After five days of discussing the future of the Jewish people, the ROI Young
Leadership Summit came to a close in Jerusalem on Thursday.
participants from around the world took part in the annual gathering, which
included dozens of lectures, workshops and brainstorming sessions focusing on
pressing issues facing the Jewish world.
Netaly Ophir-Flint, a vice
president at the Reut Institute in Tel Aviv, and four-time participant at the
conference, said this year’s event was marked by an increased interest by
Israelis in the Jewish themes of the conference.
don’t understand why they have to come to a conference on Judaism,” she said.
“Many are still held captive by the old paradigm of Israeli egocentricism, the
old notions based on the rejection of the Diaspora, but the reality has changed.
Peoplehood has become more important and conferences like these are more
appealing to them.”
The ROI Community, created by Jewish philanthropist
Lynn Schusterman in 2005, has organized summits every year with the hope of
stimulating innovation in the Jewish world. At the closing event, Schusterman
took a moment to remember her late husband Charlie, whom she credited with
inspiring her to get involved in Jewish activism.
She then challenged
participants to convince her why she should continue to give.
has given me the most constructive criticism I have ever experienced,” said Ilja
Sichrovsky of Austria, who runs the Muslim Jewish Conference, an agency that
tries to bridge gaps between religions.
“I’m taking away 150 new
consultants and advisers as far as I’m concerned,” said Rebecca Stone of
Encounter, a group which educates Jewish leaders on the realities of Palestinian
life. “I think ROI is going to play a vital part in so many projects that
haven’t come into fruition yet.”
“As an oleh, as a black, as a Jew, as an
Ethiopian, I like to say thank you for being part of this community and to [ROI
executive director Justin] Korda who personally approached me to take part,”
said Shmuel Legesse of Shema Israel, a Jewish education group. “I felt