In the past five years, young Jews have seen a burst of philanthropies step up to the task of training Jewish leaders of the ‘next generation.’ The programs they have developed range in quality and length of engagement; however, what they all seem to have in common is an interest in both hearing about the experiences of the fellows as well as giving them some sort of opportunity to actualize an innovative project. In some cases they also include mentoring by a seasoned Jewish professional. Perhaps one day in the future Steven M. Cohen’s disciples will looks back and say: “How did the explosions of these fellowships shape young Jewish engagement in Jewish life? Did they in face develop the type of leaders they hoped to?”
Feel free to add anything I missed in the comments section, including similar fellowships you can think of from previous generations. Note: There are many more of these fellowships that are Israel specific – I have purposely left them out since I feel like those have their own set of goals and have been around much longer. The point of this post is that there are now many such fellowships in the US.
You may have already heard of ROI120 (a five day conference in Israel), PLP (which has both conferences and an academic fellowship), CLI/Leading Up, (Insight, a one year program working full time, Charlie, basically money and support to do a birthright follow-up program), Legacy Heritage Fellowship (a year long international professional mentorship program where the fellow works toward Middle East Peace) or , and the lesser known Muehlstein Institute (an 18-month certificate in non-profit management and Jewish communal leadership).
Well, it’s time to throw a few more into the mix. These new ones don’t have an ambiguous acronym or a particularly difficult to pronounce family name, though they both are only named for the sponsoring family. One is New York based for Jewish US citizens aged 21-28, while the unlike birthrightisrael, you have to already have traveled to Israel on a peer program:
Shapiro Family Fellowship
The program is designed to help future leaders of the worldwide Jewish community connect with peers and mentors in the United States and Israel.
In 2008, Shapiro Family Fellowship will be awarded to 15 promising individuals ages 22 to 28 who currently live in the greater New York metropolitan area and who have previously been to Israel. Each one-year fellowship will have as its centerpiece a fully paid, 17-day trip to Israel featuring exclusive meetings with Israeli professionals and experts in the fellow’s chosen careers, as well as other leaders. The Shapiro family will also invite fellows to exclusive programs, workshops, and high-profile lectures in New York during the balance of the fellowship year.
If you are ready to take an active leadership role, or if you know someone who is a promising candidate, click this link for more information
The second one, Robert and Elisa Spungen Bildner Fellowship, is sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Camping and Brandeis University. Basically, it’s a full scholarship toward a degree from Brandeis’ Hornstein Program for those who are interested in going into Jewish camping as a professional.
Robert and Elisa Spungen Bildner Fellowship presents the opportunity to provide the Jewish camp community with the kind of well-trained professionals that it needs for its continued success. The Foundation for Jewish camping is dedicated to professionalizing the field of Jewish camping and proud to establish a fellowship that supports a professional degree in the field.