ABOUT US

Simply put, the purpose of the Olam Institute is to help move religion toward a constructive, healthy future–perhaps even modeling in part what the future of religion could look like. 
 
Our activities center on facilitating education and dialog on the internet, at educational institutions, and in the community. As you can see on our Current and Future projects pages, we plan to continue producing educational material online and via podcasts, help fund a range of religious course offerings at universities, as well as supporting activities in the community. 
 
We are affiliated with no particular denomination, religion, or religious organization. We take religion and spirituality seriously, respecting and incorporating both insider perspectives as well as academic and Humanist approaches. 
 

Specifically, the Olam Institute aims to make the following contributions:

Creation of online educational content. Currently the primary production of the Olam Institute is a Sunday School podcast that approaches scripture from a faithful and academic perspective.  We have other content planned including a Humanism podcast, websites, and online courses.

Cooperation with universities to improve religious education offerings. We hope to help fund and increase Religious Studies course offerings at the university level, as well as making videos of courses available online.

Organizing of community lectures and events. The Olam Institute envisions a broad spectrum of projects to improve religion and religious education at the community level. Our goals range from sponsoring lectures and organizing conferences to the ultimate objective of establishing Religious Humanist denominations.

We are currently in the process of acquiring 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

 

What does Olam Mean?

“Olam” is a powerfully rich Hebrew word. It means “world” as well as “age”, as in “this age” and the “age to come”. The “age to come”, “ha olam ha ba”, refers to the Messianic Era when all would be set right in the world. It also means “eternity”; the English “forever and ever” translates the Hebrew “leOlam ve ad”. 

Most significant for the founding of the Olam Institute is the Jewish concept of “tikkun Olam”, which means “repairing the world”. Specifically, it refers to our responsibility as humans to carry out the divine work of doing all we can to heal the world–heal ourselves, heal our relationships, heal the environment itself.