I have mentioned many times that one of the key elements to putting Aish on a path to success was the implementation of EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) across our whole organization. While we are one of the largest, most significant nonprofits in Israel we operate as any for-profit business would. That means constant internal communication as to our goals and objectives including setting quarterly goals and targets. In plain terms, we know exactly where we want to get to every three months as we march towards our ten year goal of getting 3 million Jews to immerse themselves in Jewish wisdom.
Following that path, our executive team got together this past week to assess what we have achieved over the past two years and what the next eight years will look like for us to achieve AishVision 2030. There were many fascinating takeaways. The biggest in my opinion was that our ten year target is NOT to get 3 million Jews to study Torah. Our ten year target IS to “Create a worldwide culture of Torah learning.” One of our most popular and visible strategies is to guide 3 million Jews, which is 20% of the worldwide Jewish population, towards making the study of Torah a relevant and ongoing part of their lives.
Two and a half years ago when we first started to work on the overall vision of Aish, our Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits made a profound statement. He said we need to strive to change the definition of being Jewish to include the study of time-proven Jewish wisdom. While we are known as “The People of the Book,” most Jews don’t open a Jewish book. Jewish wisdom is a guide to living a productive, moral and ethical life. It is one of the greatest benefits to being a Jew, yet so few of us take advantage.
We realized at the time how correct Rabbi Berkovits was. So we embarked to change the face of the Jewish world by setting out to create a worldwide culture of Jewish learning. We felt that reaching 20% of the overall Jewish population would tip the scales towards that goal. That is how we came up with the number 3 million. One of the most powerful moments came when I was in Mexico having lunch with friends. As I was explaining our vision to my dear friend and Aish partner, Moisés Rabinovitz, he said that since Mexico has approximately 40,000 Jews, Aish Mexico will take responsibility for connecting 8,000 Jews to Torah. This epiphany immediately took a lofty international goal and brought it into the realm of local and doable.
There is so much more to share, including the discussion of social media strategy versus in-person study. While I look forward to discussing that balance in a future email, I want to leave you with something I thought about constantly over the course of the week; As world-renown author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek would say: “What is our WHY?” Why do we think AishVision 2030 is so imperative for the Jewish people?
This past Sunday, I attended a funeral in Woodbourne, New York of the father of Aish Boston Director Rabbi Chananel Weiner. I did not know Charles Weiner ob”m but apparently all of the greater Catskills area did. The funeral started with a tribute by the local firefighters of the area because Charles was the fire chief for over 30 years. Speaker after speaker, Jewish and non-Jewish, got up to talk about the selflessness of this special man. It was a moving tribute to a special Jew who inspired his community.
I realized this is the “Why” of the Jew. To live a righteous life where we inspire all those around us. Where we live and breathe Jewish morality and ethics. Where we demonstrate that a love of each other must be demonstrated daily. Where we make each other better. The way to train ourselves to infect the world with this joy is to bask in the love of the Almighty. The pathway to that love is through Jewish wisdom. If we can truly build a culture of worldwide Torah learning then we can bring that love to every household on earth.