This d’var Torah was given by Brooke Weiss at the NFTY-SW Fall Kallah
Brooke is an active member of Temple Chai Temple Youth, and serves as co-president
Shabbat Shalom, my name is Brooke Weiss. I am a senior from TCTY and this is my third fall kallah. This week’s Torah portion is B’reishit. It is the beginning of the Torah cycle and discusses the creation of the world. God creates the world in seven days, concluding with the first Shabbat. The first Shabbat was a very important beginning and although this is NOT the first Shabbat this weekend, it IS the first NFTY Shabbat for a lot of you. We will always have new beginnings throughout our lives that we can learn and grow from. For example, each year of high school is a fresh start. Freshmen come from small middle schools and must adjust to the overwhelming high school load. Sophomores begin to find their friend groups and learn how to drive. Juniors focus on their studies and start thinking of college. And seniors, although they may feel like they’re done, have the longest road of adulthood ahead of them. All of these experiences are new beginnings that shape us into unique individuals in the image of God – B’tzelem Elohim.
All of us were “created in the image of God”, all different but special in our own ways. I am special because I am a triplet. Ever is special because she can play the mandolin. Jake is special because he is from South Carolina but lives in New York. Emma is special because it is her birthday today! Jake is special because he can grow a full man-beard. And Eli is special because he lives in Prescott. We have all been shaped into strong individuals because of all our different life experiences. We are so extremely lucky to have a place like NFTY to be who we truly are, just as God created us. There is no reason to hold back your personality whether it’s in fear of judgement or fear of being embarrassed. Throughout this weekend, I challenge all of you to step outside your comfort zone into a new beginning and discover exciting things about yourself. With this new NFTY year, I wish for you plenty of new beginnings.