I note with sorrow the passing of a pioneer in outreach, HaRav Noach Weinberg. He passed away in Israel this morning after an unsuccessful battle with cancer.
Rav Weinberg was the brother of Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva of Ner Israel Rabbinical College. He was also the founder of Aish HaTorah, a Kiruv organization based in Jerusalem with branches all over the world. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that his organization has brought many thousands of Jews to Torah and Mitzvah observance.
I never met him. But one of my oldest friends, Rabbi Zvi Block of Los Angeles did. He was head of Aish HaTorah of Los Angeles for many years and had a very strong relationship with him. I recall Rabbi Block telling me how much Rav Weinberg enjoyed being treated by him to a day at Disneyland on one of his many visits to Los Angeles. He was truly a man who knew how relate to unaffiliated Jews and never forgot how to enjoy life.
Though some of his methods were at times questioned by some rabbinic leaders, no one would doubt his sincerity. Every fiber of his being was L’Shem Shamyim – for the sake of Heaven. And his great successes by far outweigh any criticism he got.
There is a brief obituary of him at the Aish Website. I join them in mourning their loss. My deepest sympathies to them and to Rabbi Weinberg's family.