At the beginning of the month, Aish UK, Aish UK Essex and JLE sent close to 100 delegates to the Olami Summit 2017. Olami, the global community of Jewish organizations committed to inspiring young Jews about their Judaism, hosted its 2017 Global Summit in Europe, the largest global gathering for young Jews.
During the Summit, Olami announced a brand-new global initiative to honour Israels fallen, and new Regional Ambassadors were chosen to represent Olami across the globe. There were 12 winners of this international leadership award, hailing from Israel, Russia, France, UK, Argentina, South Africa and USA. This included Sacha Johnstone from Aish UK Essex. Sacha together with the other Regional Ambassadors will receive leadership training and travel the world to communicate how they think Judaism inspires Jewish greatness. Continuing from the success of last year Innovation Incubator funding programmes, Olami offered 6 new projects funding this year to pilot their ideas.
The 1,300 delegates from 320 organisations across the globe were joined by some of the most inspirational speakers and thought-leaders from around the world, including Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Dr Akiva Tatz, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau as well as many other Jewish community leaders, philanthropists and educators. The theme for this year’s Summit was Own It, which aims to inspire a global community of young Jews to take ownership of their lives and their Judaism and to give them leadership and innovation opportunities for inspiring their Jewish communities back home.
In keeping with the theme and focus on leadership, the Summit offered several leadership opportunities the first of which is the Innovation Incubator, which is funded by the Olami Foundation. The fund is designed to help finance grass roots initiatives aimed at stimulating Jewish growth, learning and awareness around the world. To date, the program has financed 60 projects with an investment of $10k – $50k per project.
This year delegates were invited to present their ideas for Jewish innovation to the key funders at the Summit and to Olami, pitching for $10,000 from the Innovation Incubator fund to pilot a creative Jewish initiative. Over 40 projects were pitched throughout the weekend, 6 of which were lucky to receive funding to pilot their ideas including Menora from Argentina, who’s Kosher Food Truck will go every lunchtime to universities and places where there are a large number of young Jews in order for Jews to be able to access kosher food during the week at a low cost. Israel’s Nefesh Yehudi’s Ushpizin project, proposed a hospitality app, which will enable Jews visiting Israel from across the world to stay at Jewish households, maintaining the sense of community and belonging for Jews no matter where they are from.
Honor Israel’s Fallen – Yizkereim
The Olami Summit climaxed with the unveiling of Yizkereim, a global initiative to honor the 23,545 fallen soldiers who heroically fought to protect the State of Israel since its creation. Delegates will be encouraged to learn Torah, perform acts of kindness and to engage meaningfully with their Judaism in the merit of their assigned fallen heroes. Olami is now encouraging people from all over the world to sign up to the Yizkereim project and do something positive in the name of all the fallen heroes before Yom Hazikaron 2018.
700 of the delegates, representing 20 different countries across North America, Latin American, FSU and Israel, began their journey in Central and Southern Spain, where they explored the rich history and heritage of the Jewish people. They continued their journey to London and met a further 600 European delegates to take part in the Opening Ceremony. Following the ceremony, which included an address by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, all the 1300 delegates travelled to Birmingham and enjoyed an inspiring, educational and empowering weekend.