Born in Israel in 1965 to Holocaust survivors, Gil Ilutowich was named for the Hebrew word for “happiness” by his mother. “She told me, ‘You are an answer to 2,000 years of prayer.’ For her, it was an answer to many prayers,” he said. “It fulfilled what the prophets said – that one day, we would hear children again in the streets of Jerusalem.”
With parents who were fortunate to be alive, Ilutowich sees himself as a living miracle. He shared his story at HBU recently. “My mother was raised as a Christian. She put love for Jewish people and for Jesus in my heart,” he said. “She said regarding World War II, ‘Without Christians, you wouldn’t be alive.’”
Ilutowich went from humble beginnings to becoming co-CEO and chairman of the board for Compedia, an Israel-based technology company. Compedia specializes in immersive learning, bringing high-tech engagement techniques that enable learners to interact with and absorb material. The company’s creations include academic and religious curricula, professional and military training technologies, and more.
After establishing Compedia with partners 32 years ago, the company has developed products sold in more than 50 countries around the world. The augmented and virtual reality technologies they use apply to many different areas. Projects range from interactive children’s books to corporate training and manufacturing streamlining.
Recently, they’ve trained members of the Israel Defense Forces in combat. Ilutowich describes, “One of the problems Israel is facing is Hamas. We developed virtual reality tunnels where the IDF soldiers can train,” he said. “The inventions that are happening in Israel are remarkable. So many other inventions that are changing the world come from Israel.”
In education, the company has developed school curricula for several subjects including biblical education. Bible courses are compulsory for students in Israel, Ilutowich said. Similarly, the company created 3-D material for the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.
“What’s amazing with this curriculum is – the attention span of a student is very short – with this technology, they read from the Bible and get to see a short movie. Every five minutes, the media is changing,” he said.
The Bible is much more than a religious book; it is the foundation for the Western world as we know it, Ilutowich said. “You can’t raise generation after generation of students who are ignorant of Western society, because it’s based on the Bible. All of us – no matter if we are Jewish, Muslims, Christians – can see that the Western culture is based on the Bible,” he said. “The Bible has such deep wisdom regarding relationships, morals and freedom.”