Dear Aish Family,

When I mentioned that we were working on a long-term strategic plan and I asked for suggestions, I had no idea the response would be so overwhelming. Thank you to the many members of our Aish community who took the time to reach out and offer us direction. I assure you that I read each and every one carefully. They were all thoughtful and creative. Keep them coming!!!

I want to focus on one of the responses I received and the advice contained within. It simply said, “Listen to the Gedolim” (great Rabbis). I was very moved by this answer. Aish HaTorah was built on respect for great Torah sages. Rav Noach Weinberg ZT”L used to visit with Rav Shach ZT”L, the recognized Torah leader of his generation, every week for many years, to seek his advice. It was in this spirit that I traveled to Philadelphia this past week to seek council from the Gadol HaDor (great Rabbi of our generation) HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky and his son the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Shalom Kamenetsky. Rav Shmuel, as he is known throughout the Torah world, is looked up to by the entire Jewish world as a renown Torah scholar. I spoke with him about many of the various issues facing Aish HaTorah to get his guidance and wisdom. His brilliance shone through in every answer that he gave.

I would like to relate one very personal part of the encounter. As many of you know, I have a heavy travel schedule. Unfortunately, sometimes that means missing family events back at home. My fourth grade son Natan was participating in a Siyum, at his school RYNJ, on the learning of the whole book of Beraishis (Genesis) and on Mishnayus Berachos (Laws of blessings) I felt bad about missing the party but I had no choice as I had to be in Philadelphia to meet with Rav Shmuel.

I asked Rav Shmuel if he could send a Mazel Tov to my son Natan. He quickly took out a piece of stationary and wrote the most beautiful note to my son. I was so touched that this Torah giant would take the time to care about my son’s feelings. I believe this is the secret to why the Gedolim deserve so much respect. They treat every Jew as if they are their own family. They love every Jew to the extreme and their breadth of Torah knowledge gives them a unique Torah prism through which they can view the world.

At Aish HaTorah, we must be focused and stay close to the great Rabbis of our generation. They represent a very special conduit to the Almighty. May the Almighty bless Aish HaTorah with the ability to follow and seek wisdom from the great Rabbis of our generation.

Warm regards and good shabbos!

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