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Monday, September 1, 2014

"Return Again, Return Again"

by Sharon Weissman

“Return again, return again, return to the home of your soul.”
These words, from the song “Return Again” by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, often flow through my mind and soul.
The song continues:
“Return to who you are,
return to what you are,
return to where you are born
and reborn again.”
I learned about this song from a dear friend who teaches imagery and who has helped me open my heart to make these words real.

Thinking about Elul, I envision myself taking the time to spiritually prepare for the Days of Awe. For a whole month prior to Rosh Hashanah I have the choice to concentrate on polishing my soul!

Who am I? I aim to be the best Sharon I can be by nourishing my inner self.

What am I? As a spark of the Divine I strive to share my internal light with everyone I meet.

Where am I born and reborn again? At Shaare Emeth, my congregation,
my community, because it is my spiritual home. This can occur at Shabbat worship, working with others to create a new model for “wholeness and hope” within Temple, volunteering with Room at the Inn, making shiva visits, expanding my knowledge of Judaism, singing my heart out with the choir at monthly Shaare Shabbat morning services.

I must be willing to give of myself, it will not just happen because I am in a certain place. This awareness of my soul can, of course, also occur at home, with family and friends, in nature, during my chaplaincy visits and it does. I am the one who has to pay attention to every moment which can lead me to true connections.

These images will help me keep my Elul pledge to be active in my teshuvah, my turning:
I see myself listening to the Shofar blast which has the potential to awaken me each morning.

I hear myself reciting Psalm 27 to help me express my gratitude and hope.

I visualize myself sitting in silence, letting thoughts fly and then settling on my shoulders to guide me on the right path.

I notice myself reviewing the past year, beginning to forgive myself and asking for forgiveness from family and friends I have hurt unintentionally.

Neshama Carlebach, daughter of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, wrote:
In Elul, G!d comes to us. If we listen closely, we will hear G!d’s voice:
‘I know how hard this world can be. I know how you long for meaning
and sometimes make mistakes. But now, I just want to be close to you.’

I pray that my heart and soul will remain open to experience this closeness however I perceive it. May I truly be present during Elul, the Days of Awe and know that I am always able to “return again.”

Sharon Weissman joined Shaare Emeth when she moved here almost 30 years ago. The Caring Committee has been her focus of involvement for many years. Additionally, as a member of the Shiva Committee, she visits congregants who have had a death in their family and also leads Shiva Minyanim when called upon. Her professional work has included oncology social work and hospice chaplaincy. She works for JF&CS in the Community Chaplaincy program where she provides spiritual care to Jews living in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. She is married to Alan and has two sons, one daughter-in-love, and a grandson who is the love of her life. She enjoys traveling to visit family and friends around the country.

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