Come Closer to Hashem: The Inaugural InReach Conference


yitzchok-lowenbraun“I was afraid I had offended Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l,” recalls Rabbi Yitzchok Lowenbraun. “He was always smiling, and when I answered his question, he suddenly became serious. I began wondering if I had said something wrong.

“He had asked what I do,” recalls Rabbi Lowenbraun, the director of the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals (AJOP), “and I replied that I work with baalei teshuvah.

“A moment later, still serious, he answered me: ‘Mir zenen aleh baalei teshuvah. Oib nisht, darf men zein. (We’re all baalei teshuvah, and if we’re not, we should be).'”

Today, 20 years later, the gadol‘s words ring in Rabbi Lowenbraun’s ears as he prepares to introduce the Inaugural InReach Conference.

“The fact is, people are starting to look inwards like never before,” Rabbi Lowenbraun comments.

“There is a growing interest in discussing Yiddishkeit,” Rabbi Lowenbraun continues, “and in understanding what Hashem wants from us. At one time, you didn’t hear so much discussion about strengthening one’s connection to Yiddishkeit. Today it’s becoming universal. We all have to come closer to Hashem, and we have to bring the people around us closer, too.”

That’s a tall order, but Rabbi Lowenbraun insists that it’s all within reach.


Klal Yisroel today is confronting some of its toughest challenges,” Rabbi Lowenbraun says. “The yeitzer hara, in its many forms, has torn apart Jewish families and affected every community. We need new tools to confront today’s challenges. That starts with taking a good close look at our spiritual needs, and it starts at the Inaugural InReach Conference.

“The InReach Conference puts a new twist on these discussions,” he explains. “It focuses on the urgent need to strengthen emunah and dedication to Torah and mitzvos among those who are already religious and committed. It’s important to recognize that this starts with you. Before you can positively influence your spouse, kids, or neighbors, you must first begin you own spiritual journey closer to Hashem. The InReach Conference is intended to be practical, not just inspirational.”

Noted speaker and educator Rabbi Jonathon Rietti is slated to appear at the conference and speak on the topic of “Coming Closer to Hashem.”

“‘In-reach’ is fast becoming a priority for Klal Yisroel,” states Rabbi Rietti. “We need to reinforce our machaneh. It’s important to reach out to the non-Orthodox. But we must also see to it that we and our children are inspired and excited about our Yiddishkeit.”

“People who are committed to the spiritual growth of their families might find the InReach Conference to be an invaluable resource,” says Rabbi Rietti.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier, the founder of Tiferes Bnei Torah and, will speak at the InReach Conference about “Coming Closer to Yourself.”

“On many levels, the Torah world is flourishing,” observes Rabbi Shafier. “Yet, if you watch the way many of our talmidim daven, you see a different picture. It seems that we are doing a great job at teaching Torah skills and knowledge, but the reason behind it all – the yiras Shomayim – may be lacking.”

Rabbi Shafier expressed hope that the InReach Conference will help people reinvigorate their own connection to Hashem, so they can have a positive influence on those around them.

“Simply put,” Rabbi Lowenbraun says, “you don’t have to be a baal teshuvah to do teshuvah. Today, kiruv is for every Jewish person, everywhere.”

The InReach Conference brings together an exciting line-up of over thirty popular speakers in a day-long event, under a single roof and for a reasonable flat price.

And while the speaker list is still in formation, the roster so far includes Rabbi Mordechai Becher, Rabbi Eliyahu Bergstein, Dr. David Lieberman, Rebbetzin Lori Palatnik, Dr. David Pelcovitz, Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, Rabbi Bentzion Shafier, Rabbi Bentzion Twerski, Rabbi Mordechai Twerski, and others.

Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, rosh yeshiva of the Philadelphia Yeshiva, will address the conference as well.

Each speaker, in his or her own way, will pound away at a simple but urgent topic: being mekarev yourself and helping those around you do the same.

The inaugural InReach Conference will be held on Sunday, 20 Teves/January 15, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Stamford, CT. The hotel is easily accessible by public or private transportation. The registration price of $36 includes admission to the conference lectures and lunch. For more information and to register, visit or call 973.597.1552 or 973.597.1553.

“The InReach Conference is for people who want to come closer to Hashem and want to bring their families, friends and neighbors with them,” Rabbi Lowenbraun explains. “Some people need help feeling excited about their Yiddishkeit. Many people are already excited about it and want to share the excitement with others. The InReach Conference is for all of them.”

{Noam Newscenter}



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