The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel

Applications for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI) are being accepted now through Jan. 6, 2014.

Founded and funded by Edgar M. Bronfman, 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.

Bronfman Fellows participate in study and dialogue with a diverse faculty 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 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.

There are now over 1,000 Bronfman Fellowship alumni across the U.S. Bronfman Fellowship alumni include eight Rhodes Scholars, four former Supreme Court clerks, and 12 Fulbright Scholars. 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; and Igor Timofeyev, former Supreme Court clerk and former special advisor for refugee and asylum affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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 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 2014 are eligible to apply. BYFI is a pluralistic program for Jews of all backgrounds; prior Jewish education is not required. Students are chosen on the basis of merit alone.

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