
through the preparatory month of Elul - and bring them with us into the New Year.
Let us feel the power that elevates those around us,
their hearts also touched by their own unique experiences at this unique moment.
May the synergy of memories that fills the synagogue, allow us to support each other
to amplify our awe and wonder, to sense God in our hearts and in our lives,
as this year, a year older, a year closer to our end, we start the New Year afresh.
--Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black