The ROI Summit is a 4 day conference that is set to take place in Jerusalem on July 2nd. Participants, made up of a select pool of applicants, are meant to represent young Jewish leadership at its best. They will be flown in from around the world and given the opportunity to network and interact with their peers in what is hoped to lead to a unique kind of synergy. Some will come with projects that they are already involved in or are hoping to implement and others will come with valuable life experience that they can lend to this unique endeavor. The significant resources put at the disposal of the organizers are reflective of the serious nature of the ROI Summit and are a vote of confidence not just in the Center for Leadership Initiatives but in the future of the Jewish world as envisioned by this group of young Jews.
As it stands, the deadline for applying is rapidly approaching. Given that, I’d like to make an unofficial plea. See, in all likelihood, the participants are going to be made up of the sorts of people one would expect at an event of this kind. That means people actively involved in their Jewish communities and otherwise engaged in their Jewish identity in either a personal or professional capacity. I think that’s fine and their participation is welcome. If you know anyone like that then by all means urge them to apply.
However, there seems to be some kind of misconception that this sort of program only welcomes the aforementioned individuals. Based on my experience, nothing can be further from the truth. Last year’s Summit included artists, rappers, musicians, as well as entrepreneurs, political activists, lawyers etc. all representing a wide spectrum of Jewish identity, religious observance, and political and sexual orientation.
My plea here today is meant to help spread the word. Do you know people who are doing cool things and just happen to be Jewish? Do you know people who are affecting the world around them in a positive way, through activism or art, and who might want to view their activities from a Jewish perspective? Do you know anyone who is otherwise smart and talented, capable of incisive analysis, who is going somewhere in life and who might enjoy a bit of time in Israel communing with like-minded peers?
If you do, please contact them as soon as possible and tell them to apply to attend the ROI Summit. Why is this so important? Well because the Jewish leadership of the future will be made up of 2 kinds of people, those actively engaged in their Judaism, many of whom will go on to become Jewish community professionals, and those aware and even proud of their Jewish identities but who are otherwise actively engaged in the not exclusively Jewish world around them. Those who fall into the second category are more likely to be be future political, philanthropic and cultural leaders.
Granted, this is a broad over generalization. But think about it. Look at all the great Jewish philanthropists. How many of them were actively involved in Jewish projects when they were younger? Look at all the famous Jewish cultural and academic icons – how many of them were organizing Jewish parties or salons in their youth? Look at those Jews who are affecting the world around them in a very real way – very few of them would have gone to, or even known about a program like the ROI Summit. Let’s try and change that. Let’s try and get in on the ground floor of their development and influence them positively. After all, no one who runs a Jewish blog ever made a billion bucks!
So please… copy this post. Email it out to any exceptional individuals you know and tell them to apply today. Let’s try to maximize the effect of all the great efforts and resources being put into this conference. Please also note – this is an expression of my personal and unofficial opinion. No one officially involved in the ROI Summit was consulted prior to this post and they may or may not agree with its contents. I’m just a hack Web designer after all, what the hell do I know?