Dear Aish Family,
One of the great advantages to being a global institution is that on any given day we can operate in different time zones on multiple continents. I was in Toronto this week but on Wednesday morning at 4am I was checking in with Jerusalem for an important meeting there.
For the past seven years we have been working hard in Jerusalem to rebuild our finances. We have taken the Jerusalem budget (not including the many independent Aish branches and program budgets around the world) from 8 million to 20 million dollars.
Along the way we have built a beautiful working relationship with our bankers. We have hosted the local bank branch heads many times. They were so impressed with our professionalism (and the view from our World Center!) that they proposed bringing the global CEO of First International Bank of Israel, Smadar Barber-Tsadik to meet with us.
I was checking my phone at 4am in Toronto because I knew the visit was occurring then. Our CFO, Jamie Feinmesser welcomed the group. Ms. Barber-Tsadik spent time meeting with Aish Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchok Berkovits and Rabbi Yehuda Weinberg who explained who his father, Rav Noach, zt’l was, and how we built the Dan Family Aish World Center. She was very impressed, and then apologized as she had to run to a meeting with Israeli President Herzog. Satisfied that we had done a great job with our guest, I set out to meet with our leadership in Toronto.
My first stop was The Village Shul and Aish Learning Centre. Rabbi Tzvi Sytner has done an incredible job inspiring his congregation to reach new heights. My favorite quote came from my old friend and Village Shul board member, Zale Newman. He said that “attending minyan is just one of many programs at the Village Shu.” The implication was that even if you don’t come to the minyan you have many opportunities to be/do Jewish. We reviewed their holistic plan to work with Jewish families all over the Forest Hill community. Board member Barry Bank must have quoted Rabbi Noach Weinberg a dozen times. It was amazing to see how our founder’s impact was still alive.
I then visited Aish Toronto headquarters where Rabbi Zack Garelick took me through their plans to work with Millenials and students across Toronto. I was thrilled that Aish Toronto had adopted EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) just like we have in Jerusalem. I had dinner with the new President of Aish Toronto, Oren Rosen, a terrific guy, who, with his entrepreneurial background, will help Aish Toronto soar to new heights. As this was my first trip to Canada in two years, I was so happy to stay with and spend time with my close friends, Aish Executive board member, Dr. Stuart Hytman and his wife Andrea. We spoke about Aish until well into the night.
While we have so many things happening all over the world every day, it was great to know that we have one of the best teams in the Jewish world in Jerusalem. As much as I wanted to welcome First International Bank of Israel CEO Smadar Barber-Tsadik, I knew that she would be well taken care of in my absence. This is why I am able to travel as much as I do and spend time with all of you. This is the very definition of teamwork. To paraphrase John Maxwell – “Teamwork makes the dream work,” but to keep a vision from becoming a nightmare, a leader must have a great team to match his big dreams.
We have an amazing dream in AISHVision 2030, envisioned by Rabbi Berkovits, but it would be just a dream without the Aish team. Join our team as we strive to inspire our Jewish brothers and sisters.