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Addressing Young Heroes and Future Leaders

I hope everyone had a meaningful Shavuot filled with laughter and inspiration. I was honored last Shabbat to be the Scholar-in-Residence for the Aish Thornhill Community Shul. Many thanks to my longtime friend, Rabbi Avram Rothman for hosting me in his home and in his synagogue.

As Toronto is one of the oldest and most successful branches of Aish, it was energizing to spend time with so many long-time partners. Rabbi Elliott Diamond has recently been appointed CEO of Aish Toronto and it was an honor to spend time with him and understand the vision for the Toronto community going forward.


A meetup of young professionals at a recent Aish Toronto event.


The work that is being done in Toronto with millennials in particular is truly inspirational. I spent time at the home of Drs. Michael and Tara Bloom who had more than 70 young Jews as guests for Shabbat lunch! As university campuses have become hotbeds of antisemitism, Aish has given so many young Jews a way to connect with each other in safe environments. It was an honor to address these young heroes and future leaders.


Young Millennials attending an Aish event in Toronto.


Last week, I had the honor of attending a very special concert right outside the Old City of Jerusalem. My good friend, Yaakov Gade, invited me to attend the event to remember the victims of October 7th. Many of the attendees were refugees from the north and south of Israel who have been unable to go home for so long. The concert uplifted the souls of all who attended.


In the middle of the concert they called up Yaakov to receive an award from the Knesset in gratitude of the countless hours he has spent in Israel working with Magen David Adom. In addition to being the CEO of Cross River Bank, Yaakov is an indefatigable volunteer for MDA and United Hatzalah. It was a beautiful honor and a privilege for me to be there.


Yaakov Gade being honored for his service at the concert.


October 7th has redefined us as a people. Our Aish Rabbis on campus have had to retool and deal with issues of anti-Jewish hate that we never could have imagined. At the concert, the Israelis in attendance were strengthened by knowing that American Jews are standing shoulder to shoulder with them. The Jewish people have been pushed into a global situation where unity is a must for the survival of our people. We must stand together as never before. United we stand or divided we will fall.