HIGH HOLIDAY HACKS πŸŽ‰πŸ‘²πŸΌπŸ’‚πŸ½πŸ·πŸŽπŸ―

Shana Tova and happy new year! Guilt? Boredom? Alienation? F-No! Here are 6 hacks to get your year off to a great start, Jewishly speaking.
  1. 1.
    The Kvetch: According to that study we've all read online, the average adult attention span has dropped to 8 seconds. Meanwhile, the average Jewish prayer service remains 3.5 long-ass hours. Whether it's High Holidays or Shabbat, by the second hour, I'm flipping forward in the prayer book to see how many pages are left.
    The hack: Bring reading. No, not some junky magazine, and probably not a novel, either. Rather, something reflective. Bring a book of poetry by Mary Oliver. Bring "This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared" by Alan Lew http://amzn.to/1EURVVj . Bring "Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home" by @jessicafechtor. Take reading breaks, and when you return to the prayers, you will be renewed for the next spiritual schlep.
  2. 2.
    The Kvetch: You're planning to do Rosh Hashana dinner, but you're not sure how, and you're not totally comfortable with surprising your dinner guests with a lot of rituals.
    The hack: Go for the easy 1-2-3. 1) Kiddush. Before digging into the baked brie, fill a glass of wine, do "borei pri hagafen," & down the hatch. 2) Wash. Put a mason jar by the kitchen sink & invite folks to pour water onto each hand. 3) Ha-Motzei. Have everyone touch the challah you learned to make from @gabimoskowitz. Say: "Ha motzei lechem min ha-aretz" & pass out slices to be enjoyed with olive oil, zaatar, and chummus. If anyone asks about the meaing of any of this, say, "It's a tradition."
  3. 3.
    The Kvetch: You find Yom Kippur services to be long and alienating. You're not comfortable with the typical themes of sin and repentence.
    The hack: If you keep a journal, bring the last 2 to services. Slowly read through them. Remark on how much you've grown, reflect on how you found the courage to grow and survive the challenges, review the ways in which others have shown you kindness, & celebrate the ways in which you've given back to to the world. When you think, "Next year, I could do better," flag that for guilt-free follow-up. If you don't yet keep a journal, buy one & dedicate morning coffee to journaling until Yom Kippur!
  4. 4.
    The Kvetch: You want to give more tzeddakah this year, but you often have trouble choosing a cause and deciding how much to give.
    The hack: Install "Give One" on your iPhone. Each day, it curates a list of awesome causes, ranging from empowering women in the Global South, to implanting microchips for orphaned schnauzers. Push the 1$ icon, and away your tzeddakah flies to bring you good karma for the year. Do this every day, and it adds up. Match others' gifts for +1 tzeddakah level-up. http://bit.ly/1EURbQ3
  5. 5.
    The Kvetch: You feel like you don't know enough about Judaism, Torah, or any of this stuff, and you don't know where to start.
    The hack: We live in the 21st century, and some of the best Torah to be learned is a click away. Read @davidkasher 's cheeky but deep http://bit.ly/parshanut . Check out @sarahlefton 's animations at http://bit.ly/G-dcast . Check out everything at MyJewishLearning.org http://bit.ly/1EURElc . And bring up something you read at your first Shabbat dinner of the year, featuring fresh recipes by @gabimoskowitz .
  6. 6.
    The Kvetch: You want to read the historical novel that got this Yid started on his life-long love affair with Jewish Civilization, but you don't know what it is.
    The hack: Order a used copy of "As a Driven Leaf" by Milton Steinberg http://amzn.to/1EURVVj . Then, let's shmooze about it in the temple lobby during High Holiday services!