“Dreams are not so different from Deeds as some may think. All the Deeds of men are only Dreams at first. And in the end, their Deeds dissolve into Dreams. But, if you do not wish it, all this that I have related to you is and will remain a fable”. (Herzl, Theodor. Old New Land. 1902.)
Topaz – Leading Social Innovations – Enhancing Civil Society
Topaz is a dynamic social space, which incorporates a network of Israeli creative nonprofit enterprises, passionate social entrepreneurs, activists and social leaders, working both in the Israeli social field and in the international arena since 2000. For close to twenty years, Topaz has launched over sixty creative new enterprises. Together with its partners, Topaz pursued a wide range of social causes among them establishing secondary schools for disadvantaged teenagers; developing and operating youth and family support centers; advancing a wide range of community based educational programs; initiating rehabilitation programs for treating disabled, traumatized and marginalized groups in the Israeli society and world-wide.
Aside from its core operations, a diversified spectrum of innovative ventures and civil society organizations have been developed under the auspices of Topaz in the fields of education, leadership, volunteerism, social justice, women empowerment, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and refugee assistance. Through its work, Topaz contributes not only to the Israeli society but also to global well-being by advancing Tikkun Olam notions and values.
To enhance social change, promote social engagement and advocate social justice by advancing a wide range of innovative intervention models, knowledge management platforms and human capacity building strategies. Through our social ventures, we increase pluralism, tolerance and social resilience. Through creative social innovations, we turn social challenges into opportunities, which in return, unravel social problems and reinforce sustainable change.
Topaz works in the social and public spheres in order to ensure that Israel will provide high quality social, educational, health and cultural services to all its citizens. Topaz believes that Israeli society must be a sensitive and supportive society for global and universal needs and challenges. A society that preserves and promotes the civil, social and cultural rights of every person and every citizen whoever he may be and wherever he may be.
Four sets of core values are embedded into all operations: 1) pluralism and social tolerance 2) civil and social justice 3) commitment to peace – between people, cultures and among nations and 4) the values of voluntarism, mutual responsibility, giving and compassion.
Topaz’s overall goal is to advance social change and develop civil society infrastructure through entrepreneurship, volunteering and social leadership in the fields of education, welfare, health, sustainability, culture and recreation both in Israel and worldwide.
Branches and International Activities
Topaz has established several branches around the world. The most prominent among them are in Germany and Uganda. The 2019 work plan focuses on opening new branches in South Africa, Brazil, Taiwan and South Korea. In addition, Topaz continues to operate in various countries through Brit Olam’s, Inspiration’s and Natan platforms, operations and programs, and through the growing IMPROVE movement.
To date, Topaz is composed of five organizational divisions each led by a team of lay leadership.
- The Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Enterprises division
- The Brit Olam International Development and Volunteering division
- The Inspiration division for Art, Leadership, Social Change
- The IMPROVE – International Movement of Professional Volunteers division
- The Israeli Global Initiative (I.G.I.) division
Volunteering and Lay Leadership
Our members, volunteers and activists represent a wide array of citizens from diverse fields, including the social sciences, social work, law, philosophy, and business. Many of our programs are carried out on a volunteer basis, including the investment of personal time, knowledge and financial resources. The founders of Topaz, Brit Olam and Inspiration are experts in the field of community and development work with an emphasis on children and youth. Some of our leaders have been working as consultants and program developers for more than 25 years. We combine the skills of our experts and activists to plan, train and instruct field workers, entrepreneurs, volunteers and community leadership. The three associations were founded by Dr. Michael (Mike) Naftali, who to date, serves as the association’s president.
“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”. (Isaiah, 2:4)