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The Crucial Role of Love

As one of the largest nonprofits in Israel, Aish has always played a crucial role as a bridge between the diaspora communities and Israel. This is an important role as the unity of the Jewish people has never been more important. As such, it was our honor to host my good friend Yaakov HaGoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in New York this week. Aish has worked closely with the WZO over the past few years as worldwide Jewry has experienced unprecedented challenges. 


Accompanied by Rafael Cohen, Director of Har Herzl and Director of Foreign Relations for the WZO, Chairman HaGoel met with a select leadership group of Aish in Manhattan to discuss current events. I introduced the Chairman by highlighting his accomplishment of championing a historic resolution that passed this past week in the Knesset. Resolution 492 officially commemorates non-Israeli Jews who were murdered in antisemitic acts around the world.


WZO Chairman Yaakov HaGoel and Rafael Cohen address the Aish Jewish Wisdom Society in Manhattan


Chairman HaGoel shared with us that he has been working on this piece of legislation for the past four years. He told us the story of two brothers who were killed in a terrorist attack in Europe. One was Israeli and one was not. As a result, only one of their deaths was commemorated and recognized in Israel. He then launched into an impassioned plea for unity among the Jewish people worldwide. In a post-October 7th world, we must stand shoulder to shoulder as never before. Our enemies do not recognize borders in their persecution of Jews, so why should we?


It was a moving meeting for all those involved. I was proud that Chairman HaGoel spoke about the crucial role Aish is playing in unifying our people. In many ways that is what AISHVision 2030 has been about, creating a common language of Jewish wisdom so that Jews can unite behind their heritage. We are immensely proud of our partnership with the WZO and are looking forward to expanding it in the years to come.


Rabbi Steven Burg addressing the Jewish Wisdom Society in Manhattan


It was within this framework that I was honored to attend another special gathering in New York. Aish Israel has been bringing groups of Israeli entrepreneurial millennials to the United States for the past few years. Fresh from their service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) these young Israelis spend time getting to know leaders of American Jewry. Capably led by Aish Rabbis Etiel Goldwicht and Shimmy Kaufman, these young Jews learn about the diaspora in a way that few of their colleagues ever get the chance to.


Aish Israel Entrepreneur participants enjoying an evening in NYC


Last night I attended an event where our Aish Israel group spent time meeting members of the Hasidic community in Brooklyn. It was housed at a Brooklyn hotel with delicious food and music. The sole goal of the evening was for everyone to get to know each other. In Israel, even though it’s a small country, secular and religious Jews do not necessarily spend time together. Jews are a driven people by nature and whenever we get together we like to have an agenda and accomplish something. It is my fervent belief that sometimes we need to drop the agendas and just get to know one another. Learn to love one another. Last night was an amazing step in that direction.


Israel Entrepreneur trip in NYC


My friends, the Jewish nation is small. Given the horrific nature of our global persecution, we must unify and defend each other. Yet, the bonds of our love for one another must be so much stronger than just a reaction to persecution. We are a family and a family always stands in support of one another due to the deep bonds and love that we share. I urge all of you to seek out Jews who you don’t know. Jews who are not like you. Jews with whom, at face value, you share little in common. Speak to them. Get to know them. Hug them. This has always been the secret behind Jewish longevity. Our love for one another. Our love for the Almighty. Our love for this world. In essence, AISHVision 2030 has always been about igniting love. Partner with us in achieving that goal.