Elul & Selichot


Elul is the 6th month in the Hebrew calendar and the last month of the Jewish yearly cycle, occurring in August or September. The month of Elul precedes the month of Tishrei during which communities celebrate the High Holidays including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.


Rosh Chodesh Elul (the beginning of the month of Elul) begins in the evening on Friday, August 26, 2022. Leil Selichot (in the Ashkenazi tradition) begins after nightfall on Saturday, September 17, 2022.


As Elul is the last month in the Jewish yearly cycle before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year), it is viewed as a month of reflection on the previous year and looking forward to the next year. With this focus, Elul is regarded as a month of Teshuva (forgiveness) or returning to a clean state. In the biblical tradition, on Rosh Chodesh Elul, Moses began his ascension to Mount Sinai for the third time, coming down 40 days later on Yom Kippur with the second set of Tablets and G-d’s complete mercy and forgiveness. Because of this, Elul has become the time for Teshuva and introspection.


An acronym of Elul is Ani L’dodi, V’dodi Li (Song of Songs 6:3) with each starting letter of the words in the Hebrew phrase spelling E-L-U-L. Translated as “I am to my beloved, and my beloved is to me,” traditional commentary describes the relationship between Jews and G-d during this month as that between two beloveds, with a yearning to connect. It is said that the King is in the field during Elul; G-d makes Himself approachable to all His people in Elul.


Traditionally there are no Torah obligations or laws regarding Elul and practices for the month of Elul are customs that have been repeated for generations. The shofar is blown each day during weekday morning services from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Erev Rosh Hashanah; an invitation to "wake up" before the High Holidays, this shofar blast is seen by some as an opportunity to awaken our souls and inspire deeper connection with G-d.


During this season, a recitation of Tehillim (Psalms) 27 is added to morning and evening prayers. Some have a custom of continuing this addition until Yom Kippur, when it is said that forgiveness is given, while others have a custom of reciting until the seventh day of Sukkot, when the judgement is sealed. Another custom of Elul is reciting selichot (prayers for Divine forgiveness). The Sephardic tradition is to recite Selichot every day of Elul while the Ashkenazi tradition is to add these prayers starting the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.


Find Out More at MyJewishLearning

Local Service & Learning Opportunities:

Chabad Center for Jewish Life: Orthodox | 2640 W. 96th St., Carmel | 317-251-5573 | chabadindiana.org | rabbi@lubavitchindiana.com

Congregation Beth-El Zedeck: Reconstructionist/Conservative | 600 W. 70th St., Indianapolis | 317-253-3441 | bez613.org | bez613@bez613.org

Congregation Beth Shalom: Reform | 849 W. 96th St., Indianapolis | 317-306-5644 | bethshalomindy.org | info@bethshalomindy.org

Congregation B'nai Torah: Orthodox | 6510 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis | 317-253-5253 | btorahindy.org | office@btorah.org

Congregation Shaarey Tefilla: Conservative | 3085 W. 116th St., Carmel | 317-733-2169 | shaareytefilla.org | office@shaareytefilla.org

Etz Chaim Sephardic Congregation: Sephardic Orthodox | 6939 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis | 317-251-6220 | etzchaimindy.org | president@etzchaimindy.org

Humanistic Judaism: 317-721-2747 | HumanisticJewsIndy@gmail.com

Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation: Reform | 6501 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis | 317-255-6647 | ihcindy.org | info@ihcindy.org

Temple B'nai Israel: Reform | 618 W. Superior St., Kokomo | 765-452-0383 | TempleBnaiIsraelKokomo@gmail.com


 Selichot Services - Sat., August 28 (unless otherwise noted)

Selichot: Prayers of Repentance

Beth-El Zedeck

8:00 pm

 Hadar & Sheldon Low

See Wesbite for Details

9:00 pm

 Selichot Service

See Website for Details

Beth Shalom

 6:30 pm

Friday, Aug. 27

 Shabbat & Selichot Service

See Website for Details

B'nai Torah

Details Coming Soon

Details Coming Soon

Contact Office for Details

Etz Chaim

 7:30 am

 Daily Selichot (Daily M-F followed by Shaharit)

Contact Synagogue for Information


8:00 pm

Shvui Nafshi: A Selichot Experience with Elana Arian

See Website for Details

Shaarey Tefilla

9:05 pm

Selichot Event: Music and Bonfire

See Website for Details

11:00 pm

 Selichot Service

See Website for Details

National Learning Opportunities:

A FREE four-week online program from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality to spark responsiveness, renewal, and transformation this Elul. Includes weekly mindfulness, study, and yoga opportunities.

Judaism Unbound's Elul Unbound resource is your "on-ramp" for the High Holidays. Features include daily email, comics, mini podcasts, and more.

Hadar's Virtual Beit Midrash offers a variety of learning opportunities and classes to get ready for the High Holidays. Topics range from Songful Selichot to Embracing Vulnerability to Understanding the High Holiday mahzor.

Jewels of Elul offers daily short stories, anecdotes, and introspections to help challenge you towards an opportunity for growth and discovery this Elul. You can even receive one-a-day right to your email.

A variety of writings, poetry, and more from Ritualwell to enhance your Elul. New for 2020 - Weekly reflections on renewing our communities and ourselves. Sundays 2-3:15 pm EDT.

ReformJudaism.org offers a variety of book recommendations, musical playlists, and online learning opportunities to help you prepare for the High Holidays.

The Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem offers a variety of online learning resources and opportunities leading up to the High Holidays. Check out the online text resources as well as upcoming synchronous classes.

Coretorah.org offers an Elul packet of "40 Days to a New Year" for Jewish women looking to to ‘pause’, take stock and partake in their own ‘cheshbon hanefesh’, personal spiritual accounting.