OLAM Talks: Looking for doses of Jewish inspiration?

Watch inspiring talks from Jewish scholars, Rabbis & international development practitioners on the intersection of Jewish values and global responsibility, and their personal calls to global justice.

Dr. Georgette Bennett, Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees

From Budapest to Syria: A Jewish Journey from Displacement to Activism

Dr. Georgette Bennett is an award-winning sociologist, widely published author, popular lecturer, and former broadcast journalist. An innovative and entrepreneurial leader, she is an active philanthropist focusing on conflict resolution and intergroup relations. In 2013, Bennett founded the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA) and has since worked to raise awareness and mobilize more than $130 million of humanitarian aid on behalf of Syrian war victims. In 1992, she founded the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. She is also a co-founder of the Global Covenant of Religions/Global Covenant Partners, which focuses on delegitimizing the use of religion to justify violence and extremism. Bennett served in the U.S. State Department Religion and Foreign Policy initiative’s working group on conflict mitigation, tasked with developing recommendations for the U.S. Secretary of State on countering religion-based violence. She serves as Chair of the Jewish Funders Network and on the Boards of the International Rescue Committee and Third Way. In addition, she is an Advisory Board member for the Milstein Center on Interreligious Dialogue at the Jewish Theological Seminary and NYU’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. In November, Bennett was awarded the AARP Purpose Prize for her work with MFA.

Rabba Yaffa Epstein, The Wexner Foundation

And Moses Saw There Was No Other Person: The Jewish Imperative to See and Respond to the Pain of The Other

Rabba Yaffa Epstein is the Director of the Wexner Heritage Program at The Wexner Foundation. In that role, she oversees the curriculum design, program structure, and leadership experience for the dynamic volunteer leaders who take part in the program throughout North America. Yaffa has also served as a faculty member for the Wexner Heritage Program since 2015. She most recently served as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies where she implemented a comprehensive educational vision for advancement of the institute in North America. A member of the faculty for Pardes since 2004, Yaffa has also taught at Yeshivat Maharat, the Drisha Institute, the Dorot Fellowship, and Young Judaea on Talmud, Jewish liturgy, Jewish law, constructive disagreement, leadership and women in Judaism. She has served as a Scholar in Residence for organizations such as Moishe House, JFNA, The Covenant Foundation, Nahum Goldmann Fellowship, Repair the World, Meorot Fellowship, KADIMA Fellowship, and the Jewish Education Project. Yaffa received Orthodox Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University. She has lectured at Limmud Events around the world, has written curriculum for the Global Day of Jewish Learning and has created innovative educational programming for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

Rabbi David Jaffe, Inside Out Wisdom and Action

Changing the World from the Inside Out: Jewish Spiritual Wisdom for Sustaining Social Change

Rabbi David Jaffe leads the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project, which integrates Jewish spiritual wisdom with social change. He is the author of Changing the World from the Inside Out, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. David teaches Mussar and Chassidic practice widely throughout the United States. He was a founding board member of Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps and teaches in many Jewish leadership and social justice fellowship programs. He lives in Sharon, MA, USA/Wampanoag tribal land.

Rabbi Yedidyah Sinclair, Hazon

The little known story of how a Kabbalah student founded the solar industry, and why it matters for climate change

Rabbi Yedidya Sinclair serves as Senior Rabbinic Scholar at Hazon, the leading US Jewish environmental organization. From 2011-16 he was Vice President for Research and Senior Economist at Energiya Global, a Jerusalem-based solar energy company focused on Africa, and he continues to consult for renewable energy and climate resilience projects. Yedidya was previously Campus Rabbi at Cambridge University where he also taught in the Divinity School. In 2014 he published together with Hazon, a translation of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook’s great work on shmitta, the Sabbatical year, “Introduction to Shabbat Ha’aretz.” Trained as an economist, Yedidya holds a BA from Oxford University, an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and lives with his family in Jerusalem.