The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel Announces 28th Application Season | Deadline: January 6, 2014
Outstanding High School Students from Diverse Jewish Backgrounds to Study in Israel and Lead Social Action Projects at Home
Albany, NY– The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI) has announced that applications are now being accepted for the 28th year of this prestigious program. The Bronfman Fellowships selects 26 outstanding North American teenagers for a rigorous academic year of seminars including a free, five-week trip to Israel between the summer of 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. Two Louisvillians have been selected for the program in the past.
The Fellows participate in study and dialogue with diverse faculty, which includes 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 emerging adults.
During the program’s seminars, Fellows meet with leading intellectuals, religious and political leaders, and educators. 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.
In explaining the purpose of The Bronfman Fellowships, Edgar Bronfman has said, “the Fellowships educate an outstanding cadre of young Jews to see their commitments to Judaism and the Jewish people through a lens broader than their own perspective. Commitments must be based on knowledge, for this reason, the program is grounded in Torah study and discussion.”
“The Fellowship is an opportunity for dynamic personal and intellectual growth in a group of carefully chosen peers,” said Becky Voorwinde, Co-Director and Director of Strategy and Community Engagement. “The conversations Fellows begin during their Fellowship year continue for a lifetime.”
“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 over 1000 Bronfman Fellowship alumni across the US and Israel, the majority of who still take part in alumni activities and projects. Bronfman Fellowship alumni include 8 Rhodes Scholars, 4 former Supreme Court clerks, 12 Fulbright Scholars, 27 Wexner Fellows, and 24 Dorot Fellows. Leaders of note among Fellowship alumni include: Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, author of the successful “Series of Unfortunate Events” children’s books; Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud, Eating Animals and editor of New American Haggadah (featuring commentary from Lemony Snicket, among others); Angela Warnick Buchdahl, America’s first Asian-American Cantor and Rabbi at The Central Synagogue in New York City.
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 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 2014 Fellowship are available online at www.bronfman.org and must be submitted online by January 6, 2014. 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 2014 are eligible to apply. BYFI is a pluralistic program for Jews of all backgrounds; prior Jewish education is not required. Students are chosen not on the basis of financial need but on merit alone.
Edgar M. Bronfman’s philanthropy focuses on projects dedicated to fostering a Jewish renaissance including Hillel: The Foundation for Campus Jewish Life, The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, and MyJewishLearning, Inc.