Dear Aish Family,

I hope all of you enjoyed the recent Jewish holiday season. We could not have been busier in Jerusalem and around the world. The Jewish community has come to rely on Aish, whether it be online or through our classes, to enhance their knowledge of how to properly celebrate.

There is one conversation that I had shortly before Rosh HaShana that I want to relay to all of you. From time to time when young men are leaving the Yeshiva to go back home they reach out to speak to me about their experience at Aish. These talks are extremely important for me. Many times I receive good feedback as to what we are doing right and, of course, what we can improve upon.

I never cease to be inspired by the young men that decide to take time off from work or school and invest in their Jewish future. One student from Southern California emailed me to get together. Even though it was a hectic time, we met on the Yeshiva porch in the midst of building the Sukkah.

This young man started by explaining that although he wasn’t brought up with a strong commitment to Judaism he has always been pro-Israel. So much so that he became very active in the pro-Israel community on his campus. As a result, he was chosen to lead a mission of non-Jews to Israel so they could get to know and love our country.

The mission happened to fall out during the holiday of Purim. Naturally, when the participants saw the carnival atmosphere in the streets of Jerusalem they started to ask questions about Purim. This young man was extremely embarrassed that he did not know how to answer their questions about the costumes and festivities.

Right then and there he took a commitment upon himself that he would return to Israel and seek to understand his Jewish heritage. As a result, he came to Aish HaTorah to learn about Torah. Although he was apprehensive the first time he walked into our Beis Medrash (Study Hall) he quickly found our teachers and students to be warm and friendly. He told me that he was going home as not only pro-Israel but pro-Jewish as well!

Support for Israel is crucial to our nation. It becomes so much stronger when we understand our customs and traditions. The Almighty chose Israel as the Jewish homeland thousands of years ago. We must study the Torah every day to understand why this small country in the Middle East surrounded by enemies is crucial for Jewish survival. Aish HaTorah will make sure that our doors remain wide open to the pro-Israel community for anyone that wants to come and study the Almighty’s wisdom.

Warm regards and good shabbos!

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