Apply Now for Bronfman Youth Fellowships

Albany, NY, October 25, 2011 – The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI) is now accepting applications for its 26th summer program. The Bronfman Youth Fellowships sends 26 outstanding North American teenagers to Israel, for five weeks of intellectually engaging summer study during which they experience a shared sense of Jewish community.

The program, founded and funded by Edgar M. Bronfman, educates and inspires exceptional young Jews from diverse backgrounds to become active participants and leaders in Jewish culture throughout their lives, and to contribute their talents and vision to the Jewish community and to the world at large.

Traveling throughout Israel, the Fellows participate in study and dialogue with a diverse faculty of rabbis and educators, associated with different movements and perspectives within Judaism. Faculty members have an intimate knowledge of Israel and have extensive experience working with emerging adults.

Fellows meet with some of Israel’s leading intellectuals, religious and political leaders, and educators. They also spend a week with a group of Israeli peers who have been chosen through a parallel selection process as part of our Israeli Youth Fellowship: Amitei Bronfman.

After the summer, Fellows participate in a follow-up seminar in New York and are invited to a winter seminar with the Amitim in Connecticut. Bronfman Youth Fellows are asked to devise and lead a Jewish or social action project upon returning home after the summer.

In explaining the purpose of The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, Edgar Bronfman has said, “Our hope is to open lines of communication among a group of outstanding young people on the major issues confronting the Jewish people in all its diversity. In that process, we believe, they will discover that there is a common Jewish agenda that transcends the differences among them.”

“We view the summer as something much bigger than five wonderful weeks in Israel,” said Becky Voorwinde, Co-Director and Director of Strategy and Community Engagement. “It is the beginning of a lifelong association with the Fellows and our faculty, from which both participants and the Jewish people benefit.”

“We seek to increase communication between young people across the Jewish spectrum, including fostering bonds between Jews in North America and Israel.” said Rabbi Mishael Zion, Co-Director and Director of Education. “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 649 Bronfman Fellowship alumni, the majority of whom still take part in alumni activities and projects. Bronfman Youth Fellowship alumni include eight Rhodes Scholars, four former Supreme Court clerks, 11 Fulbright Scholars, 25 Wexner Fellows, and 18 Dorot Fellows.

Fellows have found that participation in BYFI has helped them in their college application process. In the guide, What It Really Takes to Get Into Ivy League and Other Highly Selective Colleges, Chuck Hughes lists the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel first in discussing, “the top scholarship programs particularly noted for producing winners who year after year are among the strongest candidates for admissions to highly selective institutions.”

Applications for the 2012 Fellowship are available online at and must be submitted online by January 20, 2012. High school students in the United States and Canada who will be in the 12th grade in the fall of 2012 may apply.

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