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The Importance of Being Eternally Optimistic

This past Monday I was blessed to celebrate my ninth anniversary as the CEO of Aish. As I look back at the past nine years, I am incredibly proud of the work that we have done. Our schools are world class and we have extended our influence on social media to almost four million followers. Aish is viewed around the world as one of the most trusted names in Jewish education.

As I spent the past week in Jerusalem I found myself thinking about the future. Where are we headed? How will we get there? What do the next nine years look like? On the one hand we must be strategic and thoughtful about what we want to accomplish. On the other hand, as Jews there is always a curveball around the corner.

The Covid epidemic, which devastated so many, forced us to think more deeply about engaging Jews through social media. The current Gaza war allowed us to connect to so many unaffiliated Jews who have been appalled at how the world has been treating Israel. Antisemitism has reared its ugly head and Aish has risen to meet the challenge.


The Ani Ma'amin prayer being sung at the Western Wall at midnight.


In some ways Jews must always have flexible plans as the Almighty sends constant challenges our way. The one North Star that we always have is a love for the Almighty and for each other. This is the central theme in the Shema prayer, a prayer which is one of the most unifying elements of the Jewish people. This prayer appear in the Parsha of Ve’etchanan which we read each year on the Shabbat after the 9th of Av, to inspire and uplift us after the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. We must always strive to stay positive and not let those around us define us. Jews have always led the world in morality and ethics. We cannot let the lies being told about us characterize us. We must stay the course and improve the world every day, by inspiring and uplifting each other and those around us.


Rabbi Steven Burg and Daniel Abramoff meet with MK Yitzchak Pindrus in the Knesset.


I had the honor of spending time in the Knesset this week. I spoke with my longtime friend, MK Yitzhak Pindrus. As we spoke about some of the many different challenges facing Israel he stated simply that normal rules don’t apply to the Jews. Everyone constantly predicts our demise and we always beat the odds.


Chris Ruddy (Center) and the Newsmax team visit the Dan Family Aish World Center


I had a similar conversation with Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy who I hosted along with his team for a dinner on the Diener Terrace in the Dan Family Aish World Center. We spoke at length about Israel constantly beating the odds and being a beacon of democracy in a very tough neighborhood.


Hosting the Newsmax team and other VIPs enjoying dinner with the best view in the world on the Diener terrace.


Both conversations made me realize how amazing the Jewish people are. As I sat in my office last night a bit past midnight I heard the most beautiful singing. I opened my window and saw hundreds of Jews singing the song Ani Ma’amin which talks about our yearning for the Almighty to send a redeemer to Israel. I realized that this was our secret. No matter what daunting odds we face Jews are eternally optimistic. My friends, I am looking forward to working with all of you for the next nine years to build a bright beautiful Jewish future.