Applications are now being accepted for the 37th cohort of the Bronfman Fellowship. 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 between the Fellows’ junior and senior years of high school, followed by monthly virtual experiences and two 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 2023 Fellowship are due Dec. 5, 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 2022 are eligible to apply. The Fellowship is a pluralistic program for Jews of all backgrounds; prior Jewish education is not required.
Bronfman Fellows expand their perspectives as they build 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 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 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.
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 nearly 1,400 Bronfman Fellowship alumni across North America and Israel. Among them are 8 Rhodes Scholars, 4 former Supreme Court clerks, 20 Fulbright Scholars, 36 Wexner Fellows and 29 Dorot Fellows. 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; 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, Foreign Affairs Specialist in the Department of Defense; Itamar Moses, Tony award-winner for The Band’s Visit; and Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz, Community Singing Consultant of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute. Alumni also include entrepreneurial Jewish leaders who have founded organizations like Keshet, Sefaria, and YidLife Crisis; and 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.
Our 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.
For more information about The Bronfman Fellowship, including how to apply, please visit www.bronfman.org.