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Every Jew Is Precious

by Tamar Rabinowitz

Recognition at Aish Partners’ Conference

“Every single Jew must have the opportunity to learn Torah, and Aish HaTorah is that flame to reach everyone around the world, to reach Jews who don’t know about their heritage,” exclaimed Rabbi Steven Burg, director general of Aish HaTorah, in his address to the 1,000 attendees from around the world at the 18th annual Aish Partners’ Conference recently in Stamford, Connecticut.

Rabbi Burg continued, “It is not complicated to be a Jew. It’s about getting close to G-d, and He gave us the Torah as a tool to get close to Him.” In his keynote address to branch leaders, college students, Aish program alumni, educators, lay leaders, and partners, Rabbi Burg assured, “It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, if you think you are the greatest Jew in the world or think you are the worst Jew in the world; you have what to give, and you have to give it.”

Panel of chief rabbis at Aish Conference on motzaei Shabbos

Rabbi Burg outlined the tremendous growth of Aish in the last two years, including the increased enrollment in the yeshiva, the expanded online education on Aish.com, the priority of expanding women’s programming, and the goal of training 15 rabbis a year as ambassadors around the globe to strengthen Jewish identity. In addition, Aish is increasing its missions to Israel to include a “Level 2 Aish Destiny” program to allow Jews who have already had a “taste” of Israel to return for a significant time to study Torah.

He celebrated the Aish branch leaders who are “in the trenches,” reaching Jews every day. Rabbi Nisso and Rebbetzin Yaffa Palti and Rabbi Marcelo and Rebbetzin Marjorie Melnick received special recognition for their work in creating a new Aish branch in San Diego and Buenos Aires. Rabbi Meir Rosenberg, director of Aish Latin America, with numerous new branches in Central and South America, introduced Rabbi Arturo Kanner, director of Aish Mexico. Rabbi Kanner, a talented and brilliant innovator, showcased his “personal growth app,” bringing the Spanish-speaking population (and eventually English-speaking) around the world to increased self-awareness.

Rav Yisrael Meir Lau at Aish HaTorah conference

Chaired by Mr. Allen Isaac Gross, chairman and CEO of GFI Capital Resources Group, the Partners’ Conference featured keynote addresses and a leadership panel discussion with Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau, former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, and Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa and founder of the worldwide Shabbos Project. In addition to a sampling of the world-renowned Aish educators and programs, the agenda included an address by Justice Richard Bernstein, a proudly Jewish, blind judge who serves on the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Bernstein, who makes it a point to learn at the Aish HaTorah Dan Family World Center whenever he is in Israel, lauded Aish for the superior education imparted by its world-class lecturers. Breakout sessions included Aish’s trademark Discovery sessions and the teachings of Aish’s beloved Rav Noach Weinberg, zt’l, founder and visionary of Aish HaTorah.

The full magnitude of Aish HaTorah’s success in reaching tens of thousands of unaffiliated Jews around the globe was apparent throughout the weekend, as delegates from as far as India and Chile attested to the impact that Aish has made on their lives.

Rabbi Burg concluded, “Aish HaTorah is a movement of the Jewish people. Like the Jewish people, Aish HaTorah will fight for what is right, and we will never leave a Jew behind.”


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