Our Story

“It is not upon you to finish the work, but you are not free to ignore it.” (Mishna, Ethics, 2:16)

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

Hunger, poverty, healthcare: the challenges of the world are vast and multidimensional. No one can tackle them alone. But through collaboration and connection, sharing resources and raising our collective voices, a community of change-makers can make a real difference.

Our Vision:

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

Our Mission:

To foster a diverse community committed to engaging the Jewish world in global service and international development as an expression of Jewish values.

Our Goals:

  1. To connect Jewish individuals and organizations working in global service and international development
  2. To communicate the value of global service and international development to key influencers in the Jewish world
  3. To convene stakeholders to galvanize Jewish commitment to global service and international development

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.