JCRC Director's Note

Ahead of the High Holidays

Max Patashnik Headshot

September 15, 2022

The demands of today’s fast-paced world push and pull us in a million directions. Endless “shoulds” and to-do lists fill our days, often zapping our energy and sometimes depriving us of joy. For me, in these last few weeks before I go on maternity leave, the pressure to wrap everything up in a tidy bow and leave things in a “good place” makes the days feel extra challenging. Thankfully, we have Shabbat every week, offering us an opportunity to stop, slow down, and reflect. And once a year, we experience the month of Elul.

Elul is the month on our Jewish calendar that precedes the High Holidays. It is a time to step away from day-to-day busyness, pause, and take stock of the past year. This pause is both a critical part of preparation for the High Holidays, and an essential opportunity for us to connect to our humanity and values. It’s a chance to think about the thousands of decision points and personal interactions we have over the course of a year —with our family, our colleagues, and in our community —and contemplate change. 

A foundational goal of the Jewish Community Relations Council is to build bridges within and beyond our community. Over the past year, our JCRC worked hard to build connections, deepen relationships, and reach understanding. No doubt, our efforts were imperfect. But Elul is a time when we can reflect, find where we missed the mark, set intentions, and think about how we might work toward this goal differently in the new year. 

Whatever the year 5783 has in store for us, I’m looking forward to more learning and collaboration. The trustful relationships that emerge from this work are seeds that can bear so much good fruit—more community cohesiveness, airing of differences in a constructive manner that fosters growth and understanding, and discovery of common ground in pursuit of justice and repairing our world. There is so much we can do when we do it together.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet New Year of peace, health, and happiness.

L’Shanah Tovah U’Metuka,

Max Patashnik
Director of JCRC and Government Affairs