Dear Aish Family,
This past week has been one of celebration. Our wonderful large staff has been making weddings and all types of life cycle events. Just this past week Aish’s Head of Building Maintenance, Uri Kari married off his son on Monday. On Tuesday, Director of the Aish Yeshiva and Seminary, Rabbi Dovid Rosman married off his daughter, on Wednesday our Chief People’s Officer, Penina Eichler married off her daughter, and last night, Aish Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yitzchak Berkovits married off his daughter. This is just a sampling of our ever-growing Aish family. Mazel tov to all.
Jack and Rachel gave us a million-dollar gift to get the program started which we named for them. My proudest moment was during a meeting in the Gindi living room after JSU had gone national. One after another, each professional stood up and spoke, first stating their name and their city. Jack was overcome by how our project had spread across the country. It was a beautiful moment.
The story of how we expanded JSU started in New York. After the program had become wildly successful in LA, someone suggested I meet with Zev Wolfson zt”l. The first time I entered Zev’s office, I was taken by the spectacular view of downtown Manhattan and the pictures of Zev with so many politicians. I soon learned that he worked with all of these politicians to help the Jewish nation.
We spoke about JSU and he chided me that I was thinking too small. This type of program needed to be everywhere. He said if I could grow the program, he would fund the expansion. I was inspired by the challenge and started to work on how to increase our reach. I came back to him and he immediately recalled our conversation and asked me if we had started some new clubs. I handed him a list with well over 100 new clubs. He was visibly surprised and impressed. True to his word he then funded our JSU expansion.
Now, on the 15th yahrtzeit of Jack Gindi zt” l and the 10th yahrtzeit of Zev Wolfson zt”l, I think about the impact that they had on my professional career and the legacy which they left behind. Both were dreamers. Both knew how to turn vision into reality. Both knew how to inspire young leaders. Both were blessed with families who have continued their philanthropy and good deeds.
Countless inspired Jews today owe their journey to these two men. Even though they are gone physically, they are still impacting the world around us. As we enter into the Jewish month of Elul which leads to the High Holidays, we all must think about our ongoing contributions to the Jewish people.
I find myself and Aish at a major crossroads of expansion. It’s a challenging and exciting time. Like in the early days of JSU, it’s spurred on by the interest in our work and the early successes of AishVision2030. I urge all of you to increase your personal investment. Together we can return our Jewish brothers and sisters to Jewish literacy. It’s happening! We need thousands of touchpoints, millions of pieces of online content, and the best talent to get there. We can get there, but we need to work together. We are engaged in big change, and every bit of your help makes a difference.