Message from the
Desk of Rabbi Steven Burg
Dear Aish Family,
It is always amazing how quickly time flies. This past week marked six years since I started working at Aish.
I have worked on behalf of the Jewish community for over three decades, so I was familiar with the transformational work of Aish. Yet, when I first met with the chair of the search committee, Jerry Lieberman, I had no idea how impacted I would be by this journey.
In every role I have served within the Jewish community, my first course of action was to understand the unique aspects that each institution brought to the world. The Jewish world has limited resources and we need to make sure that they are deployed effectively. If someone is doing something well, then there is no need to duplicate. So immediately upon accepting the CEO role in Aish, I strove to identify what made Aish unique. Two aspects stood out right away. The founder of Aish, Rav Noach Weinberg ZT”L, believed that the most important character trait that a Jew must possess is that of “taking responsibility.” Whenever a Jew showed up at his office with a communal problem they were received with tremendous emotional and financial support. Rav Noach was a serial entrepreneur because he believed that if a Jew spotted a problem and no one else was solving it then they must take it upon themselves to find a solution. Literally, hundreds of organizations can find their roots within the walls of Aish.
In fact, this realization was one of the driving forces that pushed me to accept the role of Aish CEO. When I was interviewing, there was some controversy that had stirred up around the organization. Close friends of mine told me that it would be best to take a pass on the job until things got straightened out. As I was in the midst of so many conversations regarding Rav Noach, I thought to myself, “What would Rav Noach do?” I realized that he would run as quickly as possible to solve the issues. At Aish we are firemen. While everyone else is running away from burning buildings, we run inside as fast as we can to help. That is the definition of responsibility. Needless to say, I took on the role with even more passion.
The second unique aspect I found about Aish was the role of the Almighty. Everyone I spoke to referenced G-d as if He was sitting at the table with us. Aish brought the Discovery Seminar to the world which helped connect millions of Jews throughout the world with the Almighty. On a personal level, I have found my own connection to have been strengthened exponentially.
I have just spent the past week in Jerusalem with our Executive Leadership Team setting our quarterly goals and discussing AishVision 2030. Many thanks to Amy Holtz, our EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) facilitator and our partner Marc Levine who is sponsoring this work. Our leader and mentor, Rosh Yeshiva Rav Yitzchak Berkovits, has set a massive goal for us to get 3 million unconnected Jews to study Jewish wisdom and build a bond with the Almighty. Our job now is to make that happen.
This is classic Aish. We are taking responsibility for our brothers and sisters who have lost touch with their heritage and their Father in Heaven. I know we will be successful because failure is not an option. We also have the best team members possible… YOU!!! I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am to be your CEO. Join us for the journey of a lifetime.
Rabbi Steve Burg