As an athlete, I’ve always found peace on practicing on the court, field, or mountain. When I combine body, mind, and spirit, I feel that same sense of unity that we describe each time we pray the v’ahavta: loving God with all our heart, soul, and might.
When we push our bodies to move, we gain new appreciation for the gift of life we enjoy each day—and especially for the days that our bodies move less well.
For the past two days, I’ve been skiing with dozens of Reform Jewish middle schoolers, including our own Temple Emanu-El junior youth group, in the Blue Ridge Mountains putting this idea to work. Yes, on the surface we could be any group skiing down a mountain, but the after effect of this trip will ripple out like a pebble dropped in a calm lake. Jewish experiences like this give our middle schoolers greater appreciation for being Jewish. Because they came to NFTY, they will feel pride in their Jewish identity.
As I write this, I am on the top of a mountain in the middle of the clouds. All around are Jewish teens living out Judaism in the best way possible. When we combine head, heart, and hand we begin to fulfill the worry’s of the v’ahavta: “You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.
In the year 2019, may we all be blessed to live out our best Jewish life being mindful of the actions of our bodies, the feelings of our souls, and the thoughts of our hearts.