Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
When traditional Jewish sources, stories, and spirit are given a boost by technology and the creativity and enthusiasm of 120 young Jews, plenty of good things happen.
Outside Tel Aviv last week, the ROI Summit for Young Jewish Innovators provided both a showcase and an incubator for the new ideas and visions that are percolating among Jews in Argentina, Belarus, India, Sweden, El Salvador, and a host of other Jewish communities around the world.
The mission of the ROI global network, philanthropist Lynn Schusterman signature project, is to provide critical funding, training, and support for a variety of new ventures that have the potential to strengthen Jewish communities, deepen Jewish commitment, and build a better Jewish future.
Since its launch in 2006, ROI has helped support new Jewish ventures such as Challah for Hunger, Moishe House, PresenTense - and Jewcology, a web portal for Jewish environmentalists.
“Jewcology means that if you’re one of the only Jewish environmentalists in your community, you don’t have to be alone,” says Evonne Marzouk, founder of Canfei Nesharim, which provides a Torah based approach to understanding and acting on the relationship between traditional Jewish sources and modern environmental issues. Marzouk, in Israel from Silver Spring, Maryland, and her 17 global partners received a $50,000 ROI grant to create a virtual hub where Jewish environmentalists can share ideas and resources inspired by Torah - and build a self-sustaining community that can affect real change.
The faces of ROI creativity and social entrepreneurship: Mathue Roth; Evonne Marzouk; Sarah Lefton and baby Levi. (Photos: Adi Cohen)
“We live in a fast-paced world and tend to address short-term problems,” says Marzouk. “But Torah wisdom has us thinking longterm.”
That eternal wisdom is also what inspires Sarah Lefton and Matthue Roth, producer, and editorial director of G-dcast.com. Their ambitious mission: to raise worldwide Jewish literacy by making Torah texts accessible to all using entertaining media, including animated video shorts that explain and interpret the weekly parshah.
Launched in 2008, G-dcast has had hundreds-of-thousands of video views, all earned without any marketing campaign. This means word-of-mouth is drawing the crowd.
“My mother’s friends, who still wrestle with email, are telling my mom about it,” says Roth, who lives in Brooklyn. “So I call it a success.”
Impressed by G-dcast’s accomplishments to date, ROI gave the project a grant in April to support new videos about the Jewish holidays. They are also working on a DVD and curriculum guide for teachers, and a crowd-sourced project to translate G-dcast videos from English into Hebrew, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, and Italian.
“We believe that substantial learning can and must happen through online media,” says Lefton, holding her six-month-old son, Levi.
ROIer Ziv Maor is a newscaster on the newly established radio station Galei Yisrael, based in Givat Zeev, north of Jerusalem.
“I did some research,” says Maor, a passionate Zionist, and a member of ROI’s global network. “I studied 30 Israeli movies made between 1988 and 2008, and only two of them were pro-Zionist, while 13 of them were critical of Zionism.”
Why do Israeli tax dollars, which flow through the Israeli Film Fund, help support movies that bash Israel? “Because the people who control the money – the cultural elites here – believe in this message,” says Maor, expressing his personal views.
In response, Maor is trying to develop movies of his own that deliver a positive message about Israel. One, called Otot, is about Israeli pilots who battle aliens from outer space. He calls it the first Zionist sci-fi flick.
In the autumn, Maor is setting up Mahar, a Zionist College in Kibbutz Reshafim, near Bet Shean, with a curriculum of political science, Zionism and Jewish values. Instead of paying tuition, students will work the land.
“There’s far too much self-loathing in Israel,” says Maor. “But there’s a renaissance too. The Zionist movement is still alive, and so is the dream.”
At the ROI Global Summit this week, it certainly seemed that way.
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Brooklyn resident David Siller, currently studying in Israel at Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah in Beit Shemesh, was awarded a trophy for finishing 3rd in his age group (14-18) in a 5-kilometer race for the benefit of the Benjamin Children’s Library of Beit Shemesh.
Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/at-the-roi-summit-its-back-to-the-sources/2010/07/28/
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