Elul Learning Cycle

Join us for our fourth annual Elul Cycle of Project Zug!


Overview | What Will We Learn? | Schedule of Learning | FAQ  | Course Sign Up



About the Elul Cycle
Each year, Jews around the world spend the month leading up to the High Holidays preparing themselves for the yamim noraim, the "Days of Awe". We are using this as an opportunity to seek connections with each other and with our tradition to give us a sense of joy and community.

During this year's Elul cycle everyone will learn the same course with their havruta during the four weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah. We will kick off with a live virtual lecture with Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz, and then dive into learning about the High Holidays and music with your havruta, or learning partner, over four weeks. Our learning will conclude with another live virtual lecture. 


What will we learn?


Singing Through Teshuvah: A High Holiday Sonic Journey

Song and prayer are inextricably linked. During the High Holiday season, we have the opportunity to elevate, underscore, and even complicate our most iconic pieces of liturgy through the lens of song.

In this course, we will explore song as core source material,  teasing out the music itself and the ways in which that which the music encompasses - the melodies, sounds, and textures -  crack open the texts of our liturgy and infuse new meaning into our prayer. Participants will be guided through exercises in, not only learning in havruta, but listening in havruta - excavating the layers of interpretation within song itself as rich, complex Torah. Get ready to listen to a diverse array of recordings from across the Jewish soundscape, and to reflect, learn, and sing together in havruta!

Faculty: Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz


Download a sample sourcesheet!

Watch the Trailer


Schedule of Learning


Registration Closes: Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 5:00PM EDT

Receive Havruta and Course Information: Sunday, August 20, 2023

Live Virtual Kickoff Lecture: Tuesday, August 22, 2023 at 7:00PM EDT 

Weekly Learning with Havruta: August 20, 2023 - September 15, 2023

Live Virtual Concluding Lecture: Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 7:00PM EDT




What is a havruta?

A havruta is a learning partner! You and your havruta will study each of the Project Zug handouts together at a time that works best for the two of you. Take time to read the texts out loud to each other, stop to ask questions along the way, and find ways to personalize the learning together.


How does havruta matching work?

In the registration form, you will let us know whether or not you would like for us to match you with a havruta. You can tell us a little about yourself, and any preferences you have for the person you learn with (ie. learning background, timezone, age). We will read through everything you provide and do our very best to find you a great fit.


What if I already have a havruta?

If you already know who you would like to learn with, just let us know in the registration form and we will make sure to match you to learn together. Both people must register in order to be paired.


How does the structure of the course work?

This course is structured into 4 pdf handouts, which each will take roughly 30-45 minutes to learn. You do not need to do any preparation - you and your havruta will go through the source materials together and respond to the questions (and ask your own questions!). 

There are four short videos that you will watch before each handout to help with framing. You can watch these before you meet with your havruta, or you can choose to watch them together.


What is my interaction with Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz?

The Elul Cycle includes two live virtual lectures with Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz (a kickoff and a concluding lecture) through Zoom. There is no interaction with the educator in between during the weekly havruta learning - this part is entirely self-guided and paced!


When will my havruta and I learn?

We suggest learning once per week, but the timing is entirely up to you! You and your havruta will connect via email or phone and decide on a time that works best for both of you. Project Zug is flexible and allows you to learn on your own timeframe.


How will my havruta and I learn together?

You and your havruta should choose a platform that works best for you. Many people choose to use a preferred video chat platform (such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime), whereas others will learn via phone or in person.


Do I need to know Hebrew?

Absolutely not!


How can I connect with other people throughout the Elul Cycle?

Project Zug has an online forum to share what you are learning and engage with others. Just send a message through the forum, and everyone taking the course will receive it and be able to respond.


Is there a cost?

Yes, we charge on a sliding scale between $36-180, per person for each course. Please choose an amount that feels right to you. If cost is a barrier, please reach out (info@projectzug.org) and we will find a way to make it work! 


What is included in the Elul Cycle?

This special Elul Cycle includes 2 live virtual lectures (on Zoom), 4 handouts to learn with your havruta, and 4 short videos of the course educator to help frame the content and guide you through your learning. 


I want to do this as a part of the group, how can I do that?

We work with many partner organizations to bring havruta learning through Project Zug to their communities. Learn more here and reach out to Haley at schulman@hadar.org - we would love to set up a personalized consultation to discuss how to bring this experience to your community.


What if I want to learn a different course? 

Registration for our fall cycle opens at the end of September. Fill out this form to get an email when registration is live, or check back then to see our general course options. 


I have another question that wasn’t answered here.

No problem! Email us at info@projectzug.org and someone will get back to you shortly. 


Registration for the Elul cycle is now closed.

Which cycle would you like to register to?