The World Organization of Orthodox Communities and Synagogues in Israel and the Diaspora was established at Heichal Shlomo in 1968 by Dr. Moshe Yaffe, president of the Union of Synagogues in Israel, to serve as an umbrella organization for Orthodox synagogues and communities worldwide. The initial conference of the organization was attended by the Chief Rabbis of Israel, leading Israeli and Diaspora religious thinkers, ministers of the government of the State of Israel, as well as by leaders of communities, organizations and synagogues throughout the Diaspora. The vision that emerged from that meeting was to establish a center in Jerusalem that would serve to create links between existing Orthodox organizations and facilitate the fulfillment of their common pursuits. The goal was not to create a new organization that would supplant existing organizations, but to help the existing organizations maximize their potential.
Over the years, the activities and impact of the organization lessened for a variety of reasons. The purpose of the organization, however, remains as relevant, or even more relevant, today than at its founding. For that reason, we have initiated a renewal process designed to restore and expand the operations of the organization. Clearly, Orthodoxy today faces a variety of new and significant challenges that require alternative approaches. It is thus desirable that the organization reexamine its underlying principles and its activities in order to help Orthodox synagogues and communities worldwide cooperatively face the many challenges posed by the demographic, social and political realities of the 21st century.