That’s right – so if you want to go to Israel this summer for free and meet young Jewish innovators, artists, activists etc. from around the world then i suggest you get your asses in gear and apply for ROI120 ASAP! Contemplate that this Passover. Well… that and slavery and redemption and Egypt and Matza. All that stuff.

The application form can be found here.

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • CK and co — Ever since I read about this initiative, I’ve been irritated about the age guidelines. Why is 32 the cutoff for having great ideas about the Jewish future???

    Laya wrote in her pitch:

    “readers are likely to eventually come up with some really brilliant ideas for shaping the Jewish future. We know it must be true because so many of you we’ve met off the blog were so damned impressive. We were honored to have helped develop an idea which can gather all those passions and help them materialize.
    So if you’re between 18-32, if you’ve got the ideas, if you’re hooked in, if you can see what the future of the jewish people can look like, are willing to do your part to bring us there, then we invite you to apply for a totally unprecedented initiative.”

    So are you saying that you think all of your readers are between 18-32, or that this is the only age group that is “impressive” and needs to be heard from on the Jewish future?

    For the record, I’m not saying this in self-interest because I live in Israel and don’t need the free trip. But when I first read about your conference, some amazing people came to mind who could contribute, and then I thought, “Damn, they can’t apply, they have attained geriatric status at 35.”

    I understand the Birthright age limit of 26 since it is a program that is trying to grab kids at a formative stage and help point their lives in a Jewish direction in regard to marriage, family, and other personal decisions, that tend to me made at a tender age.

    But to make the cutoff for “young Jewish innovators, artists, and activists” with good ideas regarding the Jewish future the age of 32? Seriously?

    If it’s a superficial event that is about looks or about maintaining a properly “cool” atmosphere, maybe you can justify it. But if you are claiming that the even is professes to be about ideas, then I think it’s wrong.

    I wish that you and the megadonors behind this program would reconsider.

  • I think the donors should be asked to reconsider. I mean, was Michael Steinhardt worried about the Jewish future in his 20’s and 30’s? No, he was busy conquering Wall Street! He only became innovative and creative in this area at a much older age. Seriously, I think it’s a problem that should be corrected. You can consider on a case by case basis, and if the younger applicants fit the bill better, then fine. But I think that older folks should be allowed to at least apply.

  • I posted this comment on Allison’s blog and am reposting it here, for like, the hell of it:

    AKS! The organizers wanted to capitalize on everyone’s collective birthright experience – this year will see the 100,000th participant come to Israel – so a simple calculation was made – birthright’s been around 6 years and birhtright’s age limit is 18-26 – so 26 + 6 = 32. It was that simple. I guess wwe made an age limit not because anyone past the age of 32 has no good ideas – we just couldn’t handle all the applications. As it is, we’ve been swamped.

    But of course there are deeper issues at play here. I totally recognize that the age thing is arbitrary – age restrictions always are. If I wanted to attend this thing, I wouldn’t qualify at all. And yet, some of the most innovative stuff going on out there is being spearheaded by older folks who have the means and the experience to make shit happen. There’s TM and I for instance and our stupid little blog. There’s also Rabbi Bookstein and his wife Rachel, who from their little bo peep hillel pulpit at long beach have done some awesome stuff. Lets also not forget that the people behind birthright and roi120, the philanthropists and the hard working staff as well as everyone working at the trip provider organizations are mostly all over 32 years old.

    But it’s about logistics and philosophy. We wanted to appeal to younger people and we want to know what they want rather than what we think they want or what we want them to want wrt Jewish identity. The organizers don’t want to dictate, they want to be dictated to.

    That having been said – the ROI120 Web site has no age restriction. Those of you who wish to participate in forming the agenda are invited, nay URGED STRONGLY to make your voices heard by registering and entering the discussion in the forum. I’ll even get you started by postingthis post on the site. Sure there’s no sexy trip to Israel involved but it’s not about the trip right? It’s about the future and continued viability of the Jewish people. I want to see how many of you older folks sign up …

  • Oh, yes, that’s a thrill, forming an agenda for a conference that you’re not considered eligible to attend? Free trip or not?

    Give me a break.

    “We wanted to appeal to younger people and we want to know what they want rather than what we think they want or what we want them to want wrt Jewish identity. The organizers don’t want to dictate, they want to be dictated to.”

    My beef the definition of “younger people.” What is “younger?” What is “young?” Is Jewish identity something that gets carved in stone at a certain age and never changes? Does nobody get “turned on” to Jewish life after 30?

    The fact that a certain number of years ago, the fine people who created Birthright (I’m not being sarcastic, it’s a great achievement) chose an age cutoff doesn’t make it sacred.

    Just to clarify — if ROI120 is designed to an official Birthright follow-up project that is directed at those who have done Birthright, then fine, I accept that. Invite only Birthrighters to apply.

    But I don’t accept the fact that you are inviting non-Birthright alumni to apply, but only within the Birthright age cohort. That leaves the very slightly older set passed over twice — they missed the boat on Birthright, so that means their ship has sailed?

    The bottom line of what I’m saying is that if your goal is to invigorate Jewish life as a whole, it’s a bad, bad choice.

  • More reposting of comments from Allison’s Blog:

    Oy Allison. I’ve never met you but you know or ought to know I think you rock. Yours was really the first JBlog I ever read. I have tremendous respect for your opinion but geez louise. We have finite resources available – both in terms of manpower and in terms of cold hard cash. Also, we’re kind of making up this whole thing as we go along and so your comments are taken into consideration. But even with the admittedly mostly arbitrary 18-32 year old limit, we have nearly 4 applicants for every available position. Your criticism is just the tip of the iceberg – wait for the inevitable sh*t storm to hit when we tell 300 people they can’t come!

    But I digress. We are trying our best and I’ll tell you this – if there’s someone you know who might be interested in ROI120 and whom you feel is an excellent candidate, and if they don’t mind spending 4 days with a group of 18-32 year olds, let me know about it – I can be reached at ck [at] jewlicious dot com. I’ll take your recomendation under advisement. No promises.

    Now, given that this is being sponsored by birthright and birthright associated philanthropists, how would you have run this conference differently? I really, really want to know.

    Also, the reason non-birthright alumni are eligible is because the idea is that birthright’s energizing effects have been theoretically felt beyond the immediate birthright alumni community.

    Finally, the conference is just meant to be the begining. We hope to create a viable and sustained network of individuals working together, bouncing ideas off each other etc. – one that will continue into the foreseeable future. As such, the conference is just a small part of the entire project. We’re trying to create an online community, a resource for people that will be of use for a good long time. Even if one cannot attend the conference, it will be live blogged and we will try to make it as interactive as possible so that people who couldn’t attend can still participate. Aye Carrumba! What more can we do? Help us Allison!


  • Oh, ck, flattery and supplication will get you everywhere, you devil, you…conversation to be continued after Shabbat, I’m writing this from deep in the Negev (Yeroham, to be precise) visiting (observant) family. I hope you understand that this critique is not aimed specifically at this initiative, but at the entire trend, which I find worrisome. More input to come.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  • I applied to ROI120 and I am within the age range, but I understand the frustration of my “older peers.” FYI – there are programs for Jews in their 30s that want to experience Israel. I was in Israel on a program called Livnot and had the pleasure of hanging out with participants on the Livnot “30-somethings” program. In fact, two dozen people are celebrating Passover in Jerusalem right now! Some even for the first time, through this program. So programs do exist…However, this is only program among many geared for college-aged and young professional Jews in their 20s. I guess the Jewish community is trying to target Jews when they are still forming their identity and have the time to spend abroad. Not to say that people in their 30s plus do not have fresh ideas, in fact you do have more life experience and have plenty to contribute. You also have more resources than my age group does…esp those of us trying to make it in NYC…

    Shabbat Shalom!


  • I wanted to sign up on the ROI forums (although using the World Wide Web is so confusing for us “over-32s” — maybe I can ask my caregiver for help?) — but then I was afraid I’d disillusion all these “Israel-Rules!-Let’s-Be-Jewish!” whippersnappers with my congenital bitching. You don’t want that, ck. It could ruin your vision and dreams of the Jewish Future. So keep us alter kakers out, seriously.

    On a more serious note, ck, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, ad infinitum: You mock the “renaissance” philanthropists with their conferences and whatnot, but ROI shows that you have a similar outlook, if not agenda. This is not meant to be an insult, just an observation, and a prediction: I eagerly await you getting me drunk in 2015, when you’re Executive Director of a Jewish org with a fat expense/travel account. Drinks on you, my sweet Moroccan. In the spirit of renaissance, drinks on you forever!

  • Ah, the legacy of Brokeblog Mountain, alive and well in the comments section on Jewlicious. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Lindsay, depending on your profession, trying to make it in NYC can sap the living bejeezus and resources from you no matter what your age. I’d venture to say most of the 20somethings I meet have more liquid (and non-liquid, actually) assets than I do. Sigh.

    AKS, I have met you, and I feel your pain, as I too am usually defined as too senile to have good (or at least fundable) Jewish ideas. Let us accept our lot as outmoded technophobes and retire to an exotic location where 18-32s fan us with leaves and bring us margaritas.

    But seriously, folks. Although I am struck by the apparent arbitrariness of the age cutoff, wherever the range ended, there’d be an issue. Say it was 29. Or 35. Or 39. There’d always be someone who wasn’t eligible and would call it unfair. Not to divert this discussion into another one, which has seen ample discussion on JDaters Anonymous, but it’s kind of like having an arbitrary age cutoff for dating–it makes more practical sense than emotional sense, and while generally, you might be targeting a certain age range, we all know people who are exceptions to the rule.

    Now must go…have to talk to the houseboy about
    that margarita…

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