This week marks the seventh anniversary of the vicious murder of one of the most beloved teachers at Aish, Rabbi Reuven Biermacher HY”D.
As we have each year on the yahrzeit, we gathered in the Beis Medrash for inspirational talks given by Aish Yeshiva Director, Rabbi Dovid Rosman and Rabbi Zvi Klor, head of Aish’s Spanish program, in memory of Rabbi Biermacher. We then marched to the spot just outside of the Jaffa Gate where he was murdered. The Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yitzchak Berkovits, shared a meaningful message and we sang uplifting songs, prayed and remembered. As Jews we know that we must never forget those who were ripped from our arms. We mourn for his wife and seven children who were robbed of the love of their dear husband and father. In a year that has seen record levels of antisemitism, we must make sure to remember that we must always stand strong.
It was uplifting and inspiring that this week saw an influx of hundreds of students from Latin America who came to study at Aish. Much thanks to all of the staff of our Spanish division and our distinguished alumnus, Rabbi Meir Rosenberg who facilitated their travel to Jerusalem through his role as the head of Olami in Latin America. I was honored to join them for a musical kumzitz and to address the students.
At the start of every quarter we have a Town Hall meeting with all of our Jerusalem staff. During the meeting we talk about our quarterly goals and discuss the direction of Aish. It is always a powerful gathering as we celebrate our achievements together. One of the most important parts of these meetings is when we review our staff core values. These five items make it clear to all of us at Aish what we expect from ourselves in order to be considered successful. We worked with Rav Berkovits to articulate these values and we try to live by them every day.
Our core values are:
1) Be Genuine and Growth-Oriented
One of the greatest compliments I get about educators at Aish is that we are real. We don’t play any games. We are straightforward and honest about our dedication to the Almighty and the Jewish people!
2) Take Responsibility
Our founder, Rav Noach Weinberg, zt’l was clear that as Jews we must take responsibility for each other and the world at large. As a staff, we must never get into a blame game. We must always get the job done and move forward!
3) Work with Others and Look for the Win/Win
At Aish we are not in competition with other institutions. We root for the success of all those trying to bring Jewish values to the world. If we can partner to achieve that goal all the better!
4) Strive to be Innovative
We must constantly be searching to create new methodologies to reach Jews. The Torah never changes but the delivery mechanisms do. That’s why we reached 10 million video views online just last month!
5) Bring the WOW Factor to Every Customer Experience
We need everyone with whom we interact to walk away saying “Wow!” No matter what we do we must pump energy into every interaction that we have with all of you!
What was amazing about this particular Town Hall was that we recognized individual staff who have embodied these values over the past quarter. I would like to thank Rabbi Yoni Miller, Lisa Barkan, Gabi Katz, Chani Shternlicht, Gadi Segal, David Muller, and Rabbi Saj Freidberg for exemplifying these core institutional values in their everyday work.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this meeting was the introduction of our new COO, Hillel Scheinfeld. Due to the incredible growth of the organization and my ever increasing travel schedule, we decided that we needed an empowered COO to manage all of our global operations from Jerusalem. We were blessed to be able to recruit Hillel from the tech business world to join Aish and help us increase productivity, scalability and strategic initiatives to actualize AishVision2030. Welcome Hillel!
It is not miraculous that Aish has achieved international recognition as being one of the most inspirational and successful Jewish organizations in existence. It is because of the blood, sweat and tears that our staff pour into everything that we do. The best way that we can remember our colleague Rabbi Biermacher is by going out everyday and strengthening the Jewish Nation.