Dear Aish Family,
This was a week of Ambassadors. I started out on Monday traveling to Tel Aviv to meet with former UN Ambassador Danny Dannon. Danny had done an exemplary job representing Israel in one of the hardest and most anti-Israel venues in the world. We were privileged to work hand in hand with him throughout. We were able to reconnect and spend time discussing current issues facing world Jewry. I filled him in on AishVision2030 and explained our approach to social media. He readily agreed that to reach young Jews we need to master the ability to create concise targeted content.
Two days later we welcomed the new US Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, to Aish. We have been blessed to do some wonderful work with the US Embassy over the past few years and we looked forward to this inaugural visit. Aish Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits and I had a chance to acquaint Ambassador Nides with the history of Aish and our plans for the future. We reiterated that it was our honor to host him, and that the Dan Family Aish World Center is here to host the embassy whenever needed.
Just a personal comment about the Ambassador. I have been blessed to meet many VIP’s over the years. I truly found him to be one of the nicest, most engaging officials I have ever hosted. We spoke about friends in common, like Aish friend and donor Sander Gerber, and the Ambassador happily seemed to feel at home.
At the end of the meeting the Ambassador mentioned that he wanted to say a prayer at the Western Wall for a sick friend. Rabbi Etiel Goldwicht told him if that was the case, we should stop in the Korda Family Hall of Notes to see our short film on prayer. The film was developed by the Diener family to be a trigger to help Jews connect to the Western Wall. The Ambassador was very moved by the film and then proceeded to go to say a prayer at the Wall. It was a wonderful first visit and we look forward to continuing working with the US Embassy.
One of my last meetings before I flew to the US was probably one of the most memorable. I had the privilege of meeting with Momentum Founding Director Lori Palatnik and CEO Ben Pery. Momentum is one of the premier missions for Jewish men and women to Israel. It is a dynamic experience which helps to bond so many Jews with the land of Israel and their heritage.
We had a chance to discuss AISHVision2030. I explained that for the 3 million participants Aish is targeting Jews who have no connection to their Judaism. Our ultimate goal is simply to connect Jews to the Almighty through Jewish wisdom. What makes me so proud of this vision is that after they connect, we want them to continue their journey with other Jewish institutions, like Momentum. I would be ecstatic if we were able to identify those eligible to take a Momentum trip and help steer them towards going to Israel.
Said plainly, the only way Aish will be successful is if we fully support and work to connect the Jews we interact with to the greater Jewish community. We must be loud and clear that we are all in this together. We must all work together. Aish will work hard every day to connect Jews to our vibrant community. There is no room for politics when it comes to lovingly embracing our Jewish brothers and sisters. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with all of you as we welcome every Jew with love and support.