Bronfman Youth Fellowships Awarded for Program’s 26th Year

Outstanding High School Students from Diverse Jewish Backgrounds to Study in Israel
and Lead Community Projects at Home

For the 26th consecutive year, The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel has selected a group of 26 high school students to be Bronfman Fellows. The Bronfman Fellows participate in an intensive five-week program of study, travel and extensive programming in Israel designed to develop future community leaders committed to Jewish unity. The program was founded by Edgar M. Bronfman.

Following a competitive application process, this year’s Bronfman Fellows are from 12 states across the US and Canada. They represent diverse Jewish backgrounds, including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, unaffiliated and non-denominational.

The Fellows study with a rabbinic faculty including Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum, Executive Director of the Kavana Cooperative in Seattle, Washington; Dr. Vanessa Ochs, a professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia; Rabbi Yehuda Sarn, a University Chaplain for NYU and Rabbi of the Bronfman Center at NYU; and Dr. Noam Pianko, Associate Professor and Samuel N. Stroum Chair of Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.

In Israel, Fellows will meet with political and cultural figures such as authors Etgar Keret and A.B. Yehoshua and also spend a week with a group of Israeli peers who were chosen through a parallel selection process as part of the Israeli Youth Fellowship, Amitei Bronfman. Bronfman Youth Fellows are asked to devise and lead Jewish community or social action projects upon returning home after the summer.

There are now 649 Bronfman Fellowships alumni, the majority of whom still take part in alumni activities and projects. Bronfman Youth Fellowships alumni include 8 Rhodes Scholars, 4 former Supreme Court clerks, 11 Fulbright Scholars, 25 Wexner Fellows, and 21 Dorot Fellows. Young leaders of note among 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 and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and editor of New American Haggadah (featuring commentary from Lemony Snicket, among others); and Angela Warnick Buchdahl, America’s first Asian-American Cantor and Rabbi, at the Central Synagogue in New York City. Others include: Igor Timofeyev, former supreme court clerk and former special advisor for refugee and asylum affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Dara Horn, author of In the Image, The World to Come and All Other Nights; and Anya Kamenetz, the youngest person ever nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her Village Voice series “Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young.”

You can meet the 2012 Fellows and follow their journey on BYFI Summer.