Message from the
Desk of Rabbi Steven Burg
Dear Aish Family,
My week really started last week – at our Aish Board meeting. Our board members came together at our corporate offices in New Jersey to spend the day discussing AISHVision 2030 and the intricacies of how we were going to get 3 million Jews to study Jewish wisdom in the next 10 years. It was exciting because two years ago Aish Jerusalem started a merger with Aish NY. As a result of those actions, AISH New York co-chairs Henry Siegel and Steven Bram joined our Aish Global board and this was their first in-person meeting with the other board members. The dynamic between all attendees was terrific.
There were many things that attracted me to Aish six years ago. Chief among them was the character and makeup of the Aish lay leaders. Every lay leader I met impressed me with his/her fierce devotion to the mission of Aish and their unshakable integrity. This was a testament to our founder Rav Noach Weinberg, of blessed memory, and his ability to attract partners and empower them to work for the Jewish people. As a professional who has been working in the Jewish communal space for over thirty years, I was amazed by the board’s willingness to trust my team’s ability to propel Aish forward. Simply put, they are the best!
I also consider our lay leaders to be my close friends. During one of the breaks, Louis and Manette Mayberg graciously invited Rachel and me to join them in DC for the coming Shabbos. And later in the day, I mentioned to Henry that Rachel and I would be in East Hampton the following week visiting David and Lauren Moss, our close friends from Aish. Henry insisted we join him and his wife, Talia, for dinner with some of his family and friends. I immediately accepted and told him I was looking forward to spending time with his family.
This past Monday night, Rachel and I drove to the Siegel’s and were welcomed with warm hearts. We spent time getting to know everyone. As we were heading into dinner, Henry asked me if I would share some inspiring words of Jewish wisdom. As a Rabbi, I always come armed with some passionate words of Torah to deliver, so we were set. I told over a spiritual message that I had once delivered on German television (a story for another time…) about the importance of mentoring Jewish leaders. I thought this was most appropriate given there were so many young Jews at the table.
Then Henry suggested that we go around the table and give everyone a chance to speak. My wife suggested an idea that she first introduced to our family dinner table, that everyone relate a kindness that was bestowed on them that day. We went around the table and the answers were beautiful. I was especially taken by what Henry shared about how important Aish has become to him. I then realized how much kindness gets bestowed on me every day. It’s the kindness from all of you. Your dedication to the dream that is Aish. From our board members to our millions of Aish.com members. You are Aish, and I am thankful and blessed to be your CEO.
As great as the evening was, there was one part that made me sad. The Siegel home that night was a glowing example of the beauty of Jewish wisdom and how it can enhance Jewish families. There were so many Jews that evening in East Hampton who were not sharing Jewish wisdom with each other. We need to think about how to reach out to all of our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Hamptons, and around the world, to show them how the Almighty’s gift of Jewish wisdom can enhance their lives. Let’s continue our mission to bring Jewish wisdom to every Jew.
Rabbi Steve Burg