Olami delegates tour Jewish sites in Spain.
(photo credit: DANIELLE MANSON)
The Global Jewish organization Olami has launched an international initiative to honor the 23,545 soldiers who have died fighting for the State of Israel since its establishment in 1948.
Named Yizkereim (remember them), the initiative was launched at the end of an Olami summit on Monday and was opened up to the wider public on Thursday in a bid to encourage further involvement.
The project encourages Jewish students to select a soldier to honor via information available on the Olami website, and in the soldier’s memory, to learn Torah, perform acts of kindness and to engage meaningfully with their Judaism.
All of the 1,300 students who attended the recent Olami summit, hailing from 19 countries, have signed up for the project, which will culminate in a ceremony held in Israel on Remembrance Day.
Israeli leaders who have endorsed the project include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett and former chief rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau.
“I want to congratulate Olami on its project to remember our fallen soldiers who paid the greatest price for our freedom, to defend our people and our State,” President Reuven Rivlin said. “This project brings light in place of darkness. I hope that together at this wonderful conference you will feel the special bond between us and take away much strength.”
Rabbi Menachem Detusche, CEO of Olami (which means “my world”) said: “We all have an obligation to perpetuate the memory of the 23,545 IDF soldiers and security force [personnel] who sacrificed their lives for Israel’s existence, allowing us the privilege of celebrating its upcoming 70th anniversary.”
President Reuven Rivlin encourages Jewish students across the world to participate in Remembrance Day project. (YouTube/David Markowitz)
The annual week-long Olami summit was attended by delegates from North America, Latin America, the former Soviet Union, Europe and Israel. It began in Spain where delegates explored their Jewish heritage, continuing in the UK, from London to Birmingham. Bennett and Lau were among the MKs, Jewish community leaders, philanthropists and educators who joined them in Birmingham.
The theme of the summit was “Own It,” and sought to inspire a global community of young Jews with leadership and innovation opportunities they could take to their Jewish communities back home.
Fifteen regional ambassadors were chosen to represent Olami across the globe, who will receive leadership training and travel the world to communicate how they think Judaism inspires Jewish greatness.