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The National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) was established by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald in 1987, in response to the urgent need to address the critical issue of the spiraling losses of Jews from Jewish life due to assimilation and lack of Jewish knowledge. Since its founding, NJOP has become one of the largest and most successful outreach programs in the world.

NJOP reaches out to unaffiliated Jews by offering positive, joyous, Jewish experiences and meaningful educational opportunities. An independent, non-denominational and non-profit organization, NJOP is dedicated to providing a basic Jewish education for every Jew. To this end, NJOP currently sponsors free "Crash Courses" in Hebrew Reading, Basic Judaism and Jewish History, “Turn Friday Night Into Shabbat,” Beginners Services, Read Hebrew America/Canada, and Shabbat Across America/Canada at more than 3,829 locations across North America, and in 39 countries worldwide. NJOP has successfully reached more than 1,120,500 North American Jews, and countless more around the globe, and engaged them in Jewish life.


HistoryEdit

Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, ordained by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik of Yeshiva University, created the National Jewish Outreach Program in 1987, as a means of expanding nationally and internationally the successful outreach programs he had successfully developed and implemented as the Educational Director at Lincoln Square Synagogue. It is his belief that most Jews are walking away from their Judaism out of ignorance and that unaffiliated and marginally-affiliated Jews could, and would, be drawn back into Jewish life through bold marketing of exciting and meaningful programs such as Crash Courses in Hebrew Reading, Basic Judaism and Turn Friday Night Into Shabbat.

In the early years, NJOP invested a great deal of time and effort contacting synagogues and Jewish centers throughout the United States and Canada, encouraging them to offer NJOP’s basic, beginner-level programming. All programs are offered to the synagogues and Jewish organizations free of charge and include teacher/leader guidebooks, participant material and advertising flyers. In North America alone NJOP has conducted programs with 3,829 synagogues, temples, educational institutions and other Jewish organizations.

In 1997, NJOP created a buzz throughout the Jewish world with its first-ever SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA/CANADA program, mobilizing 395 synagogues in cities across North America that agreed to host NJOP’s Turn Friday Night Into Shabbat program on the same Friday night (April 4) to create a virtual “national community” among the participants. The next year (1998), NJOP repeated its success by transforming individual, local Hebrew reading programs into READ HEBREW AMERICA/CANADA, a cross-continental Hebrew literacy campaign designed to help participants feel more comfortable with the language of the synagogue.

By introducing cutting-edge marketing techniques, NJOP helped set a new standard for outreach marketing. Using toll free numbers, clever radio ads and jingles, billboards and other bold media outlets, NJOP demonstrated the need for Jewish organizations to "think outside the box" when looking to attract new members/participants. Not content to rest on its laurels, NJOP was one of the earliest Jewish organizations to have an active presence on the web via its own informational website www.njop.org[1] and is keeping up with the latest internet marketing techniques, developing a host of internet and social media venues (see Social Media section below).

Having completed its 22nd year, NJOP is proud to note that it has reached well over one million North American Jews, engaging them in Jewish life.

NJOP Classes and ProgramsEdit

NJOP currently has a broad inventory of effective, user-friendly educational programs available at minimal or no charge to synagogues and Jewish centers across North America.

Annual and Year Round ProgramsEdit

Read Hebrew America/CanadaEdit

Each year during the month of November, more than ten thousand North American Jewish adults gather in hundreds of locations to learn to read Hebrew-- the language of the Jewish people! READ HEBREW AMERICA/CANADA is the ideal way to learn how to follow synagogue services, for parents to be more involved in their children's Jewish education, or simply to enhance one’s own ties to Judaism. These five, free, hour and a half lessons are available for beginners and intermediates.

NJOP’s acclaimed mnemonic Hebrew alphabet chart and Hebrew teaching curriculum have been adopted in schools and classes throughout the world.

Hebrew Reading Crash Course (HRCC)Edit

Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level IEdit

Through the Crash Course, more than 220,000* North American Jews have already learned to read Hebrew. Designed for Jews with little or no background in Hebrew, the free Hebrew Reading Crash Course concentrates on teaching the Hebrew alphabet and basic reading skills. Participants receive a free copy of NJOP's acclaimed Reishith Binah Hebrew primer and learn to read Hebrew in only five 1-1/2 hour weekly sessions. The Hebrew Reading Crash Course may very well be NJOP’s most successful and effective outreach program, bringing more unaffiliated and marginally affiliated Jews back to synagogue worship and to Jewish life than any other program.

One Day ReviewEdit

The One Day Review is a follow-up course to the Level I Hebrew Reading Crash Course. It is designed to help HRCC graduates brush up on their skills before the holidays or before going on to Level II.

Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level IIEdit

The Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level II is offered to HRCC Level I participants who wish to advance their Hebrew reading and comprehension skills. Several workbooks based on the Jewish holiday liturgy are available for this course.

Hebrew Writing Crash CourseEdit

The perfect follow-up to any Hebrew Reading Crash Course, NJOP’s Hebrew Writing Crash Course is a 3 hour class specially developed to give students the additional skill of block Hebrew writing while reinforcing the reading skills they learned in HRCC. - As of January 2010

Shabbat Across America/Canada (SAA/C)Edit

In an unparalleled display of Jewish unity and Ahavat Yisrael (love for all Jews), NJOP’s SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA/CANADA program is designed to provide every North American Jew with a “taste” of Shabbat.! Acclaimed as one of the most popular events on the Jewish communal calendar, SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA/CANADA brings thousands of Jews together on the same Friday night to spend the evening with like-minded people who seek to know more about Judaism. Its interactive prayer service and Shabbat dinner complete with song, ritual and lively discussion have inspired many to a greater appreciation for the Jewish day of rest. The fun-filled evening of camaraderie also results in unifying Jews everywhere as one people. More than 793,000* people have participated in SAA/C and its predecessor, Turn Friday Night Into Shabbos. - As of January 2010

Crash Course in Basic Judaism (CCBJ)Edit

This free, high-energy, five-week lecture series provides a basic introduction to Jewish philosophy and observance, covering the following topics: Belief in G-d, Prayer, The Sabbath, Jewish Observance and Sexuality.

Crash Course in Jewish History (CCJH)Edit

The popular crash course is an exciting virtual journey of 4,000 years of Jewish History. The great ideas and events that shaped the Jewish nation are highlighted and analyzed. Each week a different time period of Jewish history is explored. Topics include: 1) Biblical Times, 2) From a United Kingdom to Exile, 3) The Jewish Epicenter Moves West, 4) Jews Enter and React to the Modern Era: From Enlightenment to World War I, and 5) Holocaust and Renewal: 1933 to the Present. A timeline of Jewish history and illustrative maps are included, as well as a free follow-up sourcebook for additional study and insight.

Shabbat Beginners (Learners) ServiceEdit

Designed specifically for the novice worshipper, this free explanatory prayer service is conducted in both Hebrew and English, and provides a comfortable, non-judgmental venue for those with little or no synagogue experience who wish to participate in traditional synagogue services. Discussions, questions and queries are encouraged in this "unorthodox, traditional" service, which has been praised for its widespread appeal and congenial approach to synagogue education.

Parents are Teachers (P.A.T.)Edit

P.A.T. is the NJOP initiative designed to encourage the parents of Hebrew/religious school students to enroll in a remarkable continuing education program, and learn more about their Judaism. By gaining and mastering basic Hebrew learning skills, these parents will certainly be in a better position to reinforce their children's Jewish studies.

Holiday programsEdit

High Holiday Beginners ServiceEdit

This exciting service for novice worshipers has been offered in synagogues throughout the world. Sponsoring congregations have attracted as many as 600 attendees and as few as 20, but all have met with resounding success. The High Holiday Beginners Services are designed to be a place where no one feels inadequate or intimidated.

Abridged High Holiday Beginners ServiceEdit

The Abridged High Holiday Beginners Service was developed to address the needs of Jews who feel that they are unable to attend full day services for the High Holidays. Designed to last no longer than 1½ - 2 hours, the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Abridged Service offers a sampling of the High Holiday Prayer Service, interspersed with explanations, interesting stories and thoughts to help set the tone for the day.

High Holiday Prayer WorkshopEdit

The High Holiday Prayer Workshop is designed for those who seek to uncover meaning in a service that they find difficult to relate to and hard to understand. Based on the Abridged High Holiday Beginners Service, the Prayer Workshop takes an in-depth look at some of the basic prayers of the High Holiday Services to help participants understand why specific prayers were composed and included in the liturgy.

Sukkot WorkshopEdit

The Sukkot holiday is known as the Time of Our Rejoicing and is a festival with a wide variety of delightful and joyous mitzvot (observances). For many Jews, however, the holiday of Sukkot is neglected and forgotten in the shadows of the High Holidays. NJOP’s interactive Sukkot Workshop is designed to illuminate the holiday by addressing common questions, looking at source materials and providing in-depth answers.

Sukkot Across AmericaEdit

The SUKKOT ACROSS AMERICA campaign is designed to encourage synagogues across the country to open their sukkot to the general Jewish community and, hopefully, inspire visitors to become more engaged in Jewish life. Usually conducted on the Sunday of Chol Hamoed (the interim days of the holiday), SUKKOT ACROSS AMERICA is often a simple social gathering– with attractive desserts and refreshments provided, along with entertainment and/or music. It may also include an educational component, such as NJOP's Sukkot Workshop to help enhance the joyous Sukkot experience.

Chanukah WorkshopEdit

An interactive educational program for adults that provides copious source material, raises provocative questions and offers illuminating answers about the observance of the Chanukah festival. This discussion-based workshop may also serve as a most effective parent-child bonding experience.

Chanukah: Rekindling Jewish SpiritualityEdit

This special video presentation, featuring a dynamic talk delivered by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, hopes to inspire viewers to rededicate themselves to Jewish learning and living. Rekindling Jewish Spirituality is about the impact of assimilation on all our lives. It encourages the listeners to step outside the pressures of society and find joy and inspiration in Jewish life and practice—and, in turn, to share it with friends and family.

Passover Across America (PAA)Edit

The PAA Communal Outreach Seder enables synagogues and Jewish organizations to offer an actual hands-on, explanatory Seder to Jews with limited religious backgrounds. It is designed to help participants develop a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the Seder's customs and rituals. All participants receive NJOP’s free Beginners Passover Haggadah.

Model SederEdit

For every question...there must be an opportunity to find the answer. Sadly, many North American Jews no longer know the questions, let alone understand the answers given at the Seder. They feel confused with the directions, disconnected from the story being told, and lost in the Hebrew. NJOP's Model Seder Guide enables leaders to walk participants through a dry-run of the Seder in an enjoyable, informative and open atmosphere.

Passover WorkshopEdit

Jews today have far more than four questions, and NJOP's Passover Workshop starts the process of answering some of those questions through this lively interactive workshop experience.

NJOP and Social MediaEdit

Jewish Treats and Twitter.com/JewishTweets

NJOP’s presence on Twitter.com, known as “JewishTweets,” was launched in April March 2008. One of the first Jewish organizations on Twitter, JewishTweets provides the Twitter community with information on Jewish themes, like Jews in the news, the holidays, Shabbat candle-lighting and NJOP programming opportunities.

Jewish Treats” is a daily email, often referred to as “Daily Candy” for Jews. Each business day, subscribers receive a “Juicy Bit of Judaism” broken down into three bite-sized areas of content: Jewish Idea, Jewish Action, and Jewish Prayer.

JewishTreats and JewishTweets work in tandem. In their short history, Jewish Treats and JewishTweets have developed a large and loyal following.

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