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For many of us, the High Holy Day season begins with Rosh Hashanah and the start of the new month of Tishrei. Jewish tradition, however, teaches that the preceding month of Elul is a time of soul-searching and reflection to prepare for the Days of Awe. It is during this time that we observe Selichot and begin our repentance. In Hebrew, “selichot” translates to “forgiveness,” and as we pray together, we reflect on the past year and the changes we wish to make in the upcoming one.
In addition to the Selichot service, a meaningful ritual of changing the Torah covers to those specifically designed for the High Holy Days often precedes the service. The special covers are usually white, representing purity and the wish that through repentance, our sins will be made white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
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