Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Dream Big, Work Hard

Esther Teichtal

If Rabbi Naftali Schiff, CEO of Aish UK, learned one lesson from his mentor Rav Noah, it was to think big, to know that each of us bears responsibility for the Jewish People, and to realize that everyone can change the world. For the last two decades, Rabbi Schiff has taken up his rebbi’s challenge and planned his strategy: to reach every Jew in England.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The epiphany struck him on the last night of the program. A crowd of jean-clad, multi-ringed, guitar-strumming youngsters sat cross-legged in a circle, enjoying the unique camaraderie that develops while on an organized tour. Someone passed around a microphone, and participants were asked to articulate what they had gained from the buzz of recent weeks. “A month ago,” admitted one young man, somewhat haltingly, “I could barely admit to myself where I came from, let alone to the world. Today I can honestly say — I feel proud to be Jewish!” The microphone advanced through the room, and each shared confidence revealed an impact. Someone else told of daily letters he had been receiving from his non-Jewish girlfriend throughout the summer. He now carried home a strong resolution, he said, only to marry Jewish. Sitting on the edge of the circle, program director Rabbi Naftali Schiff imbibed the words with a growing thrill. “Growing up frum, I had never before mixed with unaffiliated youngsters whose idea of a Friday night out was so far removed from the concept of Shabbos,” he says. That first summer of the Jerusalem Fellowship program he saw the problem, and the potential, clearly. “As much as that summer was a wake-up call for the students, it was a turning point in my life. Every single student who described how the program affected him made me realize this was something I had to do. I felt an enormous sense of responsibility. There was no turning back.” A quick glance through frum publications of the past few years will tell anyone who wants to know the sad, alarming truth. Journalists, outreach workers, frum-from-birthers, and baalei teshuvah alike appear to be united in their view: Kiruv is a slowly dying enterprise. Increasing techno-gadgetry, diminishing attention spans, and an alarming descent into moral relativity are all chipping away at what once seemed invincible — intellectual truths and their power to inspire a Yid. But a meeting withRabbiNaftaliSchiff, CEO of Aish UK and founder of the Jewish Futures Trust, an incubator of dynamic, cutting-edge projects whose goal is to spread innovation throughout the Jewish Diaspora, indicates otherwise.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you