The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI) is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for its 24th summer program. The Bronfman Youth Fellowships sends 26 outstanding North American teenagers to Israel, for five weeks of intellectually engaging summer study during which they experience a shared sense of Jewish community. The program educates and inspires exceptional young Jews from diverse backgrounds to become active participants and leaders in Jewish culture throughout their lives, and to contribute their talents and vision to the Jewish community and to the world at large. The program was founded by Edgar M. Bronfman and is funded by The Samuel Bronfman Foundation (TSBF), which focuses on projects dedicated to fostering a Jewish renaissance. Additionally, TSBF is a major active supporter of the Hillel: The Foundation for Campus Jewish Life, The Curriculum Initiative and MyJewishLearning.com.
Traveling throughout Israel, the Fellows participate in study and dialogue with our diverse rabbinic faculty, which is made up of North American educators, associated with different movements and perspectives within Judaism, who have spent long periods in Israel and have extensive experience working with young people. Fellows meet with some of Israel’s leading intellectuals, religious and political leaders, and educators. They also spend a week with a group of Israeli peers who have been chosen through a parallel selection process as part of our Israeli Youth Fellowship: Amitei Bronfman. After the summer, Fellows participate in a fall follow-up seminar in New York and are invited to a winter seminar with the Amitim in Connecticut. Bronfman Youth Fellows are asked to devise and lead social action projects upon returning home after the summer.
In explaining the purpose of The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, Edgar Bronfman has said, “Our hope is to open lines of communication among a group of outstanding young people on the major issues confronting the Jewish people in all its diversity. In that process, we believe, they will discover that there is a common Jewish agenda that transcends the differences among them.”
There are now 597 Bronfman Fellowship alumni, the majority of whom still take part in alumni activities and projects. Bronfman Youth Fellowship alumni include 7 Rhodes Scholars, 4 former Supreme Court clerks, 11 Fulbright Scholars, 21 Wexner Fellows, and 17 Dorot Fellows.
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 2010 Fellowship are available online and must be submitted online by January 20, 2010. High school students in the United States and Canada, who will be in the twelfth grade in the fall of 2010 may apply.