Dear Aish Family,

unnamedThis week I want to start off by thanking all of you for all of the pictures, stories and articles that I receive from around the world every week. Some of the articles are extremely moving. I want to share one such article that was published in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

Recently, Amy Holtz was named the CEO of the Israel-Diaspora Initiative. The newly formed organization received 70 million dollars from the Israeli Government to help young Jews build and strengthen their Jewish identity.

What moved me in the article was how Amy described her Jewish journey:

Amy Holtz“I was not interested in my Jewish identity,” she recalled. Holtz’s friends had all been participating in a Torah class at Aish and encouraged Holtz to join. After one particularly stressful day at work, she decided to give it a try and went with her friends.

She remembered one lesson her teacher had said from her first class that has stuck with her ever since: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path is going to get you there.”

After that, she kept attending the classes and found her path, she said. “It hit me in a very deep way. I wanted to learn more and then I kept going.”

Since then, she has become more religious and dedicated her work to Judaism. She started learning Torah with Aish Philadelphia 12 years ago and getting more involved Jewishly.

“It taught me how to lead a purposeful life,” she said.

To me, Amy summed up the mission of Aish HaTorah. Our job for the last 40 years has been to inspire Jews to become passionate about their Judaism. The result is the creation of Jewish leaders who, through the prism of Torah, literally change the world.

Recently, we had one of our long time partners come to visit us in Jerusalem. As part of his tour we introduced him to some of the students in our Yeshiva. After he had asked them a few questions, one of the young men stepped forward and asked the following question, “Why have you supported Aish for so many years? What do you see in us?” The long time donor replied with one word, “Leverage”. He explained that with Aish HaTorah, he knew he could give money and that we would inspire Jewish leaders not just for Aish but for the entire Jewish world.

We must never forget that the mission of Aish is much bigger than any of us. We all must continue to teach, inspire and lead. On behalf of Aish, it is my honor to wish Amy Holtz much success in her crucial new venture to facilitate passionate Jewish youth.

Good Shabbos!

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