The Beginning

In 2011 Aryae Coopersmith, Founder & CEO of Silicon Valley’s HR Forums, took off for a few months to concentrate on publicizing his new book, Holy Beggars: A Journey from Haight Street to Jerusalem. It’s a memoir of his spiritual journey starting in San Francisco in the 1960s. Speaking at book events across the country with people from diverse backgrounds, he was struck with how many had shared the same powerful experience: of the oneness, beneath all the differences, that truly connects us.

His wife Wendy Berk, a nurse practitioner who works everyday with people who need immediate, practical responses to difficult health problems, asked, “How can you apply this in a practical way in today’s world?” With Wendy as steadfast partner and fellow traveller, Aryae pondered this question as he went back to work at the HR Forums.

At one of his HR Forums events in 2012, Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future, spoke about a future with two simultaneous trends. The first: a world that is becoming increasingly volatile and uncertain. The second: ordinary people everywhere, empowered by the Internet, are forming communities to initiate positive change on the issues they care most about.
In the course of Aryae’s conversations with Bob, and subsequently with other Silicon Valley leaders, as well as spiritual leaders starting with the worldwide Jewish Renewal community of which he is a part, the vision of One World Lights came into focus.

A community of founding members which included Silicon Valley leaders, ecumenically oriented spiritual leaders, and others, began to take shape. In 2013, as he was approaching his 70th birthday, Aryae stepped down from his role as CEO of the HR Forums to focus on bringing together the new One World Lights Community.

Founding Community

Reb Zalman
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
Kay Sandberg
Kay Sandberg
Debra Engel
Dinesh Chandra
Dinesh Chandra
Alan Briskin
Bonita Banducci
Debbie Shapiro
Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Farajaje
Rabbi Victor Gross
Rabbi Nadya Gross
Steve Diamond
Andrew Vidich, PH.D.

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