Dear Aish Family,Rabbi-Steven-Burg

One of the innovations that we have implemented at Aish over the last year has been the town hall meeting. Initially, we struggled to find the right Israeli equivalent title and many were puzzled by the name. So everyone attended their first Aish town hall meeting not knowing what to expect.

As we all sat down to lunch together, we heard about all of the great things that were going on all over Aish. Most of the content was about the happenings on the Jerusalem campus. Occasionally we had guest stars pop in from Aish communities around the world. It quickly became a monthly celebration.

IMG 2705-LAt the end of these meetings, we open up the floor for any questions that the staff may have on any topic. Sometimes this led to awkward situations and sometimes to comical ones. The bottom line is that an atmosphere of transparency and accountability has been established.

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The reason I am giving all of you the history of these meetings is because I would like to brag a bit. This past week, we had one of the best meetings ever. It started out with a cake and all of us singing Happy Birthday to Aish Board Member Andrea Hytman who was visiting with her husband, Stuart. That always sets an uplifting stage.

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The meeting quickly got serious and Aish COO Yossie Friedman spoke about the changes in the operation of our buildings and the enormous increase of visitors this Summer. We then moved on to Rabbi Rosenberg, the Director of Aish operations in Latin America, who introduced Rabbi Nisso Palti, the new Director of Aish San Diego. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Palti will be moving from Mexico City to San Diego to open our first new Aish branch in seven years.

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I then asked Rabbi Rosman, the Director of our Yeshiva, to talk about our new Rabbinical Training program and all that is happening in the Yeshiva. What he went on to say had all of us in shock and the entire hall spontaneously erupted into applause. He told us:

“Over the past 2 months, over 1,000 one on one study sessions were set up at our Yeshiva for visitors.”

I don’t think I have ever had a prouder moment at Aish. Over 1,000 Jews came to Aish to learn relevant, exciting, passionate Torah in a one on one setting. This does not count the tens of thousands that came to Aish to learn Torah in a group setting. This is who we are. We are Jews who believe that the Almighty’s wisdom is precious. The Torah belongs to every Jew and Aish works hard every day to maintain a non-judgmental atmosphere so that all will feel welcome.

May the Almighty bless us with the ability to continue to study Jewish wisdom with every Jew around the world.

Good Shabbos!

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