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JewishJournal.com

October 3, 2002

Torah Outreach Develops Programs for Underserved

http://www.jewishjournal.com/articles/item/torah_outreach_develops_programs_for_underserved_20021004

The Torah Outreach Program, an independent Placentia-based nonprofit organization, will attempt to offer educational programs for unaffiliated Orange County Jews without the stigma of a denominational orientation.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, the Torah Outreach Program's first speaker, will discuss "The Committed Life -- Priorities to Live By," on Nov. 10 at Irvine's Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School. A child inmate of Bergen-Belsen, Jungreis is an author, lecturer and founder of New York's Hineni Heritage Center.

Torah Outreach Program's aim is to serve as an educational resource that could be tapped for help by overly scheduled congregational rabbis and to develop programs for those who are underserved, such as the county's Russian immigrant community, said Rabbi Ben Geiger, 27, Torah Outreach Program's director.

Geiger, the former associate rabbi of Irvine's Beth Jacob Congregation, said the inspiration to establish the program came from three congregation members, Michael Lapin, Basil Luck and Michel Hassan. The trio are the group's founding board and its principle financial backers.

Five other U.S. communities are also affiliates of Jerusalem-based Torah Outreach Program. Grass-roots supporters independently fund each, Geiger said.

Geiger, who also teaches Tarbut eighth-graders about the early prophets, said he will continue to teach classes on the Torah portion and at lunchtime that were his responsibility at Beth Jacob. "We're not looking to duplicate; there is a lot of room," he said.

For more information, please call (714) 996-7301.

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