Our tradition teaches that our task in this season is not to transform into a brand new, better version of ourselves. It is, rather, to return to our essence, owning up to and seeking forgiveness for the ways we have missed the mark, and returning home to the point of goodness that already lies inside each one of us. Indeed, we are embarking on a spiritual homecoming in the deepest sense. As each of us engages in the process of teshuvah, we invite you to explore the possibilities of personal and collective transformation, coming home to our purest essence and deepest potential.
Rabba Yaffa Epstein: Return, Repent, Renew
This session examines the concept of teshuvah, often imperfectly translated as “repentance,” and invites us to attempt to understand the complexities involved in making real changes in our lives.
Silence is not an Option Podcast: Finding Common Ground
In the wake of anti-Semitic comments from prominent Black athletes and entertainers, we examine the strong alliances and deeply ingrained tensions between the Black and Jewish communities. How does their solidarity during the 1960s civil rights movement inform these relationships today? In this podcast, Don Lemon talks to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, historian Marc Dollinger, and political strategist Ginna Green.
Rabbi Avi Killip: Teshuvah Behind Bars
The American prison system relies on retributive justice. Teshuvah suggests a process of restorative justice. Together we will read Rambam’s Hilkhot Teshuvah (Laws of Repentance) through the lens of prison ministry to discover how confronting the potential healing of those who have done real wrong can teach us about our own relationship to God.
Judy Clark: Thoughts on Teshuvah
Judy Clark has deep gratitude for everyone in the B’nai Jeshurun community who supported her efforts to gain release after serving 38 years in prison, welcoming her to services and activities since coming home. She extends the deepest gratitude to Rabbi Felicia Sol for her years of visits, spiritual direction, and support. She reminds us, “My efforts toward repair are not unique. So many women and men in prison spend years challenging themselves to change, to take responsibility, to repair, and to share the lessons of their struggles with others.
Breaking Down Teshuvah
What is the essence of teshuvah? How do I do it? Why do I do it? How do I know if I’ve really done it? Get the breakdown right here.
Songs of Teshuvah and Change
Prepare for the work of teshuvah with this playlist of Jewish and secular music inspired by the holy possibility of change. Listen here for evocative and beautiful music from Aviva Chernick, Tracy Chapman, Bob Dylan, and more.
On Being Podcast: The Refreshing Practice of Repentance with Louis Newman
The High Holy Days create an annual ritual of repentance, both individual and collective. Louis Newman, who has explored repentance as an ethicist and a person in recovery, opens this up as a refreshing practice for every life, even beyond the lifetime of those to whom we would make amends.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse: A Dramatic Reading
Watch Rabbi Anne Ebersman, Mike Witman, and Emma Miller in a dramatic reading of Kevin Henkes’ children’s book, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, a story about what happens when our feelings get the best of us and how we can show someone we’re sorry.
Nizakher Venikatev: A Reflective Guide for Teshuvah
What makes apologies easy or difficult to accept? In engaging in teshuvah, how can we move beyond simply acknowledging the ways we’ve hurt others and actually take steps to fix the hurt we’ve caused and repair those relationships? These kinds of questions invite us to dig deeper for a more meaningful process of teshuvah.