In honour of Rosh Chodesh Elul on Sunday 08 August Herzlia will launch our annual campaign for the 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippur. In the Jewish tradition, the month of Elul is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The energy of the month is one of self-reflection, and a growth mindset. This year the focus is on gratitude – hakarat hatov. An attitude of gratitude.
Every morning on awakening we open our eyes and traditionally say a prayer called Modeh Ani which is commonly translated as “I thank you”; however, the literal translation is actually “thank you, I”! So this means we thank before we think by offering thanks to G-d for giving us life on that day. This is the reminder to practice daily reflection on all the things we are grateful for. Every. Single. Day.
The aim of the campaign is to create a gratitude culture and consciousness in every child and home because when we are grateful it sparks it’s own sense of joy. We are undeniably living through very challenging times – we need to grab onto every little bit of joy possible.
Human nature tends to focus externally on bigger picture items, but we should also nurture self-reflective moments to remember that every breath, every smile and every prayer is also a moment for gratitude. The little things matter just as much like hot chocolate on a rainy day, steaming morning coffee, rainbows after the storm, ingredients in the fridge for dinner and simply just being alive today. We are all blessed in so many ways if we can take a moment to appreciate.
This campaign will be rolled out at Herzlia in all educational phases in ways that will connect, educate and inspire. These include craft activities in the pre-schools and a focus on the Modeh Ani prayer during morning tefillot. In the Primary schools, pupils will each receive a ‘gratitude tree’ worksheet where class teachers will start the day with Modeh Ani and ask everyone what they are grateful for and hold the space for pupils to populate their own special, meaningful gratitude tree. In the high school, mentor groups as well as Jewish Life and Learning (JLL) classes, will focus on similar tasks to start off the day integrating gratitude practice.
Herzlia staff are invited to participate in this campaign, alongside our pupils, and we encourage you, as well as the wider Herzlia community, to get involved so we can role model these values to the younger generation. We can’t guarantee we can change the whole world, but we can be sure we make a change within ourselves.
How can you support and get involved? Join your children to start off the day by saying the Modeh Ani prayer every morning when you wake up… thank before you think! Use our ‘gratitude tree’ worksheet or yourself (we will post on the UHS Facebook page). Or simply follow our campaign, share, comment, post and use the hashtag when you share your gratitude over the upcoming 40 days.
#40daysofgratitude #shareyourgratitude #wethankbeforewethink