This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Orthodox Judaism outreach" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject. Please help improve the article by providing more context for the reader. (August 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (August 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Orthodox Jewish outreach, often referred to as Kiruv or Qiruv (Hebrew: קירוב "bringing close"), is the collective work or movement of Orthodox Judaism that reaches out to non-observant Jews to encourage belief in God and living according to Orthodox Jewish law.[1] 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.



Hasidic outreach is predominantly the area of the Chabad and Breslov Hasidic groups; however, other groups have also been involved in such efforts.[citation needed]

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, Sixth 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." Since the 1940s, 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.[2] Chabad led the first Jewish outreach organization in the United States following the Holocaust, to date it remains the most successful with a world wide presence.

The world's first baal teshuva yeshiva for men was Chabad's Hadar Hatorah which opened in New York in 1962 under Rabbi Yisroel Jacobson, and continues to operate today.[3] In the following decade, Chabad established an outreach yeshiva for women, Machon Chana of Crown Heights (founded 1972). Later, Bais Chana Women International (formerly of Minnesota) was founded as well.

Breslov Hasidism is also associated with Orthodox outreach[4] and has a strong presence online.[5]

Other Hasidic groups involved in outreach have included the Bostoner Hasidic dynasty.[6] Bostoner Hasidism was associated with an outreach program.[7]

Haredi and Modern Orthodox

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] Other baal teshuva yeshivas include the Diaspora Yeshiva, founded by Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein in Jerusalem's Old City in 1967,[8] and Dvar Yerushalayim, established in 1970. Orthodox yeshivot for women include Neve Yerushalayim, founded in 1970 in Jerusalem, is an Orthodox school for secular Jewish women seeking a college-level introductory program. Its founder and guiding dean is Rabbi Dr. Dovid Refson. Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller is a teacher at the school for baal teshuva women. Also, EYAHT, College of Jewish Studies for Women, and affiliated with Aish HaTorah was founded in 1982 by Denah Weinberg, wife of Aish HaTorah founder Noah Weinberg.

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. In addition, many Modern Orthodox professors have developed and used a sophisticated modern terminology to present Judaism in a scientific manner. Their books on Jewish sciences are the most readily accessible.[citation needed] In 1987, an organization called National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) was founded by Ephraim Buchwald.

Esther Jungreis was the founder of the international Hineni movement in America and led the group until her death in 2016.[9]

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.[10][11][12]

In Israel, Haredi outreach groups include 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.

Umbrella groups have also been formed including the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals (AJOP) which was established in 1987 to unite and enhance the work of outreach rabbis and their wives.

Several organizations were established along the East Coast of the United States including Project Genesis, a Baltimore-based kiruv effort to increase the numbers of baalei teshuva, a Sephardic-Haredi group known as Kiruv Organization which was founded in 1995 by Yossef Mizrahi in New York, Gateways (organization), and Oorah (organization).

See also


  1. ^ Ben Harris (November 27, 2007). "Focusing on Orthodox outreach". draw nonobservant Jews closer to their heritage
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ "Hadar Hatorah Celebrates Golden Jubilee • - Chabad News, Crown Heights News, Lubavitch – Chabad News, Crown Heights News, Lubavitch News". Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  4. ^ Baumel-Schwartz, J. T. (2014). 10 Orthodox Jewish Women as a Bridge Between Israel and the Diaspora. In Reconsidering Israel-Diaspora Relations (pp. 201-222). Brill.
  5. ^ Abramac, G. (2015). WHAT’S UP WITH WHATSAPP IN THE HAREDI WORLD?. Conflict and Transformation, 153.
  6. ^ Kaufman, D. R. (1995). Engendering orthodoxy: Newly orthodox women and Hasidism. New world Hasidim, 135-159.
  7. ^ Danzger, M. H. (1989). Returning to tradition: The contemporary revival of Orthodox Judaism. Yale University Press.
  8. ^ 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 978-3525542088.
  9. ^ William Grimes (August 26, 2016). "Esther Jungreis, 'the Jewish Billy Graham,' Dies at 80". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Winer, Todd (9 February 1996). "'Hunter' at Kotel Seeks Shabbat Dinner Guests". Chicago Jewish News. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.