One of the highlights of the year in Jerusalem is when we have Aish Branch directors from around the world converge on our headquarters in Jerusalem for our annual Aish ProDev Conference. It gives all of us a chance to come together to share ideas that are working as well as the setbacks we may encounter. Although we stay in touch via zoom and other technology there is nothing like sitting in Jerusalem and talking over coffee about the future of the Jewish people.
Our ProDev department, which is short for Professional Development, is brilliantly coordinated by Rabbi Daniel Rose. We have added many new seminars and classes for Aish staff around the world so they can continue to grow in their fields. While there are many highlights, nothing beats a social media class from Aish CMO Jamie Geller. There was also much discussion of AishVision 2030 and how cities around the world can participate.
The most important part of the conference is the time spent with Aish Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, shlit’a. Every day, Rabbi Berkovits gives talks on contemporary topics facing the Jewish people. In addition, all participants schedule private one-on-one meetings with Rabbi Berkovits. One can feel the mantle of leadership that has been so beautifully passed from Rav Noach Weinberg to Rabbi Berkovits.
We also make it a point to visit Gedolim (Great Rabbis) together to discuss Aish with them. This year we were blessed to go to Rav Yaakov Hillel and Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz. The highlight was when Rav Yaakov Hillel shared with the group that he was in Rav Noach’s apartment when Rav Noach made the historic decision to start Aish. He said that Rav Noach decided that he needed to reach those Jews that were furthest from their heritage.
Thankfully, I found time throughout the week to meet with so many other folks. We had a wonderful visit from Michael and Chevy Bauman and Rabbi Yehuda Farber from Torah Links of Lakewood to discuss their new Beis Medrash for beginner students. Dean Noam Wasserman from the Sy Syms School of Business stopped by to share the incredible work they are doing on Jewish values and ethical practices in business. Nerya Meir, the Director of the Diaspora Department at the WZO joined us to discuss many of the potential partnership opportunities for Aish and the WZO.
In short, it was a week of celebration and collaboration. The beauty of Aish is that we are constantly working with each other to achieve our goals. Yet, we still find the time to partner with those who have the best interest of the Jewish Nation in mind. We can all enter this Shabbos knowing that, as a team, we are so much closer to achieving AishVision 2030.