October 2020 -- Tishrei- Cheshvan 5781,  Volume 26, Issue 10

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The Bronfman Fellowship Announces 35th Application Season

The Bronfman Fellowship has announced that applications are now being accepted for the 35th year of this prestigious program.  The Bronfman Fellowship selects twenty-six outstanding North American teenagers for an intellectually challenging year of programming that begins with a free, five-week trip to Israel in the summer between the Fellows’ junior and senior years of high school, followed by monthly virtual experiences and a winter and spring seminar 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 program was founded 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 cultural leaders, and educators, such as Matti Friedman, Israeli-Canadian journalist and author; Joy Ladin, transgender American poet; and Anthony Russell, Jewish African-American musician. With the guidance of a diverse faculty of Rabbis and educators, the pluralistic group of Fellows have the opportunity to explore a wide range of Jewish texts, from classic religious works to contemporary Israeli and American voices, using them to spark conversations, engage with stimulating existential questions, and achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and one another.


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.  They have the opportunity to participate in the Fellowship’s arts tracks: workshops in poetry, drama, visual narrative, and music taught by leading innovators in the field of Jewish art.  Upon returning home from the summer in Israel, Fellows also explore major themes in North American Jewish life.


This past summer, The Bronfman Fellowship conducted a successful virtual program for its 2020 cohort.  It is the Fellowship’s hope that the 2021 Fellowship year will proceed normally and that Fellows will be able to meet in person and travel to Israel.  If international travel is not possible, the Fellowship will continue to provide Fellows with a powerful, transformative experience through domestic travel options and/or virtual programming, as the current health situation warrants.


“My father, Edgar M. Bronfman, placed enormous faith in young people’s ability to see the world not just as it is, but as it ought to be,” said Adam R. Bronfman, President of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation. “He believed that young people energized by their Judaism were best equipped to both shape a Jewish ‘Renaissance’ and improve the world.”


“The Fellowship is an opportunity for dynamic personal and intellectual growth in a group of carefully chosen peers,” said Becky Voorwinde, Executive Director.  “We seek to increase communication between young people across the Jewish spectrum including fostering bonds between Jews in North America and Israel. This program serves as a creative force that has inspired some of our best Jewish young adults to become creative leaders in their 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 over 1,300 Bronfman Fellowship alumni across North America and Israel. Among them are 7 Rhodes Scholars, 4 former Supreme Court clerks, 18 Fulbright Scholars, 36 Wexner Fellows and 27 Dorot Fellows.


Fellows have found that participation in The Fellowship has helped them in their college application process.  More than 50% of Fellows go on to attend Ivy League universities.


Applications for the 2021 Fellowship are due December 3, 2020, 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 twelfth grade in the fall of 2021 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.


For more information about The Bronfman Fellowship, including how to apply, visit www.bronfman.org.