Dear Aish Family,

Rabbi-Steven-BurgI hope all of you had a restful Passover holiday. In the week leading up to the holiday I had the honor of touring Penn State with our two Aish Campus couples who live there full time. The Vigons and the Grants live hours away from the nearest Kosher restaurant or Synagogue so that they can work with nearly 5000 Jewish students on campus. It was one of the most impressive Aish programs that I have ever seen. I want to thank Rabbi Josh Winter for facilitating the trip for Rabbi Lutch and I.

IMG-20160418-WA0020There was one conversation that I had while on campus that I kept thinking about throughout Holocaust Remembrance Day yesterday. My tour guide around the campus was a wonderful young women from Long Island. She had not been connected to her Judaism until she saw a Facebook post from Aish about a trip to Poland. She decided that it seemed interesting and it would look good on a resume. She told me that it was the most powerful trip she had ever experienced. Since the trip she celebrated Shabbos every week with the Vigons and the Grants.

I asked her if anything surprised her about the trip and what were the most powerful moments. She replied that she had expected to feel a lingering depression after seeing the place of the destruction of six million Jews and she was shocked that she walked away with almost a total opposite reaction. She felt as if we, the Jewish people, had ultimately won that battle. In the end the Nazis are gone and we the Jewish nation are still here and strong.

Indeed, as I reflected yesterday on Yom HaShoa, Holocaust Remembrance Day, I was crushed and mourned our massive losses. On the other hand, I see a bright future for our nation. We Jews are a strong and resilient people. All those who tried to wipe us out are gone and we continue to grow and thrive. This is the Jewish story and it is very much the Aish story. We are committed at Aish HaTorah to continue to strengthening the Jewish people and to spreading the Almighty’s wisdom in a relevant and welcoming way.

May the Almighty bless our Jewish nation with strength, peace and tranquility so we can build a bright Jewish future together.

Good Shabbos!

Penn State Visit

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Rabbi Burg recently accompanied Rabbi Winter on a trip out to Penn State. Rabbi Winter commented, “Although it was erev Pesach, the team there was really able to give a great feel for what happens on campus day to day. Rabbi Lutch joined us as well, and it was a fantastic visit overall.”

Rabbi Yitz Greenman, Executive Director of Aish HaTorah said, “We are very lucky to have two dynamic rabbinical couples like the Grants and the Vigons at Penn State University who are also alumni of Aish HaTorah.”

Highlights included:
-A staff meeting where we discussed vision for the future of Aish, as well as the successes and challenges on campus
– a student led tour of campus
-Chabura with the guys in the student hub
-Dinner and Q&A with about 20 leadership students at the Aish student house.

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The students were all genuinely excited and interested to engage in a productive dialogue about the future of Aish on campus and at PSU.

Aish New Yorks Recruitment Manager, Keith Rosenblum commented, “It was inspiring to be able to provide the students with a window into the larger family of Aish through Rabbi Burg. He gave them a lot to consider in terms of their abilities to step up and take on a larger role in ensuring the continued success of Aish at Penn State.

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