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Storming the Gates of Heaven Together With 5 Million Jews

A little over three years ago Aish set out to build an unprecedented online Jewish community. Following the leadership and direction of our beloved Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, we set out to bring Jewish wisdom to Jews who had little or no connection to Judaism in their daily lives. Today the Aish global community has millions of Jews who are growing daily in their connection to our people. While we knew very concretely what we set out to achieve, we are constantly learning how to utilize this precious holy network in so many new ways. 

Last Thursday was a holy day for the Jewish people. It was the day that we traditionally spend in prayer and we fast in remembrance of the sacrifice that Queen Esther made for her people 2,500 years ago. In the Bible, we are told that Mordecai, the leader of the Jews at the time, discovered that Haman, the wicked advisor to the king, had planned to exterminate the entire Jewish people. Mordecai approached his relative Queen Esther to intervene with her husband, the king, to save her people. At first, she was scared and apprehensive to go to her husband who was a sick tyrant who had killed his last wife. 


Aish students celebrating Purim


Mordecai tells Esther fateful words that we all must live by. He said that perhaps this is why the Almighty placed her in the position she was in, to help her people. She was strengthened by his words but asked that the entire Jewish nation fast and pray for her success. They did as she requested and she was successful in bringing down Haman and saving her brothers and sisters. We thus commemorate this brave woman every year not only by celebrating Purim but fasting the day before to remember the prayer that accompanied our salvation. 


Therefore at Aish, we started to discuss how appropriate it would be for Jews around the world to come together on this day to pray for our captive brothers and sisters. We reached out to the group that is representing the families of the hostages to suggest how important it would be to try to get the entire Jewish world to pray together for their loved ones. The result was a program that brought Jews from every corner of the globe to say the Shema prayer, the central prayer of the Jewish people, together.


Hersh Goldberg Polin's family on the Aish rooftop


We asked the effervescent Jamie Geller to host the program and Rabbi Etiel Goldwicht to offer inspirational words. We interviewed family members of the hostages and those who have been working so hard to support the efforts to bring the hostages home. This laid the groundwork for the powerful moment when the Shema was recited and the horns of the Shofar were sounded at the Western Wall. No one who participated could help but notice their hearts filled with love and prayer. We were subsequently notified that while it is hard to know the exact number of people who participated live or via rebroadcast, our partner organization representing the hostage families estimates that it was seen by over 5 million people! 


At Aish, we feel blessed to have built a network that could unite our people in such a moving and global way. We are doubly blessed with personalities like Jamie Geller and Rabbi Etiel Goldwicht who are thinking of creative ways to engage the entire Jewish people daily. We can only do this with your help and partnership.


Jamie Geller speaking with Rachel and Jon Golberg-Polin


This week Aish is having our annual campaign called “Aish United” where we are seeking to raise $4,000,000 from our brothers and sisters around the world. I urge all of you to visit to contribute to building our global community. Through your past generosity, we have built a network that has reconnected Jews around the world to each other and Israel. We live in a time when every Jewish voice is crucial to the strength of the Jewish people. United we will succeed as a Nation, divided we will crumble. 


Help Aish continue to inspire Jews around the world to say Shema. Please visit today to make a meaningful contribution towards the future of our people. Thank you for helping us pave the way for over 5 million Jews to storm the gates of Heaven in tears and prayer. You all have a share in our work. We have much to do and the days are short. Help us raise this money so that we can continue uniting our people. Am Yisrael Chai!