Categorized | Middle East, USA

Bronfman Fellowship to select 26 high schoolers

ALBANY, New York (Press Release)–The Bronfman Fellowship has announced that applications are now being accepted for the 32nd year of this prestigious program. The Bronfman Fellowship selects 26 outstanding North American teenagers for a rigorous academic year of seminars including a free, five-week trip to Israel in the summer between the Fellows’ junior and senior years of high school.

The program educates and inspires exceptional young Jews from diverse backgrounds to grow into leaders grounded in their Jewish identity and committed to social change. The program was founded by Edgar M. Bronfman, z”l, formerly CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd. and a visionary Jewish philanthropist.

During the program’s seminars, the Fellows meet with leading intellectuals, religious and political leaders, and educators, such as Israeli writer Etgar Keret, journalist and author Matti Friedman, and biblical scholar Avivah Zornberg. With the guidance of a diverse faculty of Rabbis and educators, the pluralistic group of Fellows have the opportunity to explore a wide range of Jewish texts, from classic religious documents to contemporary Israeli and American voices, using them to spark conversations, engage with stimulating existential questions, and achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and one another.

Fellows also spend two weeks with a group of Israeli peers who have been chosen through a parallel selection process as part of the Fellowship: Amitei Bronfman. Upon returning home from the summer in Israel, they continue their Fellowship year experience by coming together twice, in New York and Washington D.C., for seminars focusing on major themes in North American Jewish life.

“My father, Edgar M. Bronfman, placed enormous faith in young people’s ability to see the world not just as it is, but as it ought to be,” said Adam R. Bronfman, President of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation. “He believed that young people energized by their Judaism were best equipped to both shape a Jewish ‘Renaissance’ and improve the world.”

“The Fellowship is an opportunity for dynamic personal and intellectual growth in a group of carefully chosen peers,” said Becky Voorwinde, Executive Director. “We seek to increase communication between young people across the Jewish spectrum including fostering bonds between Jews in North America and Israel. This program serves as a creative force that has inspired some of our best Jewish young adults to become creative leaders in their communities”.

There are now over 1,100 Bronfman Fellowship alumni across North America and Israel, among them 7 Rhodes Scholars, 4 former Supreme Court clerks, 18 Fulbright Scholars, 30 Wexner Fellows and 24 Dorot Fellows. Young leaders of note among Fellowship alumni include Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, author of the best-selling Series of Unfortunate Events children’s books; Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and editor of the New American Haggadah (featuring commentary from Lemony Snicket, among others); and Angela Warnick Buchdahl, the first woman to be named Senior Rabbi at New York’s Central Synagogue and the first Asian-American person to be ordained as a rabbi and cantor.

Others include: Igor Timofeyev, former Supreme Court clerk and former Special Advisor for Refugee and Asylum Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Dara Horn, author of In the Image, The World to Come and All Other Nights; and Anya Kamenetz, the youngest person ever nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her Village Voice series Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young.

Fellows have found that participation in The Fellowship has helped them in their college application process. More than 50% of Fellows go on to attend Ivy League universities.

Applications for the 2018 Fellowship are due January 4th, 2018, and are available online at High school students in the United States and Canada who self-identify as Jewish and who will be in the twelfth grade in the fall of 2018 are eligible to apply. The Fellowship is a pluralistic program for Jews of all backgrounds; prior Jewish education is not required. Students are chosen on merit alone.

The Bronfman Fellowship, the flagship program for outstanding young Jews, taps 26 North American teenagers at a formative point in their lives, the year before college, when an intense, immersive experience will have the most impact. The Fellowship year functions as a Jewish identity incubator, with serious text study, lessons taught by some of the world’s premier Jewish educators, and sustained discourse about pluralism, social justice and the future of Jewish peoplehood.

The year begins with a five-week summer study program in Israel that includes a transformative week-long encounter with a parallel cadre of outstanding Israeli teenagers. Programming continues with two seminars in the U.S. focused on North American Jewish identity. Upon graduating high school, the Fellows join an alumni community whose members challenge one another to contribute their talents and vision to the Jewish community and society at large.

The Fellowship was founded in 1987 by Edgar M. Bronfman, z”l, and reflect Mr. Bronfman’s early and impassioned belief that for the Jewish people to thrive, Israeli and American Jews from a variety of backgrounds must be engaged in open and creative discourse with one another. The alumni embody Mr. Bronfman’s vision that young people who are enriched and energized by their Judaism are poised to contribute not only to Jewish life, but to improving the world.

Contact Information
Ava Charne
The Bronfman Fellowship
418 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12207
(518) 475-7212
[email protected]

Preceding provided by the Bronfman Fellowship

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