Dear Aish Family,
This week was extremely busy around the Aish global network. I started off the week by flying to Detroit to connect with leaders from Aish branches that came from all over North America. Aish Detroit hosted the conclave and did a fantastic job. We spent three days discussing and strategizing about the future of Aish HaTorah.
I presented the three goals of Aish Jerusalem for the coming year:
1) Curriculum development
2) Increase Aish missions to Israel
3) Rabbinical program that will graduate 15 students per year.
There was a lot of passion while studying Torah and playing basketball. Aish has the most dedicated professionals in the Jewish world. It was nice to hear Detroit Jewish Federation CEO Scott Kaufman talk about the importance of Aish in the greater Jewish world. Next year we look forward to seeing everyone in Los Angeles.
I flew from Detroit to Baltimore to attend the Olami Conference. Olami is the world’s largest network of Jewish Outreach groups committed to inspiring and invigorating a renewed sense of passion for, and commitment to, Judaism. It is funded by the Wolfson family and the Horn family who are two of the premiere Jewish philanthropic families in the world. All of our Aish campus Rabbis attended the conference and a sizable percentage of attendees had studied at Yeshiva Aish HaTorah. I was honored to give a session on management and Rabbi Yitz Greenman presented on fundraising.
Recently, Rabbi Avi Cassel, one of the Directors of Olami, visited our Yeshiva in Jerusalem and was very impressed with what he found there. Olami is a major Funder of our Campus initiatives and has been supportive of all of our efforts in working with young adults. It was also nice to spend time with Rabbi Raphael Butler who is an old friend and the creative genius behind so much of what happens at Olami.
After Olami, I raced to the Poconos to attend a strategic planning retreat for Aish HaTorah’s Hasbara Fellowships. Recently, Hasbara has doubled their staff to fight BDS and Anti-Israel sentiment on the majority of campuses in North America. Newly promoted Managing Director Fay Goldstein ran the retreat alongside Executive Director Rabbi Elliot Mathias.
I spoke over dinner about the two and a half tribes that approached Moses and said that they did not want to enter into Israel proper. When Moses accused them of abandoning their brothers and sisters, they replied that they would fight along side the Jewish nation until all of Israel was conquered. This, I believe, is the precedent for diaspora Jewry: looking out for, and defending, the Jews of Israel.
What an energizing week for Aish HaTorah. I have always felt that those that “fail to plan” inevitably “plan to fail.” At Aish HaTorah we have spent a tremendous amount of time over the past year mapping out our pathway for the future. Our goal is and will always be to serve the Almighty and take responsibility for the Jewish people. By spending time charting our vision, we will be able to do so much more.