A Message from CEO Becky Voorwinde About the 2024 Bronfman Fellowship

May 2024 – We are making some one-time changes to our 2024 summer Fellowship schedule for North American students. After careful consideration, we have decided that the majority of the Fellowship summer will take place in the U.S. this year, with an optional trip to Israel at the end of July.

Our commitment to strengthening the relationship between Israeli and American Jews and our belief in the value of learning in Israel remain unwavering. We hope to resume our typical schedule in future summers. However, given the ongoing uncertainty around security in Israel, we determined that the best way to ensure the quality of our educational experience and maintain our commitment to pluralism was to design a primarily U.S.-based format for 2024.

Running a domestic Fellowship summer is not unprecedented for Bronfman: in 2021, due to the pandemic, we held a vibrant and successful Fellowship summer exclusively in the U.S. (see our video).

Our 37+ years of experience have taught us that it’s the people who make the experience. The diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and interests reflected in every Fellowship cohort is essential to the success of each Fellow’s personal and Jewish journey. As the summer approaches, we did not want to risk significant attrition that would negatively impact the diversity of this cohort. Just last week, Root One, a peer organization that subsidizes teen Israel travel, announced a 90% decline in Israel trip enrollment for this summer. We understand that every family has a different comfort level with respect to travel during wartime. While we hope that the entire cohort will choose to travel with us to Israel for a week in July, we are not making travel to Israel a requirement for participation this summer.

In this challenging moment in Jewish history, our Fellows will have an unparalleled opportunity to delve deeply into the Jewish experience, both in America and Israel, with a group of promising young Jewish leaders. The vibrancy of American Jewish creativity and the impact of American Jews on all facets of society offer a fertile ground for Fellows to engage with this summer and beyond. We are already working on an outstanding line-up of guest speakers, teachers, and site visits; and we are looking forward to partaking in the beauty of New England for outdoor excursions and camping.

The Fellowship Year – which includes an immersive summer and a Winter and Spring seminar, as well as monthly virtual meetings – will be conducted at various locations including Israel, Maryland, New York, Boston, and the Bay Area. 

Thankfully, our North American Fellows will still have the opportunity to build friendships and engage in important conversations with their peers from Amitei Bronfman both during their visit to Israel in July and when our Amitim travel to the U.S. in April of 2025. Our Israeli and American cohorts benefit most from their joint encounters when they represent the widest spectrum of perspectives, political views, and backgrounds of their respective countries. These joint encounters are needed now more than ever to grapple honestly with the challenges and opportunities we face in the future.

Becky Voorwinde, CEO, and The Bronfman Fellowship Team