Birthright Israel Excel Selects
Local Students for Prestigious Fellowship
James Hefter from Purchase
Samuel Goldman from Bedford
Nathan Swidler from
Skylar Iosepovici from Hudson
Birthright Israel Excel selected 60 extraordinary college students worldwide for its prestigious Fellowship in business and technology, which will run in Israel for 10 weeks beginning on June 7. Forty participants are from the United States, including local residents Samuel Goldman from Bedford, Nathan Swidler from Briarcliff Manor, James Hefter from Purchase and Skylar Iosepovici from Hudson, New York, while 20 come from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom. Thirteen of them will be visiting Israel for the first time.
Since 2011, the Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship has cultivated the next generation of Jewish business leaders. Each year the fellowship carefully selects top students from hundreds of applicants for summer internships with leading business and tech companies in Tel Aviv.
This year’s cohort features an equal number of women and men and the most first-time visitors to Israel. Their internships will be in such areas as environmental sustainability, software development, consulting, finance, venture capital, engineering, marketing, cybertech, biotech, business development and startup development.
“We can’t wait to introduce the 2022 Excel fellows to the diversity of Israeli people and the highly developed technology culture,” said Idit Rubin, executive director of Birthright Israel Excel. “This program enriches Jewish college students’ lives through in-depth exposure to Israel by working in their fields of interest and gaining unique perspectives from some of the country’s most successful business leaders.”
The Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship involve interning each Israeli workweek, Sunday through Thursday. They include hands-on work experience and an evening series of fascinating speakers from across Israeli society.
A core component is the one-on-one pairing between each Excel fellow and an Israeli, enabling the foreigners to acclimate quickly to the local culture and see the country through a more authentic lens than as typical tourists. Many peer-to-peer relationships grow into long-term friendships. Some have invested in each other’s business ventures.
Birthright Israel Excel fellows enjoy free time to explore Israel with their peers, and three weekend trips as a group bring them throughout the country: the north, typically including the Golan Heights, a winery tour and a rafting trip down the Jordan River; Jerusalem, including the Western Wall and the Machne Yehuda outdoor market; and the south, for a desert trek, a mud bath in the Dead Sea and a sunrise hike on Masada.
After their return home, the Excel fellows enter a network that provides resources for professional and personal development, Israel engagement and encouraging them as philanthropists.
“Birthright Israel’s Excel is the Jewish world’s most prestigious program. I’m proud that our participants proceed to become successful leaders in their Jewish communities and in Israel. They will also inevitably strengthen the Israel-Diaspora relationship,” said Gidi Mark, CEO of Birthright Israel.
Birthright Israel Excel fellows have gone on to positions at top-tier companies, such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bain & Company and Google. Others have developed strategic partnerships with Israeli companies and started their own companies, often hiring other fellows.
Birthright Israel is a program that since 1999 has brought more than 750,000 young Jewish adults on ten-day visits to Israel to introduce them to the country’s ancient roots and modern wonders.