#blogelul — prepare

the upcoming event

You’ve invit­ed a num­ber of friends over. Even if it is a pot-luck din­ner, there’s much you need to do in advance of the meal. You, as I do, prob­a­bly have lists with sub­lists encom­pass­ing all the projects that go into mak­ing your event a suc­cess: write out and send invi­ta­tions, clean the apart­ment, make sure not every­body brings a green sal­ad.

We have a lot to do to pre­pare. Ever since I shared (ref­er­ence to) this song at a Seli­chot ser­vice over 30 years ago I think of it as we begin the sea­son. It adds a bit of lev­i­ty to the seri­ous­ness of the tasks ahead.

task managers

You like­ly even have “an app for that”. We each prob­a­bly have at least one appli­ca­tion on our com­put­ers or “smart” phones (hand-held com­put­ers that allow us to make phone calls) that keep track of the lists of tasks we each have. Google: task man­age­ment soft­ware and about 34,700,000 (yes, that’s near­ly 35 mil­lion) results appear in a third of a sec­ond. This must be a pop­u­lar con­cern of peo­ple. And, it’s a grow­ing con­cern. Using Google’s Ngram View­er, we can see that since the ear­ly 1960s the con­cept of task man­age­ment has become increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar. Inter­est­ing­ly enough, the idea of a task man­ag­er (i.e. what may have been a per­son) gained some trac­tion, but seems to have dropped off since 2004.

use of terms task management and task manager

use of terms task man­age­ment and task man­ag­er

I’m sure we each have our favorite. We chose it by bal­anc­ing a vari­ety of val­ues:

  • sim­plic­i­ty of inter­face
  • abil­i­ty to use across all our devices
  • abil­i­ty to share tasks with oth­ers
  • abil­i­ty to split projects into small­er tasks
  • abil­i­ty to set alarms (based on time and/or loca­tion)

It’s those last two I want to exam­ine for a moment.


In his book This Is Real and You Are Com­plete­ly Unpre­pared Rab­bi Alan Lew ז”ל split the project of the renew­al we hope to achieve dur­ing the High Hol­i­days into a num­ber of sub-tasks begin­ning at Tisha b’Av and con­tin­u­ing on through the end of Sukkot. I have col­lect­ed some of the tools that I have devel­oped for myself and the con­gre­ga­tions with which I’ve worked; tools that help me deal with the mul­ti­ple tasks of this sea­son. These are avail­able and only a click away in the side­bar to the right.


Dur­ing the month of Elul we blow the sho­far every day. I like to blow it each morn­ing as a sec­ondary alarm clock. If you do not have a phys­i­cal sho­far, there are many sho­far apps that you can down­load or use this YouTube video:

What are you doing to pre­pare?

I’ll begin wear­ing this lapel but­ton to help me spread the alarm.

just jew it

just jew it

Date: 2000s
Size: 5.6
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

This entry was posted in holidays, how, judaica, lapel buttons, ritual and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to #blogelul — prepare

  1. Pingback: Are You Ready? A Roundup of Elul Inspiration and Resources | Rabbi Jill Zimmerman

  2. Sara Perman says:

    Liked the song “Be Pre­pared” Put a smile on my face

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