Journey into the High Holidays with Amichai Lau-Lavie, founder of Storahtelling and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. It’s a daily dose of inspiration to get you focused and ready for the new year, featuring daily intentions, simple tasks, and tools for living better.


A baby girl was born today to a grateful couple, dear friends of mine who lost their first child, and who now embrace the tender, fragile miracle of a healthy new life.

David Grossman wrote an essay about prayer and faith from the perspective of a secular Israeli man seeking a private language with which to express deeper feelings, a language not rooted in the religious vocabulary that he found both alien and alienating. He writes of the dawn on which his first son was born; how he drove home from the hospital, stopped the car by the side of the road overlooking the hills, and got out to watch the sunrise with tears of joy in his eyes. ‘Say thank you,’ a voice inside him instructed. ‘But to whom?’ wondered Grossman, not a man of prayer. Gratitude, yes, but does it have to have an addressee? Or is the feeling and expression of gratitude itself enough?

Gratitude is a tool suggested by every thinker, poet, and therapist towards achieving greater happiness and less stress.

Start each day by listing three things that you’re grateful for, suggest the followers of Positive Psychology, including the wise monk David Steindl-Rast. Jewish liturgy begins each day with a prayer of thanks, the first thing we say when we get out of bed. I still say it, usually when I’m dressed and pressed and outside the front door ready for another day. Here is it, Texas-style.

Are we grateful enough? Do we express it often enough? To ourselves, to others, to the mystery beyond? I think that I agree with Grossman—whether one believes in God by any other name or not, gratitude is grounded in humility, helping us get closer to achieving mindfulness and an awareness of blessings and challenges.

Prepent 18: Gratitude list: What am I grateful for today, right now? What three gifts have I received this past year? Who and how do I show my thanks?

(And thank you for following along! Our Prepent journey is almost halfway through.)

Prepent Day 17: Trust Your Feelings – But Can You Trust Yourself?
Prepent Day 19: Shame on You! And that’s a good thing.


Rabbi Amichai & Lab/Shul’s annual Elul journey into the new Jewish year with 40 daily communally co-created inspirations to help us begin the year with more focus and presence.

View all >