This past week I went to a gathering of CEO’s from around the world and Israel at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. It was a great networking opportunity and I met a number of fascinating personalities. One person I met had opened the first internet company in Israel. In his words, it was “before Israelis could pronounce the word internet!” When I told him that I was the CEO of Aish, his face lit up and he embraced me. He told me that Aish was his first internet customer and he helped launch aish.com.
Aish has always been at the forefront of innovation. Two years ago Aish branched out from the website onto other social media platforms. Our target for 2023 was 50 million video views on SM. I am proud to report that we achieved that goal in just 6 months! We are consistently breaking a million website sessions on aish.com every month. We are well on our way to achieving AISHVision 2030 and engaging 3 million Jews through Jewish wisdom.
One of the stats I am most proud of is one of our smallest. A few years ago, aish.com Editor-in- Chief, Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith and Aish partner Bob Diener took on a challenge. Many unaffiliated Jews would stop by and peruse our website. While that is valuable in and of itself, we had no connection to these customers. Then came the brilliant idea of staffing the website with live rabbis ready to engage those virtually stopping by. Thus, Aish’s Live Chat program was born.
Today, when you go to our website a box will pop up and a rabbi will offer to answer any questions you may have. The feedback has been phenomenal, (although we have had to tell a few Jewish day school students that we can’t help them with their homework cause it’s technically cheating! ). Many of these conversations have progressed and ultimately our goal is to refer these precious Jews to a local Jewish institution so that they can continue their journey. To date, we are averaging 50 referrals a month! That is 600 families a year now being guided to become active locally with their Jewish community!
This is the culmination of the vision of Aish. Aish is not just about Aish. Aish is about the Jewish people. Our job is to seek out beautiful Jews who have not yet connected to their heritage. Our job is to assist them on their Jewish journey. Our job is to make our small yet proud religion accessible and open to all Jews. Our job is to expose our brothers and sisters to the beauty of Israel and its people.
This past week I attended a beautiful program where couples came together to further their journey towards a stronger marriage and a commitment to Shabbos. I was so touched by the love that this group had for one another and for the Jewish nation. The highlight for me was to hear them quote my good friend, and as far as I am concerned, the top Rabbi in the world, Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein. Rabbi Goldstein has just published a book called Shabbos, a day to create yourself. Even though it was just published there are already study groups in over 1500 cities! These couples who are on a journey towards stronger Shabbat observance are studying this book together. I highly recommend everyone buy multiple copies to give to your friends.
Aish and Rabbi Goldstein have one important leadership quality which ensures our success. It is never about us. Rabbi Goldstein is affecting the entire Jewish world from Johannesburg. Based in Jerusalem, Aish is utilizing cutting-edge technology to inspire masses around the world. My friends, the secret to the success of the Jewish people over 3500 years has been total selflessness. Think about others and you can accomplish a great deal. May the Almighty grant us the strength and vigor to always think of others first.