The Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) announces its newest cohort of Fellows for the nationally recognized Rising Voices Fellowship (RVF). Now beginning its eighth year, RVF is a leadership development program for Jewish, female-identified teenagers in tenth through twelfth grades. For the 2020-2021 program year, JWA accepted eighteen Fellows from eleven states across the U.S.
RVF began as a regional pilot in 2013 and expanded to a national program in 2014. The writing-based program equips Fellows with skills, support, and a public platform to use their voices to make change. Fellows develop as leaders by learning about inspiring Jewish women throughout history in a pluralistic setting, encountering and interacting with a range of opinions and views, and ultimately forming and expressing their own responses to historical narratives, current events, and cultural trends. Particularly as young women are now facing unique challenges – from remote learning, to social isolation, economic hardship, and stress at home – RVF provides a space for much needed connection and support.
The teens are guided through the process of writing, editing, and publishing opinion pieces throughout the year. The cohort meets regularly for online webinars as well as for two immersive virtual retreats to explore relevant Jewish and feminist topics that inform their writing. Guest facilitators from a variety of fields and backgrounds offer the fellows contemporary role models and diverse perspectives.
The 2020–2021 cohort was selected from a competitive pool of applicants from across the country. The Fellows range in Jewish observance from Orthodox to non-denominational to secular, and also represent a diversity of LGBTQ, racial, and ethnic identities.