European Gathering Aims to Strengthen Jewish Culture and Innovation

With the aim of strengthening Jewish life and innovation in Europe, Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden and the ROI Community have joined forces to create the 2010 ROI/Paideia European Regional Gathering. Kicking off today in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Gathering will offer 31 European leaders and activists the unique opportunity to meet, learn and create together, while developing and improving their professional skills for the benefit of innovative work in Europe.

“Dictionary-wise, ‘tradition’ and ‘innovation’ are contradictory,” says Barbara Spectre, Founding Director of Paideia. “But ROI and Paideia have learned that when inventive entrepreneurs are put in the mix, then tradition and innovation can be combined into dynamic creative projects that can reinvent and reinvigorate a culture almost lost. At this four-day seminar in Vilnius, these entrepreneurs can strengthen their skills, ignite new ideas, and realize that they are at the forefront of a remarkable movement to reignite Jewish culture in Europe.”

The selected representatives, coming together from 16 European countries, represent areas of interest ranging from Jewish Salons directors in Vienna and Amsterdam to building online community in Hungary, and organizations like Hillel-Ukraine, Bnai Brith in Luxembourg, and Blickwechsel, an organization focusing on post-Shoah life in Germany. At the conference, participants will gain new knowledge, share their expertise with other European activists, present their work and learn more about other initiatives that are being developed all over Europe. The Gathering was open only to ROI & Paideia alumni from Europe who are developing, implementing or planning a European-based project as individuals or as part of an organization. The selection committee made its decision based on the project’s impact, what stage the project is in and considered geographical and gender balance factors.

Of the 31 participants 10 participated in a past ROI Summit or Regional Gathering. The faculty is made up of local community leaders with representation from the two sponsoring organizations: CLI Director of Israel Programs Justin Korda and the ROI Program Director Beto Maya are representing CLI, with Barbara Spectre, Brachi Lipshitz, Fabian Sborovsky and Erik Gribbe representing Paideia. Past ROIer Aharon Horwitz (Israel), co-founder and director of the PresenTense Group, will serve as one of the facilitators for the Gathering together with Nirit Roessler, director of the Pradler Program and Clive Lawton, one of the founders of Limmud UK.