For a third year in a row, ROI120 is accepting applications for participation in the ROI Summit in Jerusalem from the 15th to the 19th of June. The ROI Web site describes it as an opportunity to “Join 120 young innovators and leaders for 4 days of networking, skill-building and inspiration.” Nice right? But it doesn’t tell the whole story. First of all, the obvious stuff: If you are chosen, you get a free trip to Israel and free food, ground transportation, hotel accommodation, activities etc. for the 4 days of the summit. You will get the opportunity to meet some pretty interesting people and be part of a network that is provided with all sorts of benefits including travel subsidies for speaking engagements and seed funding for projects (subject to application and approval). There’s a lot of talk about supporting innovation and Jewish youth, but these people (The Schusterman Foundation, The Center for Leadership Initiatives and Taglit-birthright Israel) really put their money where their mouths are.
Now you might think that this is a program for hardcore uh… Jew Geeks, and in a way, it is. However, and here is the important part, the organizers of the ROI Summit are seeking representative diversity – geographical, ideological and professional. As such, the ROI Summit has in the past accepted writers, Journalists, film makers, musicians, artists, poets, geeks, business people, professionals, people whose vision for Israel does not correspond with the official line promoted by AIPAC or the Israeli government and folks whose vision for the Jewish people does not correspond with that of say, Federations and major Jewish organizations. I guess what’s most important, whether or not you are coming into this with an existing or proposed Jewy project, is a willingness to be a part of an innovative community whose members are supportive of each other and open to dialog and constructive feedback.
I’ve seen ROI alums in action and, well, it’s cool! At the last two Jewlicious Festivals, we benefited from the skills of a number of ROI120 alums who acted as presenters, organizers and performers. The photo above for instance, is of Yitz Jordan a.k.a. Y-Love who performed along with Erez Shudnow, a.k.a. DJ Handler – both ROI2007 alums. ROI alums were also instrumental in the recent West Coast Israelity Tour – performers Shai 360 (ROI2006) and Michelle Citrin (ROI2006) and the band Coolooloosh, part of Oleh! Records, brainchild of Jeremy Hulsh (ROI2006). The tour was also staffed by Esther Kustanowitz (ROI Staff), Lindsay Litowitz (ROI2006 and staff) and Sydney Henning (ROI2006). Speaking of Esther, let’s also not forget PresenTense Magazine and PICZ, projects headed by alums Ariel Beery and Aharon Horowitz. I could go on and on… but I think you get the point.
What was it again? Oh yeah – apply! Or if you know someone who you think just might be a good candidate, forward them this post and urge them to apply. The deadline is March 28th, so don’t dilly dally.