This Shabbat we recite the blessing for the new month of Elul, the month that precedes the High Holidays. We are about to enter into a period of preparation, a time of personal reflection on the past year and new resolve to move toward change in the coming one. But this is also a period of engagement with each other. The ancient rabbis taught that the letters of the name of the month, אלול, are a Hebrew acronym for "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" (Song of Songs 6:3). The rabbis saw this as a time of love and re-connection between the people and God, but the same clearly applies to relationships between human beings. During the year, we can become disconnected from each other, whether in our most intimate relationships or in our casual acquaintances. We move past each other rather than engaging, settle for superficial exchanges rather than deep talks, and lose the richness that our interactions with each other could bring to our lives. This coming month of Elul is the time to rebuild our relationships in our families, among our friends, and in our community. Please take this time to re-connect, to draw each other close, just as our community gathers together to celebrate the High Holidays together. Renewing our relationships, the most precious parts of our lives, is what can really make this coming year different and more enriching for us all.