(This article originally appeared in the Omaha Jewish Press.)

Just because you’re all grown up doesn’t mean you have to stop learning, and Temple Israel is here to facilitate and educate.

Beginning on Thursday, August 23 at 10 a.m., Temple Israel’s Adult Study program reconvenes for three weeks with a focus on the month of Elul and its importance leading up to the High Holidays.

“Elul is the month before Tishri,” said Rabbi Aryeh Azriel, who will be teaching the first Adult Study class on August 23. “The month of Tishri is loaded with doors behind which personal treasures are hidden. Elul is a month where we need to find the keys to unlock those doors during the Days of Awe.”

Rabbi Josh Brown agrees, adding, “Elul is important because everything worth doing takes preparation. Elul is our tradition’s way of telling us that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are on the horizon. Without Elul, the depth of language and intensity of prayer at the High Holy Days may shock us rather than effect change within us.”

Learning how to prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur aren’t the only reasons these Adult Study sessions are important, however.

This is our last year in this building for the High Holy Days,” Rabbi Brown said. “It will be a year to reflect not only on our personal experiences over the last 12 months, but also on our communal experiences in the sacred space we have called home for decades.”

Rabbi Azriel hopes to help the class to let go of the past and embrace the coming year, with all its challenges.

“I would like all of us to have the courage to go deep into ourselves and prepare to change,” Rabbi Azriel said. “We need to learn how to release the anger, narrow mindedness, selfishness, so our days ahead can lead us to a purposeful year.”

While Rabbi Azriel wants to emphasize change within, Rabbi Brown hopes to illuminate the world without.

“What is out of place? What injustices are present as we prepare for 5773? Asking these questions will allow us to have vivid images to help define the words of justice and righteousness that so often appear in our High Holy Day liturgy,” Rabbi Brown said.


Adult Study is free and open to all ages, and new participants are always welcome. There is also no commitment. Come for only one session or come for all, it’s up to you. Each of the clergy–Rabbi Azriel, Rabbi Brown and Cantor Shermet–will teach one of the three sessions.

To register for Adult Study, contact Program Director Wendy Goldberg, 402-556-6536 or wgoldberg@templeisraelomaha.com.