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The Bronfman Fellowship Announces 31st Application Season

Albany—Applications are now being accepted for the 31st 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 and is funded 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 Etgar Keret, A.B. Yehoshua, Sayed Kashua and Rabbah Tamar Applebaum. The fellows then participate in study and dialogue with a diverse faculty, which is made up of rabbis and educators associated with different movements and perspectives within Judaism. Faculty members have an intimate knowledge of Judaism in North America and Israel and have extensive experience working with young adults. Fellows also spend two weeks with a group of Israeli peers who have been chosen through a parallel selection process as part of the Israeli Youth fellowship: Amitei Bronfman. Upon returning home from the summer in Israel, Bronfman fellows are asked to devise and lead local Jewish or social action projects.

“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 seven Rhodes Scholars, four former Supreme Court clerks, 18 Fulbright Scholars, 29 Wexner fellows and 22 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 percent of fellows go on to attend Ivy League universities.

Applications for the 2017 fellowship are due January 4, 2017, and are available online at bronfman.org. High school students in the United States and Canada who self-identify as Jewish and who will be in the 12th grade in the fall of 2017 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.

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