Jewels of Elul: “Winter Has its Beauty and its Joys”
In his introduction to musician Craig Taubman’s annual “Jewels of Elul,” project Rabbi David Wolpe writes, “Here is a booklet full of wisdom about age and aging, the land we will all visit if we are blessed. As each year passes, clap your hands and sing. Spring is green and vital, but winter has its beauty and its joys.”
Throughout the Hebrew month of Elul, which began last weekend, receive short stories, anecdotes, and introspections in your inbox to celebrate each day of the month. Guest bloggers will include Herb Alpert, Peter Yarrow, Donna Shalala, and Zalman Schacter Shalomi, among others. Though we’re four days into Elul, there’s still time to sign up, and you can read existing “jewels” online. Below, recaps of this week’s jewels.
- Day One: “As we age, our brains are hardwired to reject change. We are conditioned to resist new challenges and remain within our comfort zones. However, growing older should not mean that we must exist within self-imposed boundaries.” Read “Mohini” by Rabba Sara Hurwitz, dean of Yeshivat Maharat.
- Day Two: “Aging: a fearsome word in a youth-obsessed culture. The desired stage of life, youth, is depicted as threatened by the aging process. Granted; youthfulness, with its energy, its hope, its sense of the future, is a desirable quality of life, perhaps essential. But let’s not confine those qualities only to the young in years.” Read “Next” by Rabbi Everett Gendler, the “father of Jewish environmentalism.
- Day Three: Age has been on my mind all my life. When I was a kid I had a giant shock of black hair that was like a helmet because it was stiff with a product called ‘Slickum’. To comb it, I had to dip my head in the sink and wash my hair every day. That’s the first time I can remember thinking, ‘What if this is the secret to a long life?’” Read “The Secret” by producer, director, writer, activist and philanthropist Norman Lear.
- Day Four: Poppy is four years old. The only shelf in the cabinet she can reach is the one with the plastic Tupperware. She has started filling containers with water, snapping on lids, and placing them about the house. It is her new favorite game. Read “Poppy” by poet Sarah Kay.