Dear Aish Family,

One of the most exciting aspects of Aish is the fact that although we are a Jerusalem based organization our reach literally covers the globe. Our branches are like embassies that can bring Aish to Jews everywhere. It was in this spirit that we gathered in Big Bear, California for an Aish Branch Director retreat. It is a special annual event where we can come together to recommit to our mission.

Each year the conference is hosted by a different branch. This year Aish LA did a wonderful job hosting and coordinating the program. I would like to thank Rabbi Aryeh Markman and Azriel Aharon for their hard work on the retreat.

We started in LA with a talk by Richard Sandler, long time Aish partner and the chairman of the Jewish Federations of North America. It was touching to hear Mr. Sandler talk about how the Aish Discovery program inspired him many years ago, as well as the important role Aish must play in the larger Jewish Community.

We then had all the divisions of Aish LA make presentations. It was amazing to hear about the incredible work they are doing with young professionals and missions to Israel. Then we all got into our cars for the trek up into the mountains to spend the rest of our time in beautiful Big Bear, CA. That is where the real work happened.

One of the things that our founder and visionary Rav Noach Weinberg instilled in his students was the uncanny ability to never be satisfied with our accomplishments and the work that needs to be done for the children of the Almighty. We spent the next few days taking a critical look at the work of Aish and how to do more and do better. We also focused on what “Next” looks like for Aish.

I want to emphasize that the reason that Aish is successful at self-evaluation is because we practice a culture of “Fearless Transparency.” This means that there is no question that is out of bounds and no discussion is deemed to be too sensitive. We need to open ourselves fully so we can decide if there is a better way to accomplish all the things that we do.

When an institution’s goal is to aid and assist the Almighty in bettering the world and strengthening His children, there is no room for politics or faking results. All that matters is getting the job done. This is why I am so personally proud to be a member of the Aish community. We are relentlessly honest and that trait can be found in the men and women that make our branches into the strongest, most creative Jewish entities in the world. May the Almighty bless Aish with the ability to fulfill His will while staying true to who we are.

Warm regards and good shabbos!

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