Dear Aish Family,
When we sat two years ago to discuss the long-term vision for Aish, there were a few things that were clear. The first was that we needed to think big. Aish was created as a movement where taking responsibility for the Jewish people was to be taken seriously. So many Jews were alienated from their heritage that we needed to set a goal that was robust and large. After much discussion our target was set to offer Jewish wisdom to 3 million Jews, introducing them to a beautiful relationship with the Almighty.
Led by Aish Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, our team set our ten-year goal and immediately knew that we would have to develop a strategy to accomplish our mission. We soon understood that what made our generation different than all others was the ability to reach every citizen of the world through the internet. Aish.com had been the leader in the industry for twenty years. It was the trusted friend of any person seeking Jewish knowledge. We had the largest storehouse of Judaic information on the planet. Led by Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith and Rabbi Jack Kalla, Aish.com had become the defacto digital yeshiva open to all. How could we market the content in a real way to those who don’t yet know how amazing it is?
We understood that to increase our audience we would have to launch a serious effort within the social media world. As we searched for the personality to drive the vision and this new expansion, Rabbi Kalla said there was one name that stood out among all the rest; Jamie Geller.
We met with Jamie Geller and immediately understood that she had the skill and passion to make AishVision 2030 a reality. In the past she has worked for major media corporations including CNN and HBO. She understands the intricacies of how to reach the masses. She had developed a brand that had over a billion video views and 5 million loyal followers. In addition, her personal journey, assisted by Aish NY, led her to a more meaningful spiritual Jewish life. Jamie Geller was the general that we need to combat Jewish apathy.
We hired Jamie Geller as the Chief Media and Marketing Officer of Aish. Aside from this great responsibility, she became the highest ranking woman historically in Aish, smashing the proverbial glass ceiling. This was crucial as so many of our audience are women. It was clear that she would work with us to make us shine. This past week I had the opportunity to witness two events that have made this investment pay off enormously.
When Jamie Geller came on board, she made clear that Aish.com would continue to be the centerpiece of our educational model. She set out to work with the aish.com team to elevate the user experience. This past week aish.com revealed its new upgraded look. While speaking with thousands of you over the past two years, we zeroed in on what would make the site more accessible. The ability to share and comment on articles is easier. Perhaps most importantly, the mobile format is more fluid and engaging. In short, we have taken a car with the greatest engine in the world and built a body to match, creating the Tesla of the Jewish community. A special thank you to Rabbi Shraga Botwinick and his team who led this effort.
So all of you can now experience the class and style of Jamie Geller that two years ago we knew would come to fruition. What I also experienced this week was Jamie Geller’s strength in working directly with our donors. Our indefatigable Executive Director, Rabbi Ben Gonsher came to the US accompanied by Jamie Geller to meet with many of our partners across the country. I accompanied them to some of these meetings in Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey. Every room we walked into the person felt as though they felt close to Jamie Geller. Her online personality matches who she is in real life. She is warm, engaging, personable and smart. Our donors are special people who understand that we chose a leader who not only could deliver in a big way but cared for every Jew deeply in her soul.
Every meeting was a passionate discussion about what we have achieved over the last two years and where we were going. I felt humbled and honored to be in each and every room with these leaders. Aish donors tend to be kind, passionate and smart as can be. It was amazing being a fly on the wall as we were delving into the future of the tech industry and how to use it to engage world Jewry.
There was one conversation that stood out. I had the honor of meeting twice with the Stephen Rosenberg, Founder and Executive Chairman of Greystone in Manhattan with over 8000 employees. I knew for this third conversation I would need to elevate the discussion, so I asked Aish COO, Rabbi Elliot Mathias and Jamie to join me and Rabbi Yisrael Katz to continue to discuss our plans. Mr. Rosenberg is a warm, genuine, incredible leader who clearly understands what “big impact” truly means. Soon after we entered, he said that 3 million was too small. Jews must be a light unto the nations and we need to target 2 billion people to show them the love of the Almighty. While I and others were surprised, Jamie launched into a plan that would make it possible, utilizing streaming services to influence this enormous number! I was in awe listening to the plans that this titan of industry and Jamie were laying out. It turns out that there was a whole new level to thinking big!
This is the essence of Aish. This is the legacy that those who came before have left us. Jews are in this world to do big things. I could have written this week about the antisemitic challenges happening in America and around the world. I chose to focus on our future instead of those that try to stop us. Our future as a Nation is to do good in the world. Our future is to uplift those around us. Our future is to inspire humanity to do good and be good. Our future is one filled with a God who loves us and wants the best for us. This is what AishVision 2030 is all about. Join Jamie and Aish as we work to make this world a better place.