Rabbi Menachem Deutsch grew up in Dallas, TX and was educated in yeshivas in Denver, New York and Israel. He received his rabbinical ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, MD. In 1987, he founded ASK (the Atlanta Scholars Kollel), an outreach organization that he led for over two decades. He left ASK in 2010 to become the director of Olami’s North American region and subsequently served as Olami’s CEO for 6 years. Sensing the enormous potential of outreach to teens, he recently stepped down from that role in order to found Olami Launch, the Olami division focused on teens. He and his wife Dena live in Atlanta, GA and they wonder why none of their children or grandchildren live there.
Over the last two decades, Rabbi Yehuda Maryles has become a well-known educator and outreach professional. Yehuda has his Semicha from Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried of DATA Kollel, a degree in Psychology, and an associates in Jewish Law. Yehuda used his musical talents producing JEP LI’s hit Jewish album “I’m A Jew” in 2008. As North American Director of Olami Launch, Yehuda’s energy, creativity, and passion for Torah Education, are clearly evident in all of his work.
Rabbi Avi Weber has been deeply involved in the world of High School Jewish education for the past 15 years. Rabbi Weber has held numerous positions including Rabbi and Director of Israel Guidance at DRS Yeshiva Highschool, Teen Youth Director at the Young Israel of Woodmere and the Director of the Teen program in Camp Kaylie. Rabbi Weber’s passion for creative curriculum and teen leadership development is what drives his involvement in the exciting Olami Launch program.
Mrs. Rachelli Krongold lives with her husband and children in Toronto Canada. She is the Gap Year Specialist for NCSY Canada and works alongside her husband with NCSY Alumni providing education, trips and programming.
Meira Spivak is the director of Oregon NCSY, where over the past 16 years she has been developing Jewish educational programming for teens and parents. Additionally, she serves as the director of Camp Kesher, a growing summer camp in the Pacific Northwest. Meira helps companies solve strategic problems through her Results Driven Innovation workshops. Using the Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) method of creativity, Meira can teach anyone how to innovate on demand – after all, creativity is a skill that can be learned. In her past life, Meira was a caterer, aerobics instructor and owned a gift basket business. As a mother of a large family, Meira understands the stresses of everyday life and when she’s not busy stressing from them, she’s laughing at them.
Danielle Sudwerts has been an educator for 20 years. She has specialized in Jewish outreach and at risk youth. She is the owner of a dance and fitness studio and has founded Nafsheinu Seminary for Girls. She is currently serving as the Gap Year Specialist for NY NCSY and Olami Launch, a coach for the Seriously Souled program and a Senior Guide for Oorah’s Girl Zone. Danielle lives with her husband and children in Far Rockaway, NY.
Olami Launch is a groundbreaking program for Jewish high school students who demonstrate a strong desire to grow as individuals and to truly unlock their Jewish greatness. Our Fellowship Program offers high-level leadership training, a weekend retreat in Utah and a trip to Israel for exceptional high-school seniors who wish to learn more about themselves and their Jewish heritage. We also provide informational assistance, guidance and significant financial aid towards select Gap Year experiences in Israel. Olami Launch participants serve as role models and Jewish ambassadors for their peers in high school and beyond.
Olami Launch Fellows are preapproved for the $4,000 scholarship towards eligible Gap Year programs in Israel. Fellows who attend an eligible Gap year Program will also receive a 500 Shekel stipend.
Olami Launch is not a youth group, it’s an elite group of driven individuals assisting each other to build a strong portfolio for their future. Joining this group enables you to make thoughtful decisions about your future, with like-minded peers who are on that same road leading to affluence inside and out! This prestigious network of model students who embody young Jewish leadership will be privy to professional, educational, spiritual and financial opportunities unlike ever before.
Jewish High School students currently in 11th Grade may apply to become fellows for their 12th Grade academic year.
All applications must be submitted by August 1st.
Being a Fellow is a commitment to attend:
Olami Launch Fellowship is free for those students who are accepted. There is a travel fee of $100 for the Utah Trip (flights included) and $400 for the Israel trip (flights included from New York).
Absolutely not, final decisions regarding Gap Year should be made in collaboration with parents, career counselors and Gap Year Specialists. We are here to simply educate and support our fellows in their exploration of a Gap Year in Israel.
Israel is a country rich in history, culture, and traditions. A gap year in Israel can provide an immersive experience where you can learn firsthand about your homeland, Jewish culture, and Israel’s rich heritage and history.
A gap year in Israel can be a transformative experience that helps you gain a better understanding of yourself and your place in the world. It can also provide opportunities for personal growth, developing independence, leadership skills, and self-confidence.
Israel is a country where Hebrew is the official language, and learning the language can be a valuable asset in your personal and professional life. A gap year in Israel can provide an immersive language experience where you can learn Hebrew from native speakers.
Israel is a country that values community service and volunteerism. A gap year in Israel can provide opportunities to participate in meaningful community service projects that make a positive impact on society and your people.
Israel is the birthplace of Judaism, and a gap year in Israel can provide opportunities for Jewish education and experiential learning. You can learn about Jewish history, culture, and tradition from leading scholars and educators where it all began thousands of years ago.
As well as being one the tech capitals of the world, Israel is often referred to as the “Startup Nation” due to its thriving startup ecosystem. A gap year in Israel can provide valuable career development opportunities, such as internships, networking, and job placement assistance.
Israel is a small country with a diverse landscape, including beaches, mountains, and deserts. A gap year in Israel can provide opportunities for travel and adventure, including hiking, camping, and exploring ancient sites.
Israel is a melting pot of cultures, religions, and nationalities. A gap year in Israel can provide opportunities for cross-cultural exchange, where you can learn about different perspectives and ways of life. What better culture to learn from then one of the 10 most powerful, politically influential, and militarily strong countries in the world.
A gap year in Israel can provide opportunities to build lifelong personal relationships with peers, host families, and local community members.
A gap year in Israel can help you develop a global perspective and a sense of citizenship in the world. You can learn about global issues and engage in international dialogue, which can prepare you for a successful future.