Close this search box.

Keeping the Flame Alive

Message from the 

Desk of Rabbi Steven Burg

Dear Aish Family,

The week leading up to the day of Tisha B’Av is always the saddest time in the Jewish calendar. It marks the commemorative date that both Jewish Temples were destroyed two thousand years ago. Many Jews refrain from listening to live music and don’t shave as symbols of this mourning. As a family, we mourn the loss of Deborah Berezdivin who perished in the collapse at Surfside. Thankfully, they were able to give her a proper burial, and the Berezdivin, Rubinstein and Waserstein families have spent the past week sitting shiva for her. The entire Aish family and all of the Jewish nation’s collective heart is with them.

Many of us witnessed the moving video of the IDF team leaving Surfside after weeks of assisting the local crews in the search for survivors. I summed it up with the following post on social media:

“The amazing thing about being a Jew is that no matter how many times our enemies try to malign and destroy us we still always show up and do the right thing. This is the Israeli team leaving Surfside. מי כעמך ישראל”

I have been totally overwhelmed by the reaction and views that video and those words received on social media. It seems that what I said summed up the feelings of so many of you around the world. We find ourselves in a bizarre time. Jews are being attacked all around the world for the simple crime of being Jewish. Israel is being attacked around the world for defending her citizens (US) from being killed.

Yet, every day, we Jews leave our homes and go out into the world to do the right thing. It could be healing the sick or uplifting the poor. Any challenge that faces humanity, the Jews are at the core trying to solve the problem. No matter what is said to us or done to us, Jews are amazing because we continue to “show up.” We are a “Light unto the Nations” no matter how many buckets of water the world tries to dump on us.

The reason we are so resilient is because the Almighty ignited the flame in our hearts. That is the flame that each Jew possesses and uses to illuminate the world. In essence our job at Aish is to hold up a mirror to every Jew and reflect back the beautiful flame that resides in their heart. Aish has done this for 45 years and will continue for many years to come.

It was an honor to host the Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau to discuss just that with our students and staff this past week. Rabbi Lau acknowledged what a crucial and pivotal role Aish plays around the world. He encouraged us to continue with AISHVision 2030 to bring 3 million unconnected Jews to Jewish wisdom over the next ten years.

As a part of the campaign to make Aish Vision 2030 possible, Aish is hosting a very meaningful and powerful program of speakers broadcast live from the Kotel on Tisha B’Av, Sunday, July 18th at 3pm EDT. This event is part of our #BuildingJewishUnity Through the Power of Torah Wisdom summer causematch campaign in which you can partner with Aish’s critical work to continue to spread the flame of inspiration far and wide.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Steve Burg