Project Zug Elul Cycle

Join us for our second 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. This year, many of us are unsure of what our world will look like in the new year or where we will spend these powerful days. Now, more than ever, we are seeking connections with each other and with our tradition to give us a sense of stability.

During this year's Elul cycle everyone will learn the same course at the same time. We will kick off with a live virtual lecture with Rabbi Shai Held, and then dive into four different approaches to teshuvah with your havruta, or learning partner, over four weeks. Our learning will conclude with another live virtual lecture the day before Erev Rosh Hashanah. 


What will we learn?


Windows on Teshuvah

Teshuvah, often translated as "repentance," is one of the most startling and central concepts in Jewish life—throughout the year but especially during preparation for the High Holidays. The idea that we can sin, work on ourselves, return to the correct path, and then be forgiven is just as essential as it is revolutionary. If it weren’t for this process, we could be stuck in our ways, never changing, never forgiven, always the sinner.

But what does teshuvah actually entail? What are its goals? What is "acceptable" versus "ideal" teshuvah? How can you demonstrate that you have changed? How much does teshuvah rely on God's grace to be effective? And are there any metaphors that can help us focus on this important internal (and external) work?

This course explores four different perspectives on teshuvah, ranging from classical sources to modern Jewish thought. While it may not provide real answers to these unanswerable questions, the discussions help frame and conceptualise the core issues. Each session is a window into this fundamental question: what does it take for a person to change?

Faculty: Rabbi Shai Held

Download a sample sourcesheet!


Watch the trailer!


Schedule of Learning


Registration Closes: Friday, July 30, 2021 at 5:00PM EDT

Receive Havruta and Course Information: Sunday, August 8, 2021

Live Virtual Kickoff Lecture: Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 7:30PM EDT (erev Rosh Chodesh Elul)

Weekly Learning with Havruta: August 8, 2021 - September 5, 2021

Live Virtual Concluding Lecture: Sunday, September 5, 2021 at 7:30PM 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 Shai Held?

The Elul Cycle includes two live virtual lectures (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 ( 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 - 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 besides Windows on Teshuvah? 

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


I have another question that wasn’t answered here.

No problem! Email us at and someone will get back to you shortly. 


Ready to sign up? Click here to register for the Elul Cycle today!

Which cycle would you like to register to?