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 taking concrete action, a community of change-makers can make a real difference.

Our Vision:

A global Jewish people that supports and partners with vulnerable communities in developing countries in order to foster a more just and compassionate world for all.

Our Mission:

OLAM is a network of 65+ Jewish and Israeli organizations working in the fields of global service, international development, and humanitarian aid. Inspired by Jewish values and committed to high ethical standards, OLAM convenes and mobilizes leaders and organizations to take meaningful action in support of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Our Goals:

  1. To inspire, educate, and empower Jewish leaders to become champions for global service, international development, and humanitarian aid
  2. To bring together Jewish and Israeli global service, international development, and humanitarian aid practitioners to network, learn, and pursue ethical best practices
  3. To increase the visibility of our partners and global issues in the Jewish community

Our Values

OLAM is a network 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. Though OLAM does not vet the work of our partner organizations, we strive to be a space for continuous learning, adapting, and growing, particularly around reaching ethical standards in our work.

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 those living in developing countries, 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 developing countries as well as towards the volunteers, professionals, and organizations working with them. Our role is to champion and support their efforts. We believe in fostering sustainability, providing opportunities to encourage local leadership and ownership, and amplifying voices of the most marginalized.

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.