HaNefesh: Breathing New Life into the High Holy Days 

Enjoy this inspirational video featuring Jewish thought leader Naomi Ackerman.  Naomi Ackerman, the founder and executive director of The Advot Project is an experienced actress, consultant, and facilitator creating curriculums that use drama techniques to deal with social, gender, and educational issues as well as exploring identity and promoting tolerance and dialogue between diverse participants. Naomi is a social activist who produces events and gatherings that teach, engage, and call to action communities and individuals to take a stand, and find their voice to fight injustice. Naomi reflects on being a full time working parent and her struggle with the guilt of not being enough

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During these days and weeks leading up to and through the High Holy Days we take the time to reflect and restore ourselves.  We atone. We repent. We ask for teshuvah, to return.  Where did we go?  What are we returning to? 

If we look at the word atone, we see two words – at one.  We return to being at one.  At one with others, at one with God and most importantly at one with ourselves.  How do we do that? We do that by acknowledging we have made mistakes, we have hurt others, we have not been our best selves.  As Brene Brown would say, we have to own our own stories.  We have to be vulnerable and we have to acknowledge that we are good enough.   

A story from the Talmud. A rabbi named Zusya died and went to stand before the judgment seat of God. As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about his life and how little he had done. He began to imagine that God was going to ask him, “Why weren’t you Moses or why weren’t you Solomon or why weren’t you David?” But when God appeared, the rabbi was surprised. God simply asked, “Why weren’t you Zusya?”  

God just wants us to be ourselves. Be our best selves.  That takes work and acknowledging that we are good enough.


Click here to read all about our High Holy Days and the schedule of services and events.