Dear Aish Family,

Rabbi-Steven-BurgThis past week saw the fulfillment of many months of work at Aish HaTorah. In the past year, we have had many conversations about Aish’s future and our goals as one of the most important Jewish organizations in Israel. Aish started running missions many years ago as Aish Jerusalem fellowships and was one of the leaders and innovators in the industry. Many thousands of Jews encountered passionate, inspirational Judaism through Aish Jerusalem fellowships.

Many good organizations now run missions to Israel. Where would Aish truly make its mark in 2016? We decided to create a new Israel experience called DestinAISHons. This trip to Israel would have to be different than the average Israel experience. We arranged to combine both learning Torah and touring as part of each day.

2016-11-18-PHOTO-00000226The results have been wildly successful. Our first participants came from Detroit, USA, Santiago, Chile and Toronto, Canada. Three countries and three of our greatest Aish branches. I stopped by the Aish HaTorah Beis Medrash (Study Hall) to check in on the trip. One of the men told me that studying one on one with one of our Aish Rabbinical Students had changed his life and this was on the first day!

2016-11-18-PHOTO-00000198We have offered the best classes that Aish has, along with one on one preparation with our world famous Aish HaTorah Rabbinical Seminary students. This coming Sunday we are redoing the schedule because the participants heard about Aish’s incredible Discovery program and asked us to fit it in before they went home!

As incredibly successful as this trip has been I want to let all of you in on our secret recipe. The first ingredient is Torah. We firmly believe at Aish Hatorah that all Jews must be given the chance to learn Toras Chaim, relevant passionate Torah. Torah is integral for one’s Jewish neshoma (soul) to survive and thrive.

2016-11-18-PHOTO-00000197The second ingredient in Aish’s success is our all-star people. When we designed this trip we knew that we needed a true leader that could teach Torah in an inspirational and vibrant way. We also knew that this person needed to be a fun loving, down to earth personality. There was no more perfect candidate than Rabbi “Rav Gav” Friedman. Rav Gav has become a mentor, tour guide, teacher, and friend to all the DestinAISHons participants. His passion for Judaism is unparalleled. As one participant told me “I have never met anyone as energized and excited about being Jewish as Rav Gav. I want to be him when I grow up!”

The men and women who teach and inspire Jews for Aish HaTorah truly are our “secret sauce”. When anyone sits with an Aish Rabbi or Rebbetzin they know that they will walk away excited to be Jewish. Judaism without inspiration just doesn’t work. May the Almighty give the men and women of Aish HaTorah the strength and the ability to continue to inspire His children every day.

Good Shabbos!

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