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Shedding a Light Unto the Nations

One of the highlights of working at Aish is attending the weddings of our students and staff. This past Sunday night our dynamic Aish New York Project Manager, Jessica Eckstein got married to Yudi Schechter. It was great spending time with the Aish New York staff. The wedding was extremely lively and we were all so happy to celebrate with Jessica. 

Aish staff members at a wedding

The following night one of our all-star students, Brandon Fisher, married Chava Zaretsky in Long Island. I have known Brandon for years. He is always upbeat and happy and is constantly working on leadership projects for the Jewish people. It was very special seeing him and so many of our alumni together to celebrate this joyous event. I was also grateful that the wedding took place close to JFK airport, as I had to catch a flight to England right after! 


Wedding of Brandon Fisher, and Chava Zaretsky


Aish UK has historically been one of the strongest Aish branches around the world. Led by the indefatigable Rabbi Naftali Schiff, Aish UK has played an oversized role in the greater Anglo community. I spent a number of hours meeting with Rabbi Schiff who is planning the details of their expansion. They do incredible campus work in a very challenging antisemitic atmosphere. I had the chance to daven and learn in Aish UK’s new synagogue and Beis Medrash. 


Rabbi Burg and Rabbi Naftali Schiff


The highlight of my trip was spending a day with Rabbi Daniel Rowe. Rabbi Rowe has been involved with Aish for many years. He is literally one of the most intelligent and kindest Rabbis I have ever encountered. He is now completing his Doctorate at Oxford and will no doubt go on to have an even greater impact on world Jewry. His online classes are a must for anyone who wants to experience authentic Jewish wisdom at its finest.


During my visit, we took an Uber together back and forth to lunch. Usually, I sit in Ubers and either stare at my iPhone or nap. Not only did Rabbi Rowe engage each driver, learning about who they are and where they were from, but he was able to converse with them about their religious beliefs and practices. It is one thing to be brilliant. It is a whole different level to be kind to everyone around you as well.


Rabbi Burg and Rabbi Daniel Rowe


Watching Rabbi Rowe in action made me realize how important the role of Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying G-d’s name) plays in our lives. Being superficially nice to someone is okay. Actually caring about them in a way where you show interest in their lives is a whole different level. There is no doubt in my mind that those two Uber drivers now see the Jewish people in a positive light. Our job, given to us by the Almighty, is to be a ‘Light Unto the Nations.’ The only way to shine that light is to truly care about our fellow man. Rabbi Rowe is a shining example of how that is done.