Shoafim Tefilla and D’var Torah from Rabbi Jeff Arnowitz

Shoafim chanichim (campers) had a beautiful tefilah yesterday, on the mirpeset (porch) overlooking the agam (lake).   There was some added wisdom, thanks to Tzevet Limud (education staff) member Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz (photo, below left), who is here with his family.  Tami Arnowitz is also serving as on Tzevet Limud and their 4 sons, ages 5, 8, 10, and 12 who are in Gan, Kochavim, Ilanot and Magshimim, complete the entire  mishpacha (family) .  Rabbi Jeff serves at Congregation Beth El, Norfolk, VA.  And for the Ramah Marriages database: Rabbi Jeff and Tami met at Ramah Berkshires when they were both on tzevet (staff), in 1995, and married in 1999.  Tami says that while serving as a Visiting Educator is not exactly vacation, it a wonderful way to recharge and renew.   Rabbi Jeff and Tami are very proud that there will be a total of 11 chanichim (campers) here this summer from their home shul!

Rabbi Jeff spoke in his D’var Torah about this week’s parsha, Matot.  He asked the chanichim (campers) to name some of their favorite books.  He then asked what they all had in common, and then connected those answers to the Torah.  Interestingly, what seems to be missing from the Torah is the climactic ending of the Israelites entering the Promised Land.  Rabbi Jeff taught that we learn from this that the journey is the whole point.  We must focus on the here and now, and not be consumed only with achieving more and more — wealth, goals, grades, degrees, promotions, etc.  This is especially relevant for Shoafim as these chanichim have either recently celebrated or will imminently celebrate becoming B’nai Mitzva.  The Bar or Bat Mitzva celebration is not “the thing” but rather the entire journey, or process, of learning and preparing and practicing and observing — that process is “the thing”.