Finished Spring Cleaning? Dust Off Your Heritage

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National Jewish Outreach Program Launches Search for 'Priceless' Judaica Across America

The importance of preserving Jewish traditions such as Shabbat, is illustrated by the great care with which we preserve items of Jewish symbolism like candlesticks, Kiddush cups and mezuzahs that have special meaning to us. In NJOP's search for priceless Judaica we hope to show that the essential value of these items is as symbols and vehicles through which we live our lives as Jews.

Whether it is on your dining room table or deep in a box in Aunt Sarah's basement, chances are … your family owns heirloom Judaica* (such as Shabbat candlesticks) and the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) wants to reward you for its safekeeping. On the eve of Shabbat Across America, NJOP (http://www.njop.org) has launched a one-of-its-kind search to uncover priceless Judaica Across America. NJOP will collect images of these items as well as the meaningful stories that accompany them in a search for inspirational tales. Prizes, including a Grand Prize trip to Israel will reward those who share their tales.

"As we prepare for Shabbat Across America which will take place this May 4, we are highlighting the beauty our Jewish heritage and celebrating its preservation," said Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, Founder and Director of the National Jewish Outreach Program. "Like a pair of candlesticks handed down for generations, Shabbat is a priceless gift we have been given - a gift we hope Jews across the nation will dust off and appreciate, for the true value it brings into our homes and our lives."

NJOP is inviting Jewish individuals and families to share images, essays and videos describing how they came to possess these items of Judaica and explaining what makes them meaningful. Entries will be judged for inspirational content, style and uniqueness. The Grand Prize Winner will be chosen from among ten finalists, by a panel of experts in the fields of antiques and Judaica. Select entries may be made available in original form or as video entries in a virtual museum on the NJOP website.

The NJOP search for Judaica Across America is aimed at inspiring unaffiliated Jews to participate in NJOP educational programs including the acclaimed Shabbat Across America campaign to take place on May 4, 2007. The annual continent-wide celebration of the Sabbath has attracted more than half a million participants in the last decade. Other NJOP programs include Read Hebrew America, Crash Course in Basic Judaism and Parents are Teachers.

"At Shabbat Across America events, we hope to show that Shabbat is both age-old and entirely precious and new each week," continued Rabbi Buchwald. "The importance of preserving Jewish traditions such as Shabbat, is illustrated by the great care with which we preserve items of Jewish symbolism like candlesticks, Kiddush cups and mezuzahs that have special meaning to us. In NJOP's search for priceless Judaica we hope to show that the essential value of these items is as symbols and vehicles through which we live our lives as Jews."

NJOP will welcome entries throughout the year, highlighting interesting stories on http://www.njop.org.

To Enter:
•Submit at least one photo of your prized possession along with an essay (up to 500 words) explaining how you came to possess it and why the item is priceless to you and your family.
•You may instead submit a video (video clips must be emailed or sent in DVD format; VHS and other tapes will not be accepted) entry of up to 3 minutes in length showcasing the item and explaining how you came to possess it and why it is priceless to you and your family.
•When possible, include images of any special markings, dates or emblems on your item.
•You must include an entry form along with all entries.
•Mail entries to National Jewish Outreach Program, Judaica Across America, 989 Sixth Ave, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018.
•Deadline to enter is December 31, 2007.
•You can contact the National Jewish Outreach Program at 646-871-4444.

Complete rules and the entry form can be found at http://www.njop.org.

About the National Jewish Outreach Program
Founded in 1987 by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald to address the critical issue of lack of Jewish knowledge, NJOP is now one of the largest and most successful Jewish outreach organizations in the world. To date, more than 930,000 people have benefited from NJOP's innovative, free programs which have been held in 3,650 locations--including synagogues, community centers, military bases and college campuses--in all 50 states, nine Canadian provinces and 35 countries around the world. (http://www.njop.org).

  • Examples of Judaica:

•Shabbat candlesticks
•Kiddush cups
•Mezuzahs
•Torahs, Prayer books, Bibles
•Seder plates
•Challah covers

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