Our Story

Hunger. Poverty. Disease. The challenges of the world are large, complex and multidimensional. No one can tackle them alone. But by combining resources, we can make a real difference.

As a global Jewish people, we have a moral imperative to address the world’s most pressing challenges. We cannot stand idly by. We must take action.

OLAM is a broad coalition of partner organizations, working together to raise awareness in the global Jewish community of the importance of supporting the world’s most vulnerable communities and to improve the quality of our work on the ground.

Our Vision:

A global Jewish people who embrace service and international development efforts to support communities in need around the world.

Our Mission:

To provide a shared platform to promote “global Jewish service” – volunteering and service learning, international development, and social justice advocacy – by convening the field, connecting people, and communicating about the work.

Our Activities:

Communication

Together with our partner organizations, we raise awareness in the global Jewish community of the multitude of ways to support vulnerable peoples in developing countries in a Jewish or Israeli context.

  1. We will showcase our partners’ work and signpost a variety of opportunities for people to get involved in it.
  2. At conferences, we will raise the profile of our partners and of the field as a whole.
  3. We will organize and lead study tours for key influencers such as funders, rabbis, teachers and academics.
  4. We will promote thought leadership in the space, curating and creating content that explores the intersection of Jewish values, service and international development.

Connection

We build connections between our partner organizations to facilitate learning and to strengthen the field’s work.

  1. We will offer online learning opportunities.
  2. We will connect our partners with expert advisors for one-time or ongoing consultation.
  3. We will provide travel subsidies for professional development or collaboration sessions.

Convening

We offer regular, structured opportunities for the field to meet, explore and learn from one another. Our annual summit, a multi-day event in the field, will focus on issues specific to the rotating host country. Together, we leverage our knowledge to create greater impact on the ground.

Our Staff

Dyonna Ginsburg

Executive Director

Prior to OLAM, Dyonna served as Director of Education and Service Learning at The Jewish Agency; Executive Director of Bema'aglei Tzedek, an Israeli social change NGO; and co-founder of Siach, a global network of Jewish social justice and environmental professionals. She has a BA in International Relations from Columbia University and an MA in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. A frequent lecturer, she was named "one of Israel's 50 most inspiring women" by Nashim magazine in 2015.

Shani Rosenbaum

Program Manager

Shani is originally from Seattle, WA and holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. Following a year as a Dorot Fellow in Israel, she served as Program Coordinator for Encounter, an educational NGO fostering constructive engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Jewish community. She has also worked with Bema’aglei Tzedek and with the Hotline for Migrants and Refugees, and has pursued advanced Talmud study at Midreshet Lindenbaum and at Beit Midrash Matan.

Georgina Bye

UK Coordinator

Georgina is from London and prior to joining OLAM was the Leadership and Training Director for UJS. She has been heavily involved in building inclusive, cross-communal community both through her work and through Moishe House London. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Leeds and is a seasoned Jewish educator, presenting frequently at Limmud conference. She is also involved with March of the Living UK, leading trips for young people to visit Poland to learn about the Holocaust.

In addition to Georgina's responsibilities at OLAM, she also supports the complementary work of JDC Entwine to engage young UK adults in global Jewish and humanitarian issues and to advance the global Jewish service movement.

Ariel Cohen

Communications and Administrative Assistant

Ariel is a new Olah originally from New York City. She got her BA in History and International Development and Conflict Resolution from the University of Maryland and just completed her MA in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from Tel Aviv University. Previous to joining OLAM, Ariel was an intern for Kav LaOved—Workers Hotline and The Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C. Additionally, she was a participant in Yahel Israel Service Learning through Onward Israel and Hillel Alternative Breaks.

Our Board

Lyn Chasen

Lyn Chasen is a former Assistant Dean for the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park. She led the Jewish Social Service Agency of Maryland as the President of the Board of Directors and has served as the President of Washington Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood and on the Executive Board of the Congregation. Lyn chaired the first Women's Initiative for the United Way of the National Capital Region and has served on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and as a consultant to the Alliance for Global Good.

Lisa Eisen

As Vice President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and director of its DC office, Lisa Eisen spearheads initiatives that empower young Jews to embrace the joy of Judaism, build inclusive Jewish communities, support the State of Israel and repair the world. A nationally recognized leader in philanthropy, Jewish service and Israel advocacy, Lisa serves on the boards of Repair the World, the iCenter, the Israel Institute, BBYO and Project Interchange Seminars in Israel.

Shoshana Boyd Gelfand

Shoshana Boyd Gelfand is the Director of JHub, an operating programme of the London-based Pears Foundation. An ordained rabbi, she is a teacher, speaker and writer on leadership and social change, particularly from a faith perspective. Shoshana appears regularly on BBC Radio 2 “Pause for Thought” and is a frequent speaker at conferences, including TEDxJerusalem, Limmud, Greenbelt, and the Cambridge CoExist Leadership Programme. She is the author of The Barefoot Book of Jewish Folk Tales.

Our Funders

A Letter from Our Funders

Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change. Schusterman pursues its mission by working collaboratively with others to support and operate high-quality education, Jewish identity development, leadership training and service programs designed to help young people cultivate their growth as individuals and leaders.

Pears Foundation

Pears Foundation is an independent British family foundation rooted in Jewish values. Led by the Pears family with the support of a full-time professional team, Pears Foundation’s activities are focused on understanding complex issues, engaging people in achieving social progress and promoting wellbeing. Pears Foundation invests around £15million each year in a wide range of charitable organisations and causes, remaining closely involved with their partners to support and guide them in the pursuit of their goals.

Alliance for Global Good

The Alliance for Global Good, founded by Mr. Leonard Kaplan, believes that people want a better and more secure world for future generations. The AFGG builds partnerships to innovate, model, leverage and scale efforts to meet global challenges. AFGG has been engaged in a variety of projects: rural energy centers, neonatal clinics, women's health collaboratives and solar energy, water and irrigation technologies. OLAM is the centerpiece of AFGG's vision of 21st Century Tikkun Olam.

Our Strategic Partners

Repair The World

Repair the World inspires American Jews to give their time and effort to serve those in need. We aim to make service a defining part of American Jewish life. Nationally, Repair's campaigns mobilize people around the country to volunteer and engage in deep issue-based conversation. On the grassroots-level, our flagship program Repair the World Communities offers young adults the opportunity to spend a year mobilizing their peers to serve alongside them.

Society for International Development Israel Branch

SID-Israel is a nonprofit that aims to galvanize Israeli society to broad involvement in the field of international development and foreign aid through a platform for joint action and dialogue. SID promotes and advances study, professional trainings, capacity-building and local and international networking and acts to create an enabling environment for individuals, organizations, and government agencies in Israel in the field of international development and aid work.

Our Values

OLAM is a broad coalition united by a set of common values:

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The challenges of the world are large, complex and multidimensional. No one funder, organization or person can tackle them alone. Only by combining resources, wisdom and expertise can we make a real difference.

A ‘big tent’ approach.

People act for different reasons.  We bring together individuals and institutions with different motivations around a shared commitment to improve the quality and integrity of our work with vulnerable communities.

Diverse ways to act.

There are many ways to serve the world’s most vulnerable communities, from a Jewish place and in a Jewish context, including: volunteering, interning, pursuing a career in the field, donating money, taking action online, lobbying governmental representatives, and starting or investing in a social impact business. All have a role in improving the world.

Multiple circles of responsibility.

As Jews, we have a responsibility to serve the needs of vulnerable communities at home, in Israel and around the world, whether Jewish or non-Jewish. OLAM’s work, which focuses on benefiting non-Jewish communities, particularly in the developing world, is one piece of this puzzle.

Humility and respect.

We feel a deep sense of humility towards the wisdom and experience of local communities in the developing world as well as towards the volunteers, professionals and organizations working with them. Our role is to champion, support and amplify their efforts, as well as to provide opportunities for ongoing learning.

Deep and authentic Jewish conversations.

Jewish tradition, values, history and culture have much to contribute to contemporary thinking about global issues. They can spur deep, authentic and action-driven conversations about Jewish responsibility to the wider world.

Israel as a resource.

Israel’s own recent experience as a developing country can provide substantial solutions for the developing world. There is value in Israelis and Jews from around the world working together, alongside others, to address global concerns. Not all ways of doing this work involve Israel, nor should they. But Israel, with its knowledge and resources, should play an integral role in global Jewish efforts to improve the world.