As JFS Orlando’s Community Rabbi, Rabbi Arny Siegel visits patients in local hospitals, on-call to area hospices and attends to end-of-life needs for households not affiliated with local synagogues. Throughout this year he has been busy providing spiritual guidance to the community when needed.
“I have been with JFS for over 17 years,” notes Rabbi Arny. “And what is outstanding to me is the very high professionalism of all who are employed. Perhaps when all is said and done, what I really love about working at JFS are the people. I am so proud to be counted as one and am so very fortunate to be associated with ladies and gentlemen who every day engage their very best in helping all people with sustenance for the body as well as the soul.”
He sees first-hand the impact of the JFS Chaplaincy program for the community. “As a Jew,” he explains, “I am very proud that Orlando has such a program, that even larger Jewish communities do not have. This has enabled an outreach to all of our people. I want to reach out to every patient, whether they are practicing or not. I try to meet people where they are.”
Rabbi Arny sees many clients every week, but one recent interaction stands out the most to him. “I visited a hospital patient who knew he probably did not have long to live,” he recounts. “Depressed to describe the least, he wondered if his life had been worth living. I suggested it had. I mentioned that in the microcosm of his life, he had helped fulfill the Jewish ideal of bringing the world to redemption, to its G-d-intended perfection (Shleimut). His life’s works were not in vain, and he could look upon all his endeavors as a sacred bank account from which he could now withdraw the interest earned. I believed I helped that patient. At least he was smiling when I took my leave.”