Week 4: The Question On Our Minds

Week 4: The Question On Our Minds

By now you may have heard about Elul - the Hebrew month of introspection preceding Rosh Hashanah. If you’re following and participating in our Prep Course, you already have a head start on the work that many Jews do during Elul. In the previous weeks we provided several resources, all listed below, to assist you with your deep dive into soul-searching and the pursuit of self-reflection. If you haven’t already committed to the practice, it isn’t too late to get started.


Ask yourself this: how do we create meaningful change in the world? Perhaps we start by creating meaningful change within ourselves. Consider: what is the lense through which we look when we see the world? Are we drawn to notice massive structural and societal injustices? Are we in the practice of seeing our blessings and articulating our gratitude? How does our point of view inform the flavor of our relationships, the quality of our joy, the way we spend our time, the approach we take in challenging times?

On a week like the one we just had (which was fraught with painful headlines questioning whether UCLA is a safe place for Jewish and pro-Israel students) Hillel’s staff and students are called to seriously consider what path we want to take in order to create meaningful change on our campus. What do we do when confronted with serious and complex problems? Do we jump up and down with anger and yell from the rooftops? Do we work internally to leverage influence and collaborate?

How about some of both? To learn more about Rabbi Aaron Lerner our Executive Director's approach, read his OpEd in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.

What’s actually within our control? “Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about… Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern--things over which they have little or no control.” - Steven Covey

As we enter Shabbat we leave you with a passage from Everyday Holiness which touches on the very essence of the questions above:
“When asked how he had made such an impact as a great sage and leader in the 20th century Jewish world, the Chofetz Chaim answered, ‘I set out to try to change the world, but I failed. So I decided to scale back my efforts and only try to influence the Jewish community of Poland, but I failed there to. So I targeted the community in my hometown, but achieved no greater success. Then I gave all my effort to changing my own family, and failed with that as well. Finally, I decided to change myself, and that’s how I had such an impact on the Jewish world.’”

Hillel values shared learning - as you begin to uncover deeper realizations through your participation in our High Holy Days Prep Course, share your thoughts with us by email and on our Facebook page!

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