May 21, 2024
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The Bronfman Fellowship Announces 38th Application Season

(Courtesy of The Bronfman Fellowship) The Bronfman Fellowship is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 38th cohort of this transformative program. The fellowship selects 26 outstanding North American teenagers for a free, intellectually challenging year of programming, beginning with an immersive seminar that includes travel to Israel and the U.S. between the fellows’ junior and senior years of high school, followed by monthly virtual experiences and two additional seminars in the U.S. The program educates and inspires exceptional young Jews from diverse backgrounds to have a significant impact on the world as community builders, deep thinkers, moral voices and cultural creators.

The nonprofit Fellowship was founded by Edgar M. Bronfman, z”l, formerly CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd. and a visionary Jewish philanthropist.

Applications for the 2024 fellowship are due December 4, 2023, 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 11th grade in the fall of 2023 are eligible to apply. The fellowship is a pluralistic program for Jews of all backgrounds; prior Jewish education is not required.

For 38 years, Bronfman fellows have built a pluralistic community through a transformative, intellectual and deeply personal journey in which they have the opportunity to see the world through a lens broader than their own. Fellows expand their perspectives as they build a community with those representing different backgrounds, worldviews and approaches to Jewish life and practice. Inspired by a stellar faculty of rabbis and educators, fellows explore a wide range of Jewish texts, from classic religious works to contemporary poetry and philosophy, using these sources to spark conversations, engage with stimulating existential questions and achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and one another.

In addition to learning with stellar educators, fellows also have the unique opportunity to engage with leading intellectuals, artists and religious and cultural leaders. Past speakers have included journalist Matti Friedman, author Nicole Krauss, musician and Yiddish scholar Anthony Russell and Torah scholar Dr. Avivah Zornberg.

Fellows also interact with a group of Israeli peers who were chosen through a parallel selection process by the Israeli branch of the fellowship, Amitei Bronfman. Additionally, they have the opportunity to participate in the fellowship’s recently introduced arts tracks: workshops in areas including poetry, dance, drama, visual narrative and music, taught by leading innovators in the field of Jewish art. Upon returning home from the summer in the U.S. and Israel, fellows explore major themes in North American Jewish life and embark on projects to bridge the ideas and questions from their Bronfman summer with their daily lives and home communities.

“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, CEO. “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 leaders in their communities.”

Alumni of The Bronfman Fellowship are leaders in their community, playing key roles in fields such as social justice, academia, law and the arts. There are now over 1,400 Bronfman fellowship alumni across North America and Israel. Among them are nine Rhodes Scholars, four former Supreme Court clerks, 20 Fulbright Scholars, 36 Wexner Fellows and 29 Dorot Fellows. Leaders of note among fellowship alumni include Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, author of the best-selling “Series of Unfortunate Events” children’s books, Jonathan Safran Foer, author of “Everything Is Illuminated,” and Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum, rabbi and co-founder of the pluralistic Jewish community, the Kavana Cooperative, in Seattle.

Others include Judy Batalion, author of “The Light of Days”; Anne Dreazen, director for Egypt, Israel and the Levant at the Department of Defense; Itamar Moses, Tony award-winner for “The Band’s Visit,” and Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz, director of Tefillah and Music at Hadar.

Alumni also include entrepreneurial Jewish leaders who have founded organizations like Keshet, Sefaria, and YidLife Crisis, and who serve in central leadership roles at major organizations like The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, the Jewish Women’s Archive, Central Synagogue, Hillel International and The Foundation for Jewish Camp, to name a few.

Israeli alumni have also ascended to positions of influence in government, civil groups, the private sector and cultural institutions. Amitei Bronfman alumni include attorneys at the State Justice Department, noted journalists, successful filmmakers (including a Tribeca Film Festival winner), political advisers to Members of Knesset, members of elite IDF units and university lecturers.

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