(Courtesy of Aish) U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides was confirmed just three months ago and is still spending time meeting many around the country. He made an introductory visit to the Dan Family Aish World Center on Tuesday, February 8 to become more familiar with Aish’s work with Jews around the world and to receive a brief tour of the iconic building and rooftop view.
In a private meeting with Aish Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits and Aish CEO Rabbi Steven Burg, he learned about Aish’s new strategic plan to engage three million Jews in learning Jewish wisdom over the next 10 years. The ambassador asked about Aish’s students, its various programs, and global reach.
While first meeting Aish senior staff, he met briefly with Jonah Schachter, from Teaneck, a student in the Aish Gesher gap year program, whose parents know the ambassador. Jonah is the founder of Project RSPCT (Recreational Sports Promoting Cultural Tolerance) at Frisch, his former high school.
The ambassador’s first visit also included a brief talk with Aish Educational Director Rav Eitiel Goldwicht on Aish’s renowned rooftop. Rabbi Goldwicht gave the ambassador the background and context to the Aish World Center, and the sanctity of Jerusalem and the Western Wall to the Jewish people.
Ambassador Nides was gifted with a photo taken from the Aish rooftop during the recent snowfall in Jerusalem, and a kippah which he wore to make a brief stop to pray at the Kotel before leaving the Old City. Plans for future visits have already been discussed.
U.S. Embassy spokesperson Kristin Stewart thanked Aish for making Ambassador Nides’ first visit a success. “Your steadfast educational efforts, along with hosting thousands of American students over the years keeps US-Israel ties strong for future generations, “ said Stewart. “Today was the first of more great visits to come!”
The ambassador also visited the Western Wall Heritage Foundation as part of his visit to the Old City, including a meeting with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall.