Photos: Shabbos Inspired – The Inaugural Project Inspire Toronto Convention


toronto-project-inspire-7By Gavriel Horan

[Photos below.] Shabbos Vayishlach, over 400 Toronto residents came together for the Inaugural Project Inspire Toronto Convention hosted in the Days Hotel and Conference Centre. Over the past two years, thousands of people from across North America have attended Project Inspire’s Annual International Convention in the Tri-State area, but never before has such a massive event been hosted for a single city.

The event was attended by Rabbi Zev Leff Shlita, Rav of Moshav Matisyahu, world renowned “maggid” Rabbi Paysach Krohn, international lecturer Mr. Charlie Harary as well as local Rabbanim Rabbis Moshe Mordechai Lowy and Rabbi Daniel Korobkin and the Project Inspire New York team. Prayers were led by the Traveling Chassidim–a group of Chassidim hailing from Monsey and Boro Park, NY, who journey to far flung communities to run Shabbatons for less affiliated Jews.

“Having 400 people at a Project Inspire convention in Toronto is equivalent to having 4,000 people in the Tri-State area,” event host Rabbi Yaakov Solomon said. Rabbi Solomon is a noted Aish and Project Inspire lecturer, author, and psychotherapist. “This was a phenomenon that is the prototype of what a convention needs to be in the kiruv movement – but it is only just the beginning!”

Project Inspire, a project of Aish International, was founded to fulfill the dream Rav Noach Weinberg zt”l to inspire frum Jews across North America to share the beauty of Judaism with their less-affiliated neighbors, family members, and co-workers. Their goal is to create a grassroots movement within the Orthodox community to ultimately change the Jewish world. Project Inspire’s mission statement is that you don’t need to be a ‘kiruv professional’ to reach out to nonfrum Jews–you just have to care. In just a few short years, Project Inspire has inspired thousands of observant Jews to impact the lives of countless others, and through simple acts, kind words, and Shabbos invitations, thousands of people have been brought closer to Judaism.

Some highlights of the event included the fiery davening led by the Traveling Chassidim, and speeches from Rabbi Zev Leff and Rabbi Paysach Krohn. Rabbi Zev Leff explained that the mitzvah of kiruv is not a “newfangled obligation” by quoting sources from Rabbi Yaakov Emden and the Shelah Hakadosh, whom he emphasized were not employees of Aish. “If a single letter of the sefer Torah is missing the entire Torah is invalid,” he said. “So too if a single Jew is disconnected from Torah, we are not complete.”

In his usual manner, Rabbi Krohn had the audience laughing and crying throughout his entire talk. He quoted a line in a book that “anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only Hashem can count the apples in a seed,” explaining that the purpose of this Shabbos was to get people to become the “planters of seeds.” To back this up, Rabbi Moshe Zionce, Director of Project Inspire Toronto, asked local partners to get up and share their stories of how they have reached out to nonfrum Jews, planting seeds that may someday give forth fruit. Local community member, Mr. Amir Dodek, shared the story of how he invited 50 of his non-frum neighbors to a barbeque in his yard. The connections that were made there are still continuing to flourish.

Shabbos concluded with the Traveling Chassidim’s trademark musical Havdollah and Melave Malka kumzits that had everyone singing and dancing until well past one in the morning. At least 100 additional community members arrived motzei Shabbos bringing the numbers up to a whopping 500! The excitement of hundreds of Jews uniting for the common goal of impacting klal Yisrael was unparalleled.

The session concluded with a call to action by Rabbi Chaim Sampson, International Director of Project Inspire, who urged the audience to use the upcoming holiday of Chanukah as an opportunity to reach out to our unaffiliated brethren.

“The event drew the most enthusiastic, talented segment of the population,” Rabbi Aaron Hoch, the Rav of the Village Shul in Toronto, said. “They have the ability to change the entire city. Many have already begun strategizing opportunities in their own neighborhoods as to how they can reach their less affiliated neighbors.”

Project Inspire’s third Annual National Kiruv Convention will be held on the 24th of February at the Stamford Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Connecticut.

To learn how you can get more involved with Project Inspire, to help organize a similar event in your community, or to register for the upcoming Annual Tri-State Convention contact:; call: (646)-291-6191; or visit:

See below for photos:

{ Newscenter/Photos: Melnick Studios Toronto, Canada}