Young Jewish ‘change makers’ gather in Jerusalem for ROI Summit


(JTA) — Some 150 young Jews who are credited with affecting change in 29 communities worldwide gathered in Jerusalem for their international network’s 10th annual conference.

The ROI Summit — a weeklong seminar on engagement by Jews in their 20s and 30s in projects with the potential of benefiting society — returned to Jerusalem on Sunday 10 years after the event was first held in the Israeli capital. The summit aims to facilitate “networking, skill-building and ideation” among the handpicked participants, the organizers said in a statement.

Set up in 2005 by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Taglit-Birthright Israel, the ROI Community of young Jewish “change makers,” as the organization’s website calls members, comprises a diverse group of activists, including a creative director of Poland’s main Jewish museum, Arek Dybel, and the founder of Moscow’s first Jewish film festival in 2015, Egor Odintsov.

In addition to participants who are engaged in mainstream Jewish community projects, the ROI Summit this year includes people with more exotic credentials, including Paige Elenson, the New York-born director of the Africa Yoga Project, which provides low-income Kenyan women with the skills to become self-sufficient instructors.

The event brings together nonobservant Jews such as Herzliya-born Aya Mironi, a Google executive in her 30s with an MBA from the London Business School, and observant Jews such as Menachem Wolf of Melbourne, Australia, whose nonprofit SpiritGrow provides spirituality training to rabbis, youth leaders and others through cooking lessons, kabbalah study sessions and guest presenters.

“We feel lucky to be able to look back on a decade of community activity, to learn from our challenges and success over the years, and to see the tangible impact that our members have created in communities across the globe,” said Justin Korda, executive director of the ROI Community.