In 1974, Rabbi Noach Weinberg, of blessed memory, founded Aish Jerusalem. His goal was to create an international organization to fight the dangers of assimilation and to educate Jews on the greatness of their heritage.
The first branch of Aish Hatorah was started in 1979 in St. Louis, Missouri, staffed by previously non-observant students from Aish Hatorah in Jerusalem. In 1985, Aish Hatorah started the Jerusalem Fellowships program to bring hundreds of young Jews every year to Israel to learn about their country and their heritage.
In 1994, Rabbi Chaim Willis came to Johannesburg from Jerusalem to start a Jerusalem Fellowships program for South Africa.
After two years of successful fellowships programs, Abe Krok, of blessed memory, and Solly Krok donated the seed money to start a branch of Aish Hatorah in Johannesburg. Two young rabbis, Rabbi Yitzchak Sandler and Rabbi Yaakov Couzens began Aish Hatorah South Africa in 1996 in Cyrildene.
Rabbi Chaim Willis moved to Johannesburg in 1998 to expand the program and Rabbi Yisroel Ziskin, of Aish Jerusalem, soon followed. Aish South Africa moved to Norwood in 1998, and then Sandringham in 2006. From that time, our staff and our community has continued to flourish and grow.
From the beginning of Aish in Johannesburg, we have influenced thousands of young Jews to become more involved in their heritage. We have sent over 1,000 Jewish young people on trips to Israel. We have built a thriving community composed mainly of people who became involved in Judaism through Aish Hatorah, many of whom met and married their spouses through Aish.