Written by Fray Hochstein, on behalf of Team ROI
Elad has never encountered a challenge he couldn’t meet. Proud of the rough neighborhood in Petach Tikvah where he grew up, this early experience taught Elad that if you put your heart and soul into what you do, you are bound to succeed. While serving as a commander in Yahalom, a special forces unit of the IDF, Elad was given the opportunity to participate in Birthright. “It changed the direction of my life. Meeting so many non-Israelis for the first time was inspiring and broadened my horizons. I decided I wanted to be part of this project.” After the army Elad went to work with Birthright, creating a new role of culture and leisure content director. Two years later he opened his first venture, a bar called 15 Minutes on Arlozorov Street, followed by NOX Group, a company that now operates ten different venues in the Tel Aviv area. He also began studying at IDC, where he became involved with projects such as Stand with Us Fellowship, Rothschild Ambassadors and others, and established Yahalom Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports veterans and active soldiers of the Yahalom unit.
In 2009, just before he began at IDC, Elad attended the ROI Summit. “ROI really helped shape and inspire the kind of impact I want to have and enabled me to elevate my business entrepreneurship and social initiatives, and form new friendships.” Elad, a Schusterman Fellow, is an active member of ROI Community, participating in delegations and programs, and giving back by serving as a mentor and the organizer of the Israeli Pre-Summit Meet-Ups.
In 2013 the terrible loneliness experienced by Holocaust survivors inspired Elad to found a social venture called Guests of Honor, which organizes holiday dinners for survivors. To date some 5,000 survivors have participated in the events, which is run by 1,000 volunteers in eight cities in Israel, three in the U.S. and three in Europe.
Photo credit: Netanel Tobias
Elad is currently executive director of Zikaron BaSalon, a program that invites Holocaust survivors and their families to share their stories in front of groups of people in living rooms and intimate spaces. Taking place in nearly 60 countries around the world, over a million people have participated in the program, including diplomats, young professionals, people from all religions, and even President of Israel Reuven Rivlin.
“Community has become a bit of a buzzword lately, but ROI really is a true community in the best sense of the word. I know that for myself, and for many other people in ROI, whenever there is a project or an initiative we want to get off the ground, the first stop is to turn to friends from the community. A lot of the work I do incorporates ROIers or ROI in some way.” When asked what he thinks is the key to ROI’s success, Elad says: “ROI is different because of the way they emphasize the diversity of their members. They are not interested only in what you are doing but in who you are. ROI focuses on helping you evolve as a person and as a leader. Whatever you want to do or feel that you are capable of doing – ROI is going to be there to encourage and support you.”