This week has been an eventful one in Jerusalem. President Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia has started many conversations regarding peace between those two countries. I have found myself having many conversations regarding my time in Saudi Arabia with reporters and Israelis. Especially since those with Israeli passports are not yet allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia.
One of the most common questions I have received is regarding my wearing of my kippa (skullcap) in Riyadh. Somehow wearing the traditional Jewish head covering is associated with making ourselves a target. I have been fairly honest in saying that I had no issue wearing my kippa all over Saudi Arabia. If anything, it caused people to ask me thoughtful questions. I hope that President Biden’s visit will move us closer to peace between the Israelis and the Saudis. I wrote an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post regarding my hopes for peace.
I also spent the past week meeting with the Aish Lay Steering Committee and executive professional team. So many thoughtful conversations took place revolving around Aish’s exponential growth. By next year we expect to have tripled in size and scope in the past seven years. There were so many highlights that it is hard to share them all in this email. From the start of virtual branches in the metaverse to the massive surge in social media content, we explored every nook and cranny. At Aish we never ever rest on our laurels. We are always looking to improve and grow. Perhaps one of the most impactful exercises was breaking into teams to discuss how we could achieve AISHVision 2030 in six months. Talk about pressure!
It was amazing how there was such consensus that the next step was a massive emphasis on marketing. Aish has so much original content that the challenge is to be able to push it to all four corners of the earth. As we were meeting, Rabbi Elliot Mathias, who oversees all of our many programs around the world, turned to me and told me that he had a story to share with the group that had just happened that day.
A young woman had stumbled upon our Instagram account. She said she always felt spiritual but had no formal Jewish education. She saw that the organization that was putting out the Instagram content was Aish, so she googled us. She was quickly connected to Aish.com where she started to find more enthralling articles. Shortly, one of our Aish live chat Rabbis popped up on her screen and asked if she had any questions. She had more than a few and this was the first Rabbi she ever interacted with. Shortly it became clear that she was not a part of any Jewish community and the Rabbi connected her to a Jewish community near her home.
We were all overjoyed because this anecdote proved our theory correct. We can find Jews who are searching online and connect them in person to a local Jewish community. In short AISHVision 2030 is working. We will continue to work hard on putting fresh new content-filled posts online. We are averaging 5-7 original content pieces per day! In return I need all of you to get your communities ready so we can connect our searching brothers and sisters to all of you. Together we can ensure that the entire Jewish nation has the opportunity to connect to their heritage.