Dear Aish Family,

Everyone always asks me what it means to truly be a global organization. This week I learned that lesson. Earlier this week I attended the Toronto Aish HaTorah gala dinner. Aish Toronto, one of the first branches established, has long been a shining beacon for Aish HaTorah. They chose to celebrate Aish HaTorah’s stellar program Hasbara Fellowships.

What was great about the dinner was that it highlighted Hasbara’s growth in Canada. Established by Rabbi Elliot Mathias in the midst of the 2001 Intifada, Hasbara Fellowships has trained thousands of campus activists to stand up for Israel. Our alumni now hold jobs in every significant pro-Israel organization and many serve in the government.

A few years ago Hasbara decided to expand into Canada and hired  Aish Alumnus Rob Walker. Rob electrified the audience with a  passionate speech on the abuse and threats that Jewish students  receive on campuses across Canada every day. Our beautiful  Jewish children are being pushed, shoved, mocked, embarrassed  and scolded each and every day on campuses across North  America because they are Jewish. Baseless antisemitism is alive  and well. I couldn’t be prouder of the Aish Hasbara Fellowship  team.

I was also proud of the fact that, not only did Aish Toronto help to fund the expansion of Hasbara in Canada, they chose to make their support as public as possible by featuring the program at their yearly dinner. This type of cooperation, coordination, and partnership are what make Aish great.

I referred earlier to Aish’s global nature and how it struck me this week. As we were in Canada celebrating the expansion of an Aish program that deals with Israel and started in the USA, I received a series of pictures from Jerusalem depicting our Aish HaTorah Dan Family World Center packed to capacity. There literally was not an empty room, closet or crevice in the entire building.

As I am writing this I just received a text from an Aish Rabbi who is speaking currently in Cancun, Mexico. Unreal! This is what Aish is all about. Whatever spiritual or physical crisis the Jewish nation undergoes anywhere in the world Aish HaTorah has always taken responsibility to try and help. May the Almighty give the heroic men and women of Aish HaTorah the strength and courage to keep our nation strong.

Warm regards and good shabbos!

Aish Toronto Gala
The program highlighted the pro-Israel campus advocacy work of Hasbara Fellowships Canada, showing the following video (click the photo to view video)

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