Orthodox Judaism outreach

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Orthodox Jewish outreach, often referred to as Kiruv or Keruv (Hebrew: קירוב , קֵרוּב‬ "bringing close"), is the collective work or movement of Orthodox Judaism that reaches out to non-Orthodox Jews to encourage belief in God and living according to Orthodox Jewish law. The process of a Jew becoming more observant of Orthodox Judaism is called teshuva ("return" in Hebrew) making the "returnee" a baal teshuva ("master of return"). Orthodox Jewish outreach has worked to enhance the rise of the baal teshuva movement.



The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the founding of the non-Hasidic, Haredi institutions that eventually became the Aish HaTorah, Ohr Somayach, and Machon Shlomo yeshivas.[citation needed]

Rabbi Noah Weinberg was one of the pioneers of this movement with Aish HaTorah.[citation needed] Ohr Somayach has also played a major role in the baal teshuva movement through its education of generations of students.[citation needed]

The world's first baal teshuva yeshiva for men was Hadar Hatorah which opened in New York in 1962 under Rabbi Yisroel Jacobson, and continues to operate today.[1] Other baal teshuva yeshivas include the Diaspora Yeshiva, founded by Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein in Jerusalem's Old City in 1967,[2] and Dvar Yerushalayim, established in 1970. Baal teshuva yeshivas for women include Neve Yerushalayim, founded in 1970, and EYAHT, affiliated with Aish HaTorah and founded in 1982.

Concurrent with the opening of baal teshuva learning programs in Israel in the 1970s, a small number of Orthodox outreach workers began approaching English-speaking, college-age students visiting the Western Wall and inviting them to experience a Shabbat meal with a host family or to check out one of the baal teshuva yeshivas. These outreach workers included Rabbi Meir Schuster, Baruch Levine, and, beginning in 1982, Jeff Seidel.[3][4][5]

Modern Orthodox[edit]

Within Modern Orthodox Judaism, the Union of Orthodox Congregations created the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) to reach Jewish teenagers in public schools.[citation needed] Founded by Rabbi Pinchas Stolper the movement also developed its in-house literature geared to the newly observant mainly written by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.[citation needed]


In 1987, an organization called National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) was founded by Ephraim Buchwald.


Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, 6th leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch branch of Hasidic Judaism, and then his successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson were responsible for turning Chabad's activities toward outreach.[citation needed] Each in turn sent out rabbinic emissaries, known as "Shluchim", and their wives to settle in places across the world solely for the purpose of teaching those who did not receive a Jewish education or to inspire those who did. The vehicle chosen for this was termed a "Chabad house."

Chabad has been active in reaching out to Jews through its synagogues and communal institutions, as well as more direct outreach efforts, such as its Mitzvah tanks. The organization has been recognized as using free holiday services to reach out across denominations.[6]


Association for Jewish Outreach Programs[edit]

The Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals (AJOP) was established in 1987 to unite and enhance the work of outreach rabbis and their wives.

Kiruv Organisation[edit]

The Kiruv Organisation was founded in 1995 by Yossef Mizrahi in New York for the purpose of connecting Jews to Judaism and Torah, and teaching musar.[7]

Project Genesis[edit]

Project Genesis is a Baltimore-based kiruv effort to increase the numbers of baalei teshuva.

Lev Echad[edit]

Lev Echad is an Israel-based umbrella organization for the Lev outreach network to develop and facilitate innovative Torah educational programs in Israel and abroad.

Jewish women[edit]

United States[edit]

Esther Jungreis was the founder of the international Hineni movement in America (Until her passing August 23, 2016).[citation needed]


Day schools[edit]

Torah Umesorah: The National Society for Hebrew Day Schools was founded by Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz. It is an American Orthodox organization which has opened hundreds of day schools and provides resources to many different Orthodox Jewish day schools. It has an outreach effort called Partners In Torah whereby volunteer Orthodox men and women learn on the phone for an hour a week with a non-Orthodox study-partner. A similar program run by Chabad is called Jnet. Torah Umesorah also sponsors the SEED Program whereby young Yeshiva students spend a few weeks during their summers teaching, this is similar to the Chabad Lubavitch "peace corps" which are Yeshiva-student pairs that visit remote Jewish communities over the summers to help develop Jewish communities by teaching.


The following lists are not meant to be definitive, they are just a sampling of prominent personalities mainly in Israel and America.

Haredi (non-Hasidic)[edit]


  • Rabbi Nachman Bulman. Pioneer educator, orator, author, translator, and builder of Jewish communities in America and Israel; later a dean of Yeshivas Ohr Somayach.
  • Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb. A baal teshuva himself and a Bostoner Hasid, author and lecturer at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach.


  • Rabbi Shlomo Cunin. Prominent leader of Chabad activities in California. Directed the first Chabad House.
  • Rabbi Manis Friedman. Notable Chabad thinker and lecturer. Dean of an important women's seminary for newly-religious women.
  • Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner. Pioneer and builder of the Melbourne Australian Jewish community through Jewish outreach activities.
  • Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky. Roving Chabad rabbi and noted speaker. Directs development of the global Chabad-Lubavitch emissary network.
  • Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff. Head Shliach for Chabad Lubavitch in Texas and executive board member of Agudas Chasidei Chabad.
  • Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902–1994). The seventh Rebbe of Chabad Lubavitch hasidism. He established a vast international educational, outreach, and community-building movement. In over 40 years, he inspired about 5,000 young men and women to become rabbis and rebbitzins (a name for a rabbi's wife) as his personal emissaries all over the world, with the goal of exposing and attracting non-religious Jews towards Judaism, as well as opening schools, mikvehs, synagogues, yeshivahs, etc. This campaign has had notable success, as a large portion of Lubavitch hasidim today are baalei teshuvah or children of baal teshuva parents. After Schneerson's death in 1994 his hassidim continue his work and hundreds of new emissaries continue to leave for even the remotest places.

Modern Orthodox and Religious Zionist[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hadar Hatorah Celebrates Golden Jubilee • CrownHeights.info - Chabad News, Crown Heights News, Lubavitch NewsCrownHeights.info – Chabad News, Crown Heights News, Lubavitch News". crownheights.info. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  2. ^ Lange, Armin; Diethard Romheld, K. F.; Weigol, Matthias (2011). Judaism and Crisis: Crisis as a catalyst in Jewish cultural history. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 330. ISBN 3525542089.
  3. ^ Winer, Todd (9 February 1996). "'Hunter' at Kotel Seeks Shabbat Dinner Guests". Chicago Jewish News. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  4. ^ Rossoff, Dovid (2001). Where Heaven Touches Earth: Jewish Life in Jerusalem from Medieval Times to the Present (Revised ed.). Feldheim Publishers. p. 537. ISBN 0873068793.
  5. ^ Pensak, Margie (27 December 2014). "BJL Exclusive: Jeff Seidel and Yohanan Danziger Miraculously Escape Jerusalem Arab Stoning Unharmed". Baltimore Jewish Life. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  6. ^ Fishkoff, Sue. "‘Praying without paying’ becoming a more popular option among shuls", Texas Jewish Post. Accessed September 22, 2007. "Many people credit Chabad-Lubavitch with spearheading the movement for free holiday services across the denominational spectrum."
  7. ^ Hebrew Musar (מוּסַר), from the book of Proverbs 1:2 meaning moral conduct, discipline, instruction.
  8. ^ Caviness, Rochelle. "Why Be Jewish? Intermarriage, Assimilation, and Alienation". The Jewish Eye.

External links[edit]