This summer, I had the opportunity to attend two amazing conferences. Along with 119 other Jewish innovators from around the globe, I was selected to participate in ROI, held in Tel Aviv, at the beginning of July. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Israeli government invited me to attend the North American alumni seminar of the Conference on Emerging Jewish Leaders, held in Chicago, just this past weekend. I was honored to have been chosen and invited – but would not have been able to attend either without the generosity of the Moishe House scholarship grants for professional development.
ROI stands for Return on Investment, a business term that has been re-appropriated by Lynn Schusterman for the Jewish world. The idea is that there are great young minds in Jewish innovation and there are many instances in which they could be nurtured in a more productive manner. This 4-day conference combines concrete skill-building sessions with networking and pitch workshops with socializing and the amazing atmosphere of Tel Aviv, culminating in a buzz about the future of the global Jewish community that cannot be found anywhere else. Representing Moishe House at ROI, I was able to interact with many diverse communities around the world and build friendships that will further the work we are doing here in Philadelphia and hopefully in all of the houses. We now have connections to artists, musicians, web designers, journalists and others around the globe who would love to collaborate with us. I also learned concrete skills relating to grant writing and pitching stories for various social media outlets that are directly applicable to my work both within Moishe House and in my professional role at AJC.
The alumni seminar this past weekend was an amazing opportunity to hear from experts from Israel, the Chicago area and nationally recognized organizations on the importance of Israel advocacy, concrete strategies for carrying out that advocacy and innovative ways in which to do so. We had presentations on Israel as a strategic asset to the United States, what the Ministry is doing to re-brand Israel through various forms of social media and what the Conference of Presidents sees as the future of the Jewish community (hint: it’s us and the kind of work every Moishe-r is doing!). Further, I was able to reconnect with some of the participants from the 10-day seminar I participated in last year and build new relationships with others from around the country. I was proud to talk up Moishe House and get people excited about it in whatever city they were from. While this trip had much more to do with my professional career as Assistant Director at AJC, the speakers I heard and takeaways I gleaned will also serve me well in Moishe House.
On a micro-level, the Moishe House grant that allowed me to travel to Israel and Chicago is in direct correlation to what ROI is all about – Moishe House literally invested in me so that I would be given the space to invest back into the Moishe House community and the larger Jewish community in which we live.