Dear Aish Family,

This past week, my family and I experienced the closest thing I can compare to standing at Mount Sinai and receiving the Torah. We were guests at the 8th Annual Aish HaTorah Project Inspire Convention in the Poconos.

All of Aish HaTorah’s philosophy and approach can be summed up through Project Inspire. We believe that every Jew is responsible for their Jewish brothers and sisters. We believe that the Almighty wants all Jews to open their hearts and homes to their fellow Jews. We believe that reaching out is not just the work of designated Rabbis but the responsibility of each and every one of us.

This past Shabbos, over 1500 souls came together for Shabbos to talk, learn and discuss the best way to reach out to our fellow Jews. The atmosphere was electric with speakers and classes around the clock. It was truly one of the most inspirational scenes I have witnessed in my whole career. My thoughts can be summed up in the talk that I gave Saturday night and I would urge you to listen because I believe it sums up all of Aish Hatorah in 15 minutes.

I want to quote one thing from my speech which hit me over Shabbos. Whenever I looked up at the convention banner I noticed that this was the 8th Aish HaTorah Project Inspire Convention. Due to our recent Yarchai Kallah, I knew that Rav Noach Weinberg passed away eight years ago. I realized that Rav Noach never had the chance to attend the convention that he was the inspiration for. I also realized that he passed away before the Aish HaTorah Dan Family World Center was built. This made me think of a story about the American icon Walt Disney.

Walt Disney died before Disney World was built. A reporter who attended the opening said to Walt’s brother Roy, “Isn’t it a shame that your brother never got to see Disney World?” Roy answered “You have it wrong. He did see this and that is why it’s here today.”

I believe that Rav Noach did see that 1500 Jewish souls would gather to talk about how to love the Almighty and bring others closer. I believe that Rav Noach did see the Aish HaTorah Dan Family World Center filled with people searching for the Almighty, from around the world, every day.

This sums up Judaism and the mission that the Almighty has assigned ALL of us. We must leave this world a stronger and better place than we found it. All that is guaranteed in life is that we are born and then one day we will die. Our task while on this world is to build a stronger platform for the next generation.

This is truly what it means to be a part of the Aish family. It means that we selflessly want to lay the groundwork for a stronger Jewish nation. It means that we have the vision to see a world in which the Almighty becomes a central force in every Jew’s life. It means that we see the world not as it is, but as it will be one day.

I want to thank Rabbi Chaim Sampson, Director of Project Inspire, and his staff, Dr. Stuart and Andrea Hytman, Founding Partners, and President, Allen Isaac and Edie Gross, Convention Chairman and longtime friends, for their tireless work on this 8th Annual Aish Hatorah Project Inspire Convention.  May the Almighty bless all 1500 participants with the strength to lead and love the Jewish nation.

Warm regards and good shabbos!

Rabbi Steven Burg’s Speech at the Project Inspire Convention

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