OU West Coast to Present Synagogue Leadership Outreach Seminar, Sunday, April 22, in LA

13 Apr 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 Los Angeles with a special OU Synagogue Leadership Seminar on outreach to be held in memory of Emanuel Stern a”h”, at OU West Coast Headquarters, 9831 West Pico Boulevard, Sunday, April 22, 5:00-8:00 p.m.

The seminar, presented free of charge, is for leadership of OU member synagogues within driving distance from Los Angeles, with rabbis, presidents, executive directors, and board members attending. Yeshiva principals are also invited to participate.

Frank Buchweitz, OU National Director of Community Services and Special Projects, will address congregational leadership on Increasing Membership through Outreach and Developing Volunteers Within the Synagogue.

Dr. Steve Tabak, President, Beth Jacob-Beverly Hills and Andrea Smith, past President, Westwood Kehilla, are the Chairs.

In addition to Frank Buchweitz’s sessions, there will also be a special panel presentation, Outreach Professionals in Our Shuls, which will feature Rabbi Asher Brander, Westwood Kehilla, on adult outreach; Rabbi Effie Goldberg, NCSY West Coast Director, on teen outreach; Rabbi Jason Wiener, Rabbinic Fellow, Young Israel-Century City, on young couples outreach; and Marc Firestone, Aish HaTorah, Los Angeles, on community outreach.

Both Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, Director of OU West Coast, and Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, Director of Community and Synagogue Services for the Region, expressed great enthusiasm about the seminar, explaining that it is a major aspect of a year-long initiative in the Region emphasizing outreach to unaffiliated Jews. “Many OU synagogues have been involved with some form of kiruv for years, even if it wasn’t known by that name,” they said. “For example, Aish HaTorah, an outreach organization in LA, is a proud member of the OU.”

“We are pleased that so much of our local rabbinical talent will be able to share their outreach success stories and techniques with other synagogue leaders in our Region. Our hope is that the result of having additional OU shuls involved with new forms of kiruv will be even more growth for our shuls and communities.”

The OU Synagogue Leadership Seminar 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 to Los Angeles will empower congregational leadership to expand their efforts in this crucial area for our people,” he said.

Pre-registration is required. Contact 310-229-9000 ext. 200, or Westcoast@ou.org.

For more information on the OU’s West Coast outreach initiative contact Rabbi Kalinsky at 310-229-9000 ext. 204 or rakalinsky@ou.org; or Rabbi Korobkin at 310-229-9000 ext. 205 or dkorobkin@ou.org.