When I first moved to NYC after college in 2002, a higher-up at the temp services company I was working for told me to go to a Shabbat dinner at Aish. I, the entry level sales girl, sat across from JPMorgan VP’s and entrepreneurs and tried to fit in. As it turned out, it wasn’t so hard to fit in. I’m Jewish, and that’s the point at Aish. Years later, Tzippora Harris’s 40-day prayer class helped me move to Israel and marry my bashert. The stuff they teach at Aish Center is just powerful. Life changing, no joke.
When I made aliyah in 2006, I made it on an Aish trip with Rabbi Harris. Robin Carus and I woke up early every morning to pray at the kotel. One guy on the trip, Craig, was so inspired, he moved to Israel and has been learning at the Aish Yeshiva Israel for years. The next year R. Harris asked me to be a madricha on the Aish NY trip to Israel. Shmuel and I got to lead our first big Jewish Shabbat dinner, and we came home at midnight to a smoke-filled apartment; my first attempt at making cholent had nearly burned the place down!
Needless to say, with all of these adventures behind us, we were thrilled to work again with Rabbi Harris and the Aish Center NY team to make this video. Their flexibility was tested when I went into early labor a week before Shmuel’s flight to NY was scheduled! We rescheduled without a hitch, and the Harrises were kind enough to provide Shmuel with the best in kosher New York City lodging: a room in their home! I was so jealous!
We had a blast working on this project and the three related videos for the Aish Center NY honorees. I finally got to meet the Gottesmans a few weeks ago at Danny Kaufman’s simcha; they are just another example of amazing people who found Aish and got inspired! Every day we have R. Weinberg, who started Aish and was its Rosh Yeshiva until his passing this past week, to thank for all of our adventures in Yiddishkeit and in living a meaningful life. He will be sorely missed.
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