Dear Aish Family,
I hope everyone had a very meaningful Succos holiday. In the last two days I have been to four airports across America and at every airport, I have been blessed to see families on their way back home from the Succos holiday. There is no greater picture than to see a Jewish family walking happily arm in arm through the airport on their way back to their home from the holiday. They literally glow.
I stopped in LA and Atlanta for quick visits before I returned to Israel. I was very happy to see the new renovations to the outreach building of Aish Los Angeles.
I was able to catch Mincha and Maariv at the thriving Community Shul which was filled with Aish Alumni.
While in LA, I met an old friend of mine who asked me a question that I have been asked many, many times over the past two years: “So now that you’re at Aish, do you find that outreach is still being successful or like many people say, it’s something that is past its prime?”
I answered him the way that I answer so many people and eventually will have to write a much longer article to fully emphasize this but, I thought I would share some of my thoughts with all of you now.
First and foremost, our Yeshiva is packed!
We literally have no room and we are exploring other options in terms of expansion. Many of our students come from extremely eclectic and interesting backgrounds. The last few years has seen an increase in Jews walking off the street for classes as well. So in terms of the core work of Aish HaTorah, we have never been more successful.
I think there is a more important point to be made. I have observed that the outreach movement over the last forty years has been the research and development component of Orthodox Jewry.
The Discovery program that was created in order to introduce unaffiliated Jews to G-d is now becoming an incredibly important program for Orthodox Jews. Many Orthodox Jews know the intricate details of Jewish law but need inspiration and improvement in their relationship to G-d. Every day at Aish, we have either a Yeshiva or a Seminary coming by to attend the Discovery program. Project Chazon has brought the Discovery fundamentals to Jewish schools all over America.
In addition, Project Inspire was set up as a program to encourage Orthodox Jews to reach out to their less affiliated brothers and sisters. We have found that so many Jews have come to Project Inspire to become inspired themselves.
This was the brilliance of Rav Noach Weinberg’s vision. He set up an infrastructure that is now servicing all of the Jewish nation. May Aish and the outreach movement continue to inspire ALL Jews for many years to come.