This past week we had a number of leadership meetings. These are always important because it gives us a chance to share with our partners what we have accomplished. Being challenged is how we get better. I told one of our supporters recently that I believe that Aish’s “Super Power” is the fact that we listen carefully to feedback. We know that the only way to be truly successful is to keep improving, and improvement only comes with guidance and the humility to listen to others.
There was an amazing moment in one of these meetings when Rabbi Elliott Mathias, who has overseen all of our massive digital growth, presented our numbers. He told the group that our goal for the year was 50 million video views, and that after nine months we had amassed over 115 million video views. I noticed that there were some numbers not reflected in his presentation so I asked him about it. Rabbi Mathias said that in the last nine months we had an additional 40 million video views but that the content of those additional video views revolves around kosher food and other more social topics. Therefore he didn’t feel it was intellectually honest to include those numbers, as the 115 million video views strictly contained Jewish wisdom content.
I was totally amazed. Here was one of the most talented rabbis in the world under-reporting because he understands that at Aish, integrity and humility are part of our core principles. No one in the social media world under-reports – ever! Just the opposite. Exaggeration is the norm. Truly, Aish has had 155 million video views in the past nine months. Considering that only three years ago we had no social media presence, that is quite an achievement. When we started down this road and talked about AISHVision 2030 with a goal to have three million Jews studying Jewish wisdom, many thought we were over shooting. I believe everyone is paying attention now as we are closing in on our goal quicker than we ever thought possible.
Another of the spectacular outcomes from AISHVision 2030 has been so many of you organizing your own study groups. Zoom has made it possible for Jews from so many places to come together to study in cyberspace. Literally, community has been redefined as geographical boundaries become less relevant. I received a call this week from the matriarch of one of my favorite families in the world, Amy Lefcoe from Norfolk, Virginia.
She has been a powerhouse teacher and advocate for women’s education for many years. A few months ago Amy spoke to our students at the new Aish Women’s Seminary. After her class, one of the students came up to thank her and mentioned that her mother was trying to grow in her Judaism but did not live near a Jewish community in Michigan. Amy offered to reach out to her mother.
Amy told me that the student’s mother had become a part of her zoom learning group and was making great strides. I was so moved by this story for its simplicity and depth. Each and every one of us has the power to give to others. It would have been so easy for Amy to have said she was too busy with the women in her local community. Yet, she heard that another Jew was thirsty for the Almighty’s wisdom and she swung into action.
My friends, AISHVision 2030 is not a dream. Our Jewish brothers and sisters are thirsty for spirituality. Each and every one of us has the ability to bring Jews together. Aish is doing our job to find Jews all around the world. Your job is to find the Jews with whom we all interact every day. You will be amazed how impactful and uplifting it can be. Together we are making AISHVision 2030 a reality.