Dear Aish Family,Rabbi-Steven-Burg

Being in Israel is inspirational. Being a part of the Aish HaTorah family is inspirational. When you put them together you get a little taste of heaven. Last night I tasted heaven.

I was invited to an Aliya party for Nathaniel Mayberg. Nathaniel graduated High School a year ago and has spent this past year learning in a preparatory Yeshiva for those that will serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). I got to know Nathaniel over the past year when we spent Shabbos together in Mitzpai Yericho. Nathaniel also spent six weeks studying at Aish HaTorah.

608bfa27-2977-41ec-91cc-eae81c9f39f1Nathaniel is one of the most inspirational young men I have ever spent time with. While many young men his age are in the midst of partying in University, Nathaniel has been learning Torah and training to defend the Jewish people. Last night I attended his Aliyah party.

Nathaniel’s parents, Louis and Manette Mayberg are long time members of the Aish family going back to their time studying with Rabbi Tom Meyer. When I was in the midst of my interview process to become the Director General of Aish, one of the most important meetings

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 I had was sitting on the couch in Louis’s office for three hours. What impressed me was that Louis started by asking me if I fully understood the breadth of the job. It seemed from the start that he was just as concerned for me as he was about the organization and we had just met!

Over the past year, I have been blessed to get to know the entire Mayberg family and it is clear that Nathaniel’s integrity and honesty is present throughout the Mayberg clan. It was also clear last night at the Aliyah party how many beautiful friends the Maybergs have. Louis honored me by asking me to say a few words. It was a tough task because every speaker was inspirational and moving. I thought long and hard about what message I wanted to give a young man who will soon be defending the Jewish people.

kahalani2rl9I told the story of Brigadier General Avigdor Kahalani who was the hero of the Yom Kippur war. General Kahalani was commanding a tank platoon on the Golan Heights when the war broke out. He and his men held off the Syrian army single handily. I told the story of how a series of events that the Almighty orchestrated, led to General Kahalani being in that tank protecting the Jewish people.

kahalani5The point I made to Nathaniel was that even though the Almighty made sure General Kahalani was in that tank, only he could make the decision to fight and defend the Jewish nation. He could have just as easily walked away. Nathaniel made the decision to fight for the Jewish people. The Maybergs have time and time again fought for the Jewish people through their tireless work with Aish and many, many other organizations.

This is what it means to be a part of the Aish family. We choose to take responsibility for our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world. I walked away last night with so much hope and enthusiasm for the next generation of Jews. May the Almighty bless Nathaniel and guard him throughout his IDF service.

Good Shabbos!

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