From Searching for Answers to Spreading Light: Native Baltimorean Yoshi Rosenbluth's Journey of Inspiration (Photos)

By AISH/Rafael Poch
Posted on 04/02/24 | News Source: AISH

Jerusalem, Israel - Apr. 2, 2024  - After learning at Aish, Yoshi Rosenbluth was inspired to fight for the Jewish people.

Yoshi grew up in a modern-orthodox community but felt that he was missing some of the foundational elements and was left with many questions that launched his search for meaning. He moved with his family from Baltimore, MD to Israel when he was 15, but then back to the U.S. after completing his mandatory military service. “I got stuck in the United States for over a year when Covid-19 hit and I was searching for answers to some very fundamental questions about faith. I realized that I had some catching up to do. I was acting Jewish, but I wasn’t understanding a lot of it, so I made a conscious choice to explore it on a deeper level," Rosenbluth explained.

“I began listening to podcasts on Jewish History from Rabbi Yaakov Wolbe and I devoured everything I could, but I still had too many questions. I was delving into questions about G-d and free will as these issues were causing me a struggle of faith that I couldn’t get past. A lot of people told me to turn to Aish to find some answers,” he said.

When Rosenbluth was allowed to travel, he came to Jerusalem and enrolled in the Aish Foundations program. Typically, Aish's Foundations program is geared towards Jews from unaffiliated backgrounds, but Rosenbluth wasn't a typical student. "I needed to do some catching up," he said. “I immersed myself in the studies, attending lectures in the Foundations program and hearing from master educators like Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits. These lectures opened my eyes to how much I still didn’t know but made me feel that it was okay to ask and to struggle with questions, even if I didn’t have all the answers.”

Yoshi with Rabbi Yaakov Wolbe

The impact was profound. “One of the core values I was taught was to be real with myself and with God, I understood what Shabbat was in terms of the laws to follow, I understood the rituals but I didn’t understand the meaning behind them. As someone who has to be real with himself and can’t simply follow the herd, I had to understand what I was doing and why I was doing it. That is what brought me to Aish, and that is why I stayed,” Rosenbluth said.

With his winning personality and newfound passion for Jewish learning, Rosenbluth was asked to be a counselor for the Foundations program. "As we grow, our growth isn't limited to us - it raises the world around us," he reflected. He has inspired many of the other students and sometime later his younger brother also joined Aish and was a student in the EFG program.

"Aish changed my life," Rosenbluth stated plainly.

Fighting in Gaza

On October 7th, Yoshi was called up to reserve duty in the IDF. “I served for several months, without any break,” he recounted. “The first month I served outside of Gaza, the next month I was in Gaza.” His stint in the IDF during recent Gaza conflicts only strengthened his drive to spread light amid the darkness.

"When I was released from the army for a month-long break, two things were difficult for me - the war was still going on and I wasn’t there fighting it, and I needed to figure out what to do next to make sure that this never happens again,” Rosenbluth said. “The real war was one that we were fighting amongst ourselves. So much hatred between Jews had been expressed before the war. We were fighting each other left and right, and I thought that the real war was against our divisiveness, I wanted to fight that war and bring people together."

"This is a 2,000-year-old war against baseless hatred and division among Jews," Rosenbluth asserts. "Evil talk brings destruction and hate. To solve this, we need real unity, which doesn’t mean that we have to agree with one another on everything, it means we have to learn how to disagree respectfully while still loving one another."

Speaking to audiences in the US

Rosenbluth, who has a talent for juggling, went on to perform for wives and children of IDF soldiers who, like him, had been away from their families for over four months. He joined Rabbi Wolbe for one of his podcasts and then went on a self-promoted U.S. speaking tour talking about his experiences in the army and the importance of clean speech. During the tour, which Rosenbluth organized and paid for himself, he purchased books on clean speech and sold them at cost. He also made clean speech swag at his own cost and handed those out for free. In one month, he flew to the U.S., spoke at over 30 schools about the importance of clean speech, and inspired hundreds of youngsters to work on their understanding of how they can build bridges instead of causing hate. “I understood that to be real for myself and fight the war at its core, I needed to stop the root problem at its core, and that was baseless hatred,” Rosenbluth explained. “If we stand united as a people, then we will win this war, and being united starts by talking kindly about one another and staying away from hateful speech. We have to be responsible for one another, that is another important value they teach at Aish. I felt that I had the ability and therefore the responsibility to spread this message, so I did.”

Now Rosenbluth is back in the IDF serving his country once again, this time protecting Israel’s northern border. As soon as he is finished he hopes to go on another speaking tour across the U.S. to continue inspiring people to work together, clean up their speech, and stop hatred.

In one month, he flew to the U.S., spoke at over 30 schools about the importance of clean speech, and inspired hundreds of youngsters to work on their understanding of how they can build bridges instead of causing hate.

Rosenbluth carries the torch lit by Aish's worldview of thinking Jewishly to live inspired with head and heart. His odyssey reflects the profound impact one person can have in helping hundreds of young adults discover the vibrancy and depth of their heritage.

"Judaism isn't just a bunch of rituals, it's a mindset for living a fulfilling life," he affirms. In helping kindle that mindset, igniting both intellectual and spiritual passions, Aish has empowered Rosenbluth and countless others to shine their light outward. "I have still so much to learn and also look forward to returning to the yeshiva to continue learning. At the same time, we are in the middle of a war and everyone is obligated to do whatever they can to make a difference. Thankfully I am in a position where I can tackle one of the roots of the war – baseless hatred. Being able to live with every fellow Jew in a united manner and talk kindly with one another, will bring about true victory."

For 50 years, Aish has been at the forefront of imparting timeless Jewish wisdom, uplifting and inspiring people like Yoshi to live more thoughtful, spiritual, and impactful lives.

In the wake of October 7th, we are living in unsettling and difficult times. Now more than ever, we need your help to continue our mission. Together, we can turn the tide of hatred and continue to inspire more fellow Jews. By joining hands and hearts, we aim to raise $4,000,000 to fuel the Aish mission, strengthening Jewish identity and Jewish pride online and in person. Please click here to donate.

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