Albany, NY (October 2016) – The Bronfman Fellowship is now accepting applications 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.
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, 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; author Jonathan Safran Foer; 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.
Three Louisvillians are Bronfman Fellowship alumni – Jacob Finke, Jacob Emont and Abraham Levitan. Finke’s account of his experience can be found here.
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.
The Fellowships were founded in 1987 by Edgar M. Bronfman, z”l, and reflect 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.