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.

Yael Shapira

Program Director

Yael is from Jerusalem and is currently based in Washington, DC. She has worked to support international development programs through a variety of NGOs, with a focus on providing access to education for marginalized populations. She has lived in Niger, India, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Switzerland, in addition to working and traveling in other countries. Prior to OLAM, Yael planned Learning Tours for European Parliamentarians at CARE.

Yael has a BA in International Relations from Boston University and an MA in International Education and Development from the George Washington University.

Georgina Bye

UK Community Manager

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 Operations Manager

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 an 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 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.