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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

5771 and the art of beginning again.

Despite being behind the scenes of the Jewels of Elul Blog Tour and social media promotions, I did not put myself on the list to write on the topic, “The Art of Beginning… Again.” That doesn’t mean I can’t write about a few new year’s resolutions and how I hope 5771 (and 2011) might kick 5770’s ass.

Last year I went into Rosh Hashanah conflicted. In a few short years of being Jewish, I’d gone from going to synagogue every week for a few years to rarely going to services. As I became more of a regular on the Jewish conference circuit, I became less of a regular at my own synagogue. There were reasons I stopped going… recovering from being on the Board of Directors. Disagreements over Israel. Less of a connection to the prayers as we said them. Laziness. Depression. Hibernation. Pick a reason, I’m sure I gave it for not going to services.

I wanted to be more observant. I wanted to keep shabbat. I wanted to kasher my kitchen.

I failed at doing all of that.

What I didn’t fail at was hosting Shabbat dinners, I hosted a few other the last year that were epic and wonderful. I’m in the midst of starting a minyan with some new friends. I’m mastering the art of hosting a multi-course potluck. Of trusting my friends to bring what they said they would bring.

With regard to everything else I wanted to do this year, a few things from my Mondo Beyondo list have happened.

1. I started bike commuting, which seemed impossible and stressful a few months ago and is now the delight of my week. I don’t ride every day, but I am much happier when I do. Biking means I have two hours when I’m totally unplugged and left with my own company. I ride through the city and see landmarks from eight years in Chicago and replay stories in my head. Sometimes I end up crying, sometimes I end up laughing. I think through work projects and my to do list.

2. I closed my own company and joined a software start-up. This felt like a huge failure and some friends have told me that they thought I was a lazy business owner. In the end, I’m comfor

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