Why Apply for ROI? Community!

David Abitbol of Jewlicious says; “Applications for the ROI Summit 2009 are open until Monday March 23rd. What is the ROI Community? The Web site says “ROI is a global community of young Jewish innovators that was created by Lynn Schusterman in the summer of 2006 as a partnership between the Center for Leadership Initiatives and Taglit-Birthright Israel.” If you apply for, get accepted to and attend the ROI Summit, held this year between June 28th–July 2nd, 2009 near Tel Aviv, you become a member of the ROI Community. Applicants should be Jewish innovators between the ages of 22 and 34 at the time of the Summit (detailed criteria here) and should be “developing or seeking to launch a Jewish initiative, or who are demonstrating excellence in pursuit of a global or civic program.” Successful applicants will then be flown to Israel (all expenses paid except for a $250 participation fee) in order to attend the summit where they will meet and network with their peers in a unique synergistic affair that needs to be experienced to be believed.

But it doesn’t end there – that’s the community thing I was talking about – “community” is not a one time affair – it’s an ongoing process. In all the time that I’ve been involved in ROI, I’ve witnessed an explosion of projects, innovations and collaboration and as an ROI alum, you too can be a part of this movement! ROIerrs have also participated in various Limmuds and regional gatherings in the US, Latin America and Israel. ROIers also stay in touch with each other on twitter, facebook and flickr. Check that out to get a taste of ROI.

ROI’s most recent collaboration with Jewlicious is an excellent example of this. At our most recent Jewlicious Festival, the ROI Speakers Bureau facilitated the participation of 9 ROI alums and 1 ROI staff person. Tanya Gutsol came in from Baltimore and discussed the challenges faced by young, 1st generation American Jews. She also discussed her project Jewlicious.ru (Jewlicious in Russian), which was made possible by ROI’s Small Grants Initiative. Eli Winkelman taught participants how to make Challah and discussed her Challah For Hunger project. Marcus Freed wowed us with his one man show about King Solomon and ran a number of very popular Yoga Sessions. Sarah Lefton talked about her ground breaking work on G-dcast, another project supported by ROI’s Small Grants Initiative. Erez Safar and Y-Love entertained us with their participation and funky beats, while Nina Safar talked to us about her funky eats. Her project Maidelle, a portal for Orthodox girls, is going to launch very soon – stay tuned. Sasha Perry, despite her food and beverage duties, managed to take participants on an eco-bike ride and brunch to the beach. Ori Neidich discussed ROI and Jewish innovation from the perspective of a networking guru. ROI staff person Esther Kustanowitz kept it all together and managed to host our comedy show to boot!

Needless to say, the participation of ROI alums at the Jewlicious Festival was great for everyone involved. The ROIers added tremendously to the diversity and dynamism of the Festival’s programing content while helping to promote both ROI and their associated projects. It was a win-win situation and you can be a part of that whole process. The first step is to apply. So go ahead. Apply today or tell someone you know to apply as well. You won’t regret it!

Oh and here’s one of many ROI related videos on YouTube:

Apply soon! You only have till Monday!”


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