Our guest this week is Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz of the Beth El congregation in Norfolk, Virginia. Before arriving in Virginia, Rabbi Arnowitz served as Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, New Jersey from 2003 to 2011. He received his Bachelor of Science degree Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Child Development and Child Care. After college, Rabbi Arnowitz studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem before beginning his rabbinic studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained in 2003. Rabbi Arnowitz is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly and he completed the STAR PEER Rabbinic Leadership program. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater and The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public policy.
This week's Torah Portion- Parashat Shelach (Numbers 13:1- 15:41)- features the famous story of the twelve spies sent to examine the land of Canaan. It tells about how the people of Israel cry and grumble against Moses and Aaron, asking to go back to Egypt, and about God’s declaration that they will spend 40 years in the wilderness. The parasha ends with a set of commandments concerning offerings to God and with a curious story about a man who is stoned for picking up sticks on Shabbat. Our discussion focuses on the character of Joshua as a model for leadership development and as an example of our ability to change and improve ourselves.
If you would like to learn some more about parashat Shelach, take a look at our talk with Rabbi Michael Melchior.