OU Presents Outreach Seminar to Congregation Ahavath Achim in Fairfield, Apr 18

30 Mar 2007


In recognition by the Orthodox Union of the immediate need for kiruv (outreach) to the unaffiliated and marginally affiliated in the Jewish community, the OU will bring its expanding kiruv initiative to Fairfield in a special workshop on outreach to be held at Congregation Ahavath Achim, on Wednesday, April 18.

Frank Buchweitz, OU National Director of Community Services and Special Projects, will address congregational leadership with a presentation to discuss the finer details of becoming a kiruv synagogue.

The presentation will explore various aspects of outreach, including who does it; why do it; and the “how-to” of synagogue outreach.

The visit to Congregation Ahavath Achim is one component of a larger OU outreach initiative, “Reaching Out, Changing Lives.” The initiative began at the OU Biennial National Convention in Jerusalem at Thanksgiving, and has had a variety of additional aspects, including Purim and Passover outreach across North America.

“The assimilation rate in the North American Jewish community is very high — latest statistics confirm a rate of 50 percent or above,” Frank Buchweitz declared. “In addition, there are large numbers of unaffiliated or marginally affiliated Jewish individuals and families; we have to do everything in our power to help our Jewish brothers and sisters connect with their heritage.”

“The OU’s visit will empower Congregation Ahavath Achim leadership to expand their efforts in this crucial area for our people. The name of the synagogue can be loosely defined as ‘love of our fellow Jews.’ The leadership seminar will direct this love into action to achieve positive results,” he said.

Terrence Augenbraun is an OU Board Member and Ahavath Achim leader, who with his wife Hedy, moved to Fairfield over 24 years ago. Since then he has been actively involved in outreach through the OU, participating in Shabbat events and programs of NCSY, the OU’s youth division.

“We have learned that outreach is one of the most important community building aspects of a synagogue,” Mr. Augenbraun declared. “This can be a simple greeting to a newcomer on a Shabbat morning; an invitation to our weekly synagogue Kiddush (repast); or a personal invitation to lunch or Shabbat dinner.”

“The younger generation has formed a Young Leadership Union under the direction of Rabbi (Zvi) Engel, and led by Adam and Laurie Breiner,” he continued, “They have refocused our mission to become an outreach leadership synagogue. Hedy and I saw Frank Buchweitz present an overview of his presentation at the OU’s National Convention in Jerusalem, and felt that his leadership, direction and vision would be of great assistance in Ahavath Achim mission.”

“We are hopeful that we can touch a few Jewish souls and bring their families back to enjoy a true Shabbat experience. We know that this will help build a more successful synagogue, day school and community,” Mr. Augenbraun said.

For more information on the OU’s outreach initiative and to participate, contact Frank Buchweitz at 212-613-0667 or frank@ou.org.