Dear Aish Family,
I hope everyone is enjoying the Sukkos holiday. Here in Israel, things are jam-packed. At Aish we are running 2-3 events a day. There is so much joy in the air! Last year, non-Israeli citizens were not allowed in the country, so the happiness of so many Jews being here this year is even more incredible. As I know everyone is busy I just wanted to drop a quick note to all of you and relate a special ‘only-at-Aish’ story.
Every year we have a special event during the holiday centered around Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessings that are given during the morning service. It has become a tradition that hundreds of Kohanim, Jewish priests, attend services on the morning of the third day of the holiday and bless the Jewish people. Over 50,000 people come to the Western Wall for this special moment.
The dynamic Rabbi Ephraim Shore started an Aish tradition many years ago that we host our partners on the roof of the Dan Family Aish World Center for the blessing. It is an incredibly joyous event for all those who have been able to join us. This year I invited a new friend of Aish, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides. I met with Ambassador Nides a few months ago along with Aish Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits. At the time I told him that I would love for him to join us for this special blessing.
At that time, we spoke about many issues but perhaps the most important conversation revolved around prayer. We took the Ambassador to the Korda Family Hall of Notes where we have a short film about prayer sponsored by the Diener family. Ambassador Nides mentioned he had a friend who was ill and changed his itinerary on the spot to go to the Kotel to pray for him. Aish Photographer Todd Rosenblatt managed to take a beautiful picture of the Ambassador praying at the Wall.
I was so touched by this moment that I framed the picture and waited for his return to Aish. At the event, I spoke about the importance of prayer and presented the picture to the Ambassador. I told him that I know he has a difficult and stressful job. Whenever things may seem tough he can look at this picture and beseech the Almighty for guidance. The Ambassador was very touched by our gift.
When I speak about only-at-Aish moments, it is one just like this. While we all may differ on our politics or opinions we can never forget that we all pray to the same G-d. We must always ask the Almighty for guidance and wisdom. The Almighty loves every person with the greatest love possible. We must always remember that no matter how rich and powerful or poor and helpless a person may be, the Almighty will always stand by us.