Dear Aish Family,
I think I have been clear over the last eight years in sharing with you why I have the greatest job in the world. Aish is not only a special organization filled with exceptional people. It is the place where so many amazing Jewish leaders from around the world come together to work towards building a stronger Jewish nation. I’d like to share a 24-hour window from this past week to demonstrate.
I landed back in Israel this past Sunday night and immediately ran to dinner with Jamie Geller and David Magerman in the Aish World Center. David is an incredible Jewish leader who has not only helped to build the greater Philadelphia community but has assisted Jewish organizations throughout the world. David and Jamie have partnered together in the past on many Jewish projects. Over the three-hour dinner, I felt blessed to have the opportunity to run an array of topics by David to gain his insight and wisdom. He has a grasp of the Jewish world in a way that few others possess.
The next day I had lunch with Aish Director of Governmental Affairs, Yanky Schwartz, and Rabbi Refael Kruskal, the CEO of Tikva. Rabbi Kruskal operated orphanages in Ukraine and was instrumental in helping thousands of Ukrainian Jews move to Romania as a result of the current war. Hearing his stories about the heroic work that is being done to save Jews was inspirational. I thanked him for all that he is doing and pledged that Aish will be his partner in any way that he would deem helpful.
I then met Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, the Rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue and Jewish media sensation. He was visiting with his family and we had arranged for him to interview Aish Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits for his popular podcast Behind the Bima. Rabbi Goldberg is one of the most creative, dynamic Jewish leaders in the world. We had a chance to discuss the Yeshiva of South Florida which he started this year.
I then greeted my close friend, World Zionist Organization Chairman Yaakov HaGoel, and accompanied him to meet with the Rosh Yeshiva. I was able to be a proverbial fly on the wall as they discussed world Jewry and the need to bring Jews closer to their heritage and to Israel. Chairman HaGoel was very impressed by the map of global Jewry which sits behind Rabbi Berkovits’ desk.
I then facilitated a meeting between Chairman HaGoel and Rabbi Tuly Weisz. I have known Tuly Weisz for over 25 years since we first met when he was in high school in Columbus, Ohio. He has become a true international leader and started the website Israel365.com which helps educate Christians to support Israel. Their email list reaches over a million people daily. I felt that there would be great synergy between their organizations.
I then had the great honor of interviewing Jon Medved, the CEO and Founder of Our Crowd, and one of the pioneering architects of the growth of tech companies in Israel. We taped a show for a podcast I am developing called “Brother’s Keeper” where I have the incredibly fun job of talking to Jewish leaders from around the world. Jon is a long-time supporter of Aish and one of Israel’s most fascinating business entrepreneurs. I asked him what he considers the number one trait when bringing on new talent in his own company or who he chooses to invest in, and he said, “passion.” Apparently, Aish and Our Crowd have the same values!
That evening, I attended the Jeremy Barkan z”l memorial lecture in Yemen Moshe. Jeremy was the husband of Aish Staffer Lisa Barkan and by all accounts a terrific person. Before the lecture, I got to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world, Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan. She had just returned from a fellowship program at Harvard University. We discussed many topics, from the upcoming elections to the need for having faith in the Almighty. Then I returned to Aish to catch up on my calls to the US.
I hope that this glimpse into the electric atmosphere at Aish gives you an idea of what we are focused on. Aish is so much more than just another Jewish organization. We are a hub of activity where so many dynamic leaders have a chance to interact. We have a student body of future leaders which last year broke 1000. We have millions of potential Jewish leaders who are studying with us online every day. Most importantly we have you. Every one of you is a leader. Every one of you has special talents to help build the Jewish community. This is core to AishVision 2030. Join us and let us lead together.