As a friend of mine said to me yesterday, ‘I can’t believe it’s that time of year again’.
Yes, like it or not, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are on the way. That means plenty of shul, eating and introspection.
But, living in Jerusalem as many of us do, we are blessed with a plethora of learning programmes which will get us in the ‘Elul mood’.
The question is, where are the best places to go to get some spiritual and intellectual stimulation?
Firstly, you should subscribe to the IsraelB newsletter and use the IsraelB website and social media community I run for the latest of what’s on. This will provide you with all you need to know from what lectures and shiurim are happening, to Selichot times, where to do Tashlich and buy your Arbah Minim.
Apart from that,here are five learning institutions, I would highly recommend:
Pardes, Rechov Pierre Koenig 29, Talpiot:
Pardes has a very impressive range of outstanding teachers, each with their own style of teaching. They always make you think and want to explore more.
The Pardes Community Education Elul Program (September 11-27), is offering an assortment of fascinating classes for Elul taught by Rabbi Meir Schweiger, Sherri Mandell, Batya Hefter, Rav Mike Feuer, Rabbi Shai Finkelstein, Professor Martin Lockshin and Rabbi Alex Israel.
There will also be a tour of the Mount of Olives by Shulie Mishkin on Sept 27 as well as an evening lecture by Rabbi Shai Held on September 6 on Why Don’t People Ever Seem to Change? (And How We Could). See www.pardes.org.il/CE for more details.
Contact Rav Alex Israel or email – email@example.com for more details.
Emek Learning Center, Emek Refaim 64, Baka:
I am really impressed by the warm and friendly community that the ‘ELC’ have managed to create since opening a few years ago.
If you are looking for more, ‘yeshivish’ style learning, the ELC is your place. You will not find a higher standard yeshiva style shiur than from Ha’Rav Berzon, the Rosh Yeshiva and his shiurim, whether in Talmud, Parsha or contemporary topics are outstanding.
The other classes, some of which are for men/ women only and some of which are mixed, are well worth trying out. Each Shabbat the ELC has inspiring services and shiurim, as well as a yummy kiddush and seudah shlishit.
Over Elul they have some special talks. including, ‘Understanding the prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur’, with Rabbi Simcha Dumas. Click here for more of what’s on at the ELC. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Ramban Bet Midrash, Rechov Amatsia 4, South Jerusalem:
Ramban Shul has a very popular Bet Midrash,every Wednesday evening, 8-10pm catering for young professionals.
There are a range of speakers and native Israelis and Anglos learn together is a serious environment. Open to both males and females, this programme is also a very good place to meet new people and grow your social network.
Whether you want to learn in a ‘chabura’ (group) or with a chevruta ( learning partner), it’s well worth coming to the Ramban Bet Midrash where you can learn and meet new people in the community.
There are also regular shiurim at Ramban Shul throughout Elul. Click on here for more details.
OU Israel Center, 22 Rechov Keren Hayesod:
The OU Israel Center has an excellent array of speakers over Elul from top thinkers and speakers, including Rav Chayim Soloveitchik, Rav Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Rav Yitzchak Breitowitz and Rav Shai Finklestein. Contact Rabbi Sam Shor for more of what’s on there over Elul and click on here.
Yakar, 10 Rechov Lamed Hey:
Yakar is a center of creativity and learning also worth trying out. They have a range of teachers and speakers including Rabbanit Gila Rosen and Rav Shlomo Dov Rosen. They have a ‘Kloyz’ Bet Midrash programme on Monday evenings and in the month of Elul have some special lectures. Click on here to find out more of what’s on there. Each Shabbat they have a Parsha shiur at 9.30am.
So there you are, just five suggested places of where you can find some Elul inspiration, which will hopefully make the coming Festivals more meaningful for you and your families.