One of the most special parts of Aish’s international presence has been our work for Spanish speaking Jews. AishLatino.com is the number one website for quality Judaic content. Our Spanish program at our Yeshiva is one of the main Israeli educational programs servicing Latin American students. Our numbers on social media in Spanish are consistently the highest for any Jewish organization. We have a number of in-person Spanish speaking Aish annex locations in countries across Latin America.
It was with this backdrop in mind that I attended a very special tribute program in Spanish honoring the memory of our founder, Rabbi Noach Weinberg, zt’l. The event took place in Bal Harbour and was the brainchild of Eduardo Link whose son will be studying at Aish in the Fall. I was honored to give the only speech in English. Rabbi Yejezkel Kanonitsch, who is an all-star teacher in our Spanish program, was the main speaker. Although my fluency in Spanish is admittedly limited, it was moving to listen to these addresses and to know what an impact Aish is having on our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters.
I want to share with you some important work that is going on at Aish right now and ask for your help. As our budget year starts anew every January 1, six months in advance, our leadership comes together to rethink and focus our direction. We spend time asking ourselves the tough questions about what we have achieved and where we are going. What are our goals? Are they the right goals? Are we structured appropriately to achieve our goals? How do we continually measure success? Are all our divisions working together to achieve our goals?
As we have embarked on this annual rigorous self evaluation, I find myself focused on one major question. This question is not “What” or “How” but rather that of “Why.” Our goal has been to enable Jews around the world to grow comfortable making Jewish wisdom a part of their lives. In many ways, we have been wildly successful in this regard. Literally millions of people every month are devouring Aish Judaic content through aish.com and our many social media platforms. I couldn’t be prouder of those efforts. We went from virtually no significant social media presence 2 years ago to having tens of millions of video views every month!
My concern is not the massive output of content that we have created. My thoughts are now dwelling on whether we are explaining “why” this content is so important to the average Jew. A few months ago, I heard a presentation from the heads of Aish Israel to our Israeli fellowship program TLI. In this cutting edge program, young Israeli business entrepreneurs attend sessions given by leaders of Israel’s business community about how to be successful through a Judaic lens.
The presenter spoke about the famous Jim Collins business book Good to Great. The first chapter of the book proves the theory that humility is a consistent trait of top CEOs. Great leaders always talk about their team and spread the credit around. Arrogant leadership is a recipe for disaster. The presenter went on to tell this secular Israeli crowd that Jewish wisdom provides the steps to achieving humility. In essence if you want to be a great CEO make time to study Jewish wisdom!
This brilliant presentation made me think long and hard about the question of the “Why.” Are we properly explaining to our constituency why attaining Jewish wisdom is so important? Are we making the case for the fact that Jewish wisdom can improve family dynamics by making a person a better spouse, parent, child etc? Are we demonstrating the fact that Jewish wisdom will help all those who pursue it to lead a full and qualitative life? One can love more deeply and more fully through the lens of Jewish wisdom. I truly believe in my heart that Jewish wisdom is a gift from the Almighty which allows us to live the best life possible. The question I keep asking myself is, are we relaying this message clearly and articulately?
I would like you all to please help us with this question. How would you make the case for the importance of Jewish wisdom? What is your “Why?” This is not a contest or high level scholarly request. I personally receive all responses from my weekly email. Simply respond to this email with a 3-4 word tagline that conveys this concept and in your own words share with me the “Why” that motivated you to live a Jewish life? What is the “Why” that motivates you to study Jewish wisdom? You can also WhatsApp me on my cell at 646-830-0872.
I have always believed the power of Aish is that we are all part of a bigger family. The Aish family. As such I am asking my family to help us be the best that we can be. Thank you in advance for all of your support and love as we work together to build a stronger Jewish nation.