OTS Amiel BaKehila, a program of Ohr Torah Stone (OTS), is an initiative run under the auspices of Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs aimed at empowering Jewish communities around the world through Jewish education, Israel engagement, and Jewish arts and culture.
Working with small and mid-sized communities around the world, the program brings dynamic programming, speakers and educators to unite, excite, and connect Jews to their local community and to the State of Israel. Since its inception last year, OTS Amiel BaKehila has run 50 missions to 25 communities. More than 130 delegates have participated, running more than 1,025 activities and reaching more than 32,000 people.
Members of the 50th delegation included Rabbi Reuven Spolter, Director of OTS Amiel BaKehila; as well as journalist Lital Shemesh, anchor of the evening news on Israel’s Channel 20; and C.J. Glass, a Jazz musician who has appeared on the Israeli television program "The Voice."
"The 50th mission of OTS Amiel BaKehila is a celebration of empowering Jews and enhancing Jewish life in small and mid-sized communities around the world," said OTS Amiel BaKehila Director Rabbi Reuven Spolter. "Communities of this size unfortunately are not a regular stop for many dynamic educators and speakers from Israel because they are off the beaten track and in some cases also difficult to reach. Through this program we aim to fill the gap by providing a special and comprehensive experience for community members with a thirst for learning and connection. We are gratified as we launch our second year with an expanded mandate to reach an additional 43 communities throughout North America, South America and Europe."
"A core value at Ohr Torah Stone is making a decades-long impact on the Jewish world through our trained rabbinic and educational emissaries' engaging and inspiring hundreds of thousands to explore, cherish and connect to their Jewish roots and heritage," said President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone, Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander. "The OTS Amiel BaKehila program is another extension of that vision of global responsibility to the world Jewish community."
OTS Amiel BaKehila delegations consist of an educator, an Israel Engager and a Jewish artist whose mission is to unite, excite and connect the community members to their local community and to the State of Israel. Delegation members are fluent in the language and culture of the community, so that they can relate to and communicate with community members and the community members understand them.
In its first year of operation, OTS Amiel Bakehila sent three-person delegations six times a year to 25 small and mid-sized communities in three continents – seven in Europe; six in North America; 12 in Latin America (see full list below). Now entering its second year, the success of the program has brought about expansion to 43 additional locations including a number of small communities in the Marseilles, France and Lausanne, Switzerland regions; small and mid-sized communities in the United Kingdom; Providence, RI, Overland Park, KA, Columbus, OH, Long Branch, NJ, San Antonio, TX, and Santa Fe, NM in the USA; and Corrientes, Córdoba, Chaco, Paraná, Santa Fe and Rosario in South America.