the answers they write this year so
they can see how they've grown and
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erev Rosh Hashanah.
If you're having trouble getting
started in your self-examination,
Treu suggests you follow "good
Chasidic tradition" and get out into
nature. "Spend some time talking
to yourself, talking to God, figuring
out what's right for you" she said.
Maybe you have a friend you can
partner with. Treu sets aside 20
minutes a week to talk on the phone
with a friend, an idea she learned at
a yoga retreat. First one person talks
uninterrupted for 10 minutes, and
then the other takes a turn. Each
answers the question, "What do you
need to say right now?"
For additional reading, Treu rec-
ommends This is Real and You Are
Totally Unprepared by Alan Lew,
who describes himself as a "Zen
rabbi" The book contains essays
about religious and personal trans-
formation during the High Holiday
season. For Lew, spiritual prepara-
tion begins at Tisha b'Av, the Jewish
day of mourning for the destruction
of the Temple, which fell this year
on July 16. Lew says he is more con-
cerned with the introspection and
self-evaluation of the High Holidays
than with ritual.
For families with school-aged
children, Treu suggests taking a small
box, like a shoebox, and cutting a slot
in the top. Everyone in the family can
take pieces of paper and write their
mistakes, things they feel bad about
or things they wish they had done
better. The papers go into the box.
At a Tashlich ceremony on the
second day of Rosh Hashanah, when
the tradition is to throw crumbs into
moving water as a symbolic casting
away of sins, the parents can take
the box —without looking at the
contents — and bury it, burn it or
recycle it, symbolizing a new start.
Treu notes that the shofar is blown
during the morning synagogue ser-
vice every day during Elul (except
Shabbat). The sound of shofar can
help some people focus on spiritual
matters. Those who are not used to
attending a morning minyan may
consider trying it once a week before
Rosh Hashanah, she said.
On a personal level, Treu sees the
High Holidays as an annual dead-
line. "I need the High Holidays to
make me stop and think" she said.
"Otherwise, one day just turns into
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