Both Muslims and Jews depend on the Lunar calendar. As Muslims complete their month long observance of Ramadan, a time when they fast and pray to God, the Jews enter the month of Elul. Elul is a very serious and introspective month that precedes the High Holiday period so we think about our lives and the Jewish future. Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, Director of Jewish Treats' parent organization, the National Jewish Outreach Program, tells us about how getting stuck in Israel last week as the result of Hurricane Irene helped put Elul into perspective for him.
While staying in Jerusalem, Rabbi Buchwald utilized the brand new light rail train system every day he was there. The trains were packed full of people taking advantage of the free fares offered last week. People were carrying bags of shopping from the shuk (marketplace), bicycles and most noticeably, baby carriages. Even though people were packed together like sardines everybody got along and everyone showed respect to the parents pushing baby carriages.
To Rabbi Buchwald that spoke volumes. He believes it shows the people of Israel's commitment to the Jewish future. You don't have to be a parent to appreciate that. We can all be vicarious parents who support and teach children. That's Jewish future. The month of Elul for Rabbi Buchwald will be a very joyous month knowing that there is a great future ahead for us. He wishes you all a very joyous and meaningful month of Elul.