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Humility and the Path to the Jewish Future

One of the most important roles that Aish has always held sacred is that of the “Partner.” Rabbi Noach Weinberg, zt’l, our founder and visionary, always referred to those involved in Aish as his partners. I once had the opportunity to sit with one of the great Torah sages of our generation, Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, shlita, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Slobodka Yeshiva. We were discussing Aish and I mentioned that a certain fellow felt that he was Rav Noach’s true partner. Rav Moshe Hillel said with a chuckle that everyone considered themselves Rav Noach’s partner because he saw everyone as a partner in realizing his vision for AISH and the Jewish people.

I have adopted that beautiful strategy and everyone I meet I consider to be a partner in Aish’s work. This past week I had the honor of meeting with three true partners. As Aish is an Israeli nonprofit entity “Amuta”, we have an executive board or “Vaad”. According to Israeli law, the Amuta votes for a “Vaad”. Our Vaad has three members: Jake Aronov, Louis Mayberg, and Stuart Hytman. These three individuals are much more than partners. They all serve as my own personal mentors and role models. We meet monthly and I have been able to enlist them to help solve the most complex problems regarding Aish. I truly value their experience and wisdom as we propel Aish to greatness.


The 'Va'ad' of Aish meeting in New York.


This past week we met in person to talk about how to bring more partners into our circle in an official way. It was a day filled with much discussion on the makeup of who might fit the criteria. We were joined by Aish COO Hillel Scheinfeld and Aish Executive Director Rabbi Ben Gonsher. Guided by a facilitator, we spoke about the important attributes of someone involved with Aish. Some of the attributes that we spoke about were fairly obvious. The person needs to be hard-working, an intelligent problem solver, and someone who is philanthropically oriented. 


There was one characteristic that kept coming up that was so important. Humility. Over and over again, we spoke of the need for someone who put the Jewish people above themselves. For someone whose involvement was not about themselves, but about the needs of the organization. A person who understood that this life is about the service of the Almighty. 


While this outcome was not unsurprising, I believe it summed up why Aish has been so successful over the past 50 years. Rav Noach set the bar high as he understood that we are all partners with each other and the Almighty. President Harry Truman, who made the fateful decision to recognize the State of Israel when it was established, once said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” The Jewish people have lasted for so long because we have always been about each other and not ourselves. As the Sifra in Behukotai perek 7,5, and later the Talmud in Sanhedrin 27:2  teaches us, “Kol Yisroel Araivim Zeh l’zeh”. All Jews are responsible for one another. 


I was so proud to sit in a room filled with veteran Aish leaders who kept reiterating that the value of humility must be the guiding star for how we identify the future leaders of Aish. My friends, together we will build a bright future for the Jewish people. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “An arch consists of two weaknesses, which, leaning on each other, become a strength.” 


The world events of the past few months have demonstrated the dangers of any Jew being left alone. We must strive towards Jewish unity every day. That is why Aish is working hard to reach our brothers and sisters around the world through social media. To make sure every Jew feels our warm embrace no matter how far they may currently be from our people. AISHVision 2030 has always been about the ultimate connectivity of us all. The path towards that goal is paved by true humility. The Jews must continue to lean on each other and together we will become a strong Jewish Nation.