In the back of my mind, I think I knew Elul happened every year, but the name itself disappeared in the flurry of preparation for the High Holidays. It turns out, that’s what makes Elul so special! Elul is the 12th month in the Jewish calendar, the final one before the new year begins on Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally during Elul, we use the time to look inward to reflect on the past year, while also looking forward to prepare for the year ahead. 

As an engineer, I’m always noticing the connections between Jewish themes and STEM concepts, and Elul is no exception. By looking at systems on a micro-level, whether it be a prototype of a robot, or my daily habits and routine, we can learn and begin to extrapolate our findings on a much higher level. We can see how a small adjustment might allow our robot to move, and how a slight change to our daily routine can have a positive effect in the rest of our lives. And so, #ExploreElul was born!

Similarly to BlogElul, we will spend this month exploring different themes that will allow us to reflect on the past year and to prepare for the coming year. Each week of #ExploreElul will kick off with an experiment related to the week’s theme, and be followed with daily prompts and perspectives about the experiment and theme. With these hands-on activities and big-picture thought experiments, we can dive into the relationship between Judaism and STEM, seeing how these two big ideas go hand-in-hand. 

Elul begins Friday, Aug. 21, and lasts for 29 days, ending on Erev Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 18. Each day’s prompt or topic will feature graphics by my friend and colleague Brett Lubarsky, and throughout the month, we will hear from Jewish and STEM experts as they contemplate how to ready themselves for a year that is sure to be like none other. 

Sound cool? Want to follow along or get in on the action? Be sure to follow JEdSTEM on Instagram, test out the experiments at home, tag us and #ExploreElul to show us how you are taking this opportunity to dive deeper into Judaism and STEM as you get ready for 5781.

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