Fellows and alumni through the years reflect on what The Bronfman Fellowship means to them:
“The Fellowship is an opportunity to be surrounded by some of the most passionate people you can meet. It provides the opportunity to meet with world-class speakers who interact with you as equals, share deep and nuanced discussions with peers who are incredibly diverse and genuine, and give you an environment to freely dive into what being a Jew means to you, all with no pressure or grades, just pure interest.”
– Samuel Z. (’23)
“The Bronfman Fellowship experience has been the highlight of both my academic and social experience throughout high school. The program was highly engaging with a diverse set of experiences and speakers. Most importantly, the friendships I made, many of which will last a lifetime, are irreplaceable.”
– Dani W. (’23)
“The Bronfman Fellowship is a place where you truly get to think about things. Freed from busy work, typical teenage responsibilities, and even a curfew, you’ll be free to experience the intellectual gold mine of Israel and Jewish Pluralism and discuss your ideas with an extraordinary group of young Jews just as passionate and curious as you. You’ll emerge from the program as a better learner, thinker, and person, counting the days off until the next seminar begins.”
– Raphael D. (’23)
“Bronfman changed how I think about Judaism. Looking forward, I think that it will be foundational in how I approach my Jewish heritage. Frankly, it is amazing that we are able to have such a thorough summer experience for free.”
– Max G. (’23)
“Bronfman opened my eyes to parts of Jewish identity, history, and my own identity [which] I need to dig deeper into. I’m incredibly grateful for the experience and I will carry much of what I learned forever.”
– Ellie F. (’23)
“My world was ‘rocked’ what felt like 40,000 times… Bronfman gave me the opportunity and the tools to give voice to ideas and feeling I possessed prior to Bronfman, but couldn’t ever express, and in other cases, I came up with completely new ideas I hadn’t ever thought about before.”
– Dahlia M. (’22)
“I loved the diversity of Jewish voices and everyone’s open-mindedness. I really felt comfortable voicing my opinion, secure in the knowledge that everyone would respect and listen to me, while potentially offering new perspectives.”
– Daphne F. (’22)
“Living in a pluralistic community was one of the greatest things I have ever gotten to experience. One of the greatest gifts the Bronfman Fellowship gave me was simply the opportunity to live alongside more Orthodox Jews, whom I had never met previously. Seeing how their Judaism interacts with their day-to-day lives was illuminating and helped to show me that the divide between sects of Judaism is not as stark as I had once thought.”
– ’22 Fellow
“I go to a pluralistic school, yet this was the first time I experienced genuine pluralism. Bronfman engendered respect among the fellows by encouraging us to make our own Shabbat rules and ensure each other’s comfort.”
– ’22 Fellow
“I had never been with so many different types of Jews. I felt that it actually strengthened my practice and beliefs.”
– ’22 Fellow
“This was an incredible opportunity to meet Jews with entirely different practices from mine. I go to a pluralistic Jewish school and had never experienced this type of diversity.”
– Talia N. (’21)
“The ability to discuss Judaism and its role in my life with peers that I respect as intellectuals but also like very much as people allowed me to comfortably step out of my comfort zone, and I ended up… better understanding new mindsets.”
– Meyer L. (’21)
“I learned so much about the importance of incorporating creativity with intellectual work.”
– Mia S. (’21)
“[Learning on Bronfman was] the complete opposite of high school’s usual mentality of speed-read, speed-understand, move on… Such deep, patient clarity of thought is something I have sought to retain, and retrieve in moments of high stress or overwhelming pace.
– Ryder L. (’21)
“I have never been in a space where learning is genuinely always so enjoyable.”
– Nina S. (’21)
“At Bronfman I had the opportunity not only to observe, but more importantly to immerse myself in such a rich, pluralistic Jewish community. By being exposed to such a diversity of experiences and backgrounds, sometimes I disagreed with what was shared and sometimes I closely resonated with it, but I always benefited from it – whether that be by expanding my world view or internalizing a new type of Jewish practice or perspective that I would like to incorporate into my life.”
– Yossi M. (’21)
“Experiencing genuine, consistent, and youth-led Jewish joy in this community was awe-inspiring.”
– Jack G. (’21)
“Bronfman introduced me to my best friends.”
– Katje B. (’21)
The fellowship is absolutely crucial for intellectual stimulation and widening of one’s world view. I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.
– Marina R. (’20)
You’ll make some of the best friends that you could imagine. These are people with whom you’ll explore the depths of yourself and have a truly transformative summer. It’s this unimaginably incredible combination of intense intellectual learning, real camaraderie, and emotional investment. It allows you to reconsider all the things you’ve taken for granted in your Judaism and your community within the context of 25 Fellows and a staff that loves and supports you, not to mention the vast alumni network.
– Tal B. (’20)
Everyone bends over backwards to give you some of the best, most intellectually challenging, fulfilling, and inspiring weeks of your life.
– Sam L. (’20)
It genuinely changed the way I think about the world so much. I have grown religiously and developed a deeper passion for Judaism and text study. I have thought about things I didn’t even know where things to think about, and I made such amazing friends…
– Kate O. (’20)
Often I can have deep conversations with very interesting and thoughtful people my age, and I can have Jewish conversations with Jews my age. It’s really unique, though, to have so many deep, Jewish conversations with such smart, interesting, and thoughtful Jews my age.
– Gideon R. (’20)
This summer was one of the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve made so many great connections – even over Zoom! Even virtually it is a life-changing experience.
– Daniel S. (’20)
The fellowship surmounted virtual barriers and created a community of intellect, discourse, and joyful encounters through which I was able to create relationships with a depth I didn’t know was possible through the computer screen.
– Ava B. (’20)
I felt challenged, valued, and enthusiastic each week. I know that I have found life-long friends and mentors through Bronfman. I was not entirely certain when I first applied, but take a chance and be yourself, I promise that it is worth it.
– Laila B. (’20)
I now find myself hungry for new, opposing perspectives, looking to disrupt mental stasis in order to grow. I also have a deeper respect for the joy of intellectual inquiry…. Only now can I appreciate how much sheer delight comes from an exchange of ideas founded in shared love and respect.
– Abigail S. (’19)
I understood the importance of listening to understand a person, rather than listening to simplify a person.
– Ross A. (’19)
Previously, I viewed discussion and intellectual inquiry through a non-text based, power dynamic-focused lens. This view was shaped by my avid participation throughout high school in Model United Nations. However, Bronfman has shown me that discussion and intellectual inquiry can reach a much deeper level when conversation is multipolar around a text, rather than bipolar between debaters.
– Abe B. (’19)
I’ll always think of Bronfman as my ‘spirit home’. A place that enabled my imagination to run wild, where I could soar into ideas completely foreign to me and come away with deep and precious memories…
– Raya T. (’19)
This skill of listening [learned on Bronfman] is really truly priceless and has already helped me to grow leaps and bounds not just in intellectual circles, but as a full person.
– Micah S. (’18)
The Fellowship has allowed me to understand what it means to be heard by someone I disagree with. I realized over Bronfman that often tension in intellectual conversations comes not from the conflict of ideas but from an inability to really take in what the other is saying.
– Sophie N. (’18)
Before Bronfman, I didn’t fully grasp the power of understanding other narratives, and how important it is to see things from more than one perspective. Now, I see everyone in my life differently because of it.
– Yoni A. (’17)
The Bronfman Fellowship has introduced me to a deeper, more meaningful way of thinking about all that is engaging and challenging. I’ve met the most incredibly curious, open-minded, and cohesive [group of] peers this summer with whom I am excited to continue learning with.
– Shulie S. (’17)
Ultimately, I intend to live my life with more intention and vision as a result of Bronfman, working to be more productive with my time in order to be a more vigorous learner, Jew, and person.
– Gabi W. (’17)
The Bronfman Fellowship brought me into a community of lifelong fellows, with whom I am always able to discuss intellectual issues. It’s an opportunity to talk to interested people about different ideas and issues.
– Dotan A. (’16)
Bronfman was a summer of extending, transcending differences, swimming across canyons to meet one another halfway. For that, I am forever grateful.
– Chaya H. (’16)
My Bronfman Fellowship experience transformed how I view friendship, community and learning. Over the fellowship I developed lifelong bonds, felt the warmth of an incredible group, and approached texts with passionate intensity. I experienced a thrilling level of vulnerability with those around me.
– Isaiah M. (’16)
The Bronfman Fellowship feels like an extended family who has always been there for me and supported me. I made some of my strongest friendships through Bronfman and also gained an enlarged sense of my identity as a Jew.
– Elliot M. (’10)
The Fellowship and the lifelong community have helped me find my voice as a member of and leader in the Jewish community and given me the confidence that I can help shape and improve it!
– Joseph R. (’10)
Building a community with twenty five other Fellows and four faculty has led me to foster the growth of the other communities that I am a part of – my school, my synagogue, my family – and has taught me the value of being a thermostat and not a thermometer. That is, to act how you want your community to act, to not just reflect the status quo.
– Kassandra L. (’10)
My Bronfman experience was important to me because of the reference points it has given me for the rest of my life. The songs I learned over my Bronfman summer are the songs I still listen to today. The friends I made remain some of the friends I depend on most. The debates I had then are the ones I continue to have today. The texts I studied with Bronfman are the ones that I think about and share most often. The questions I asked of myself and of others are the questions I’m still asking today.
– Stephen R. (’09)
Bronfman is yeast. The Fellowship provided me with just the right conditions and amount of nourishment to grow and expand. I am more outgoing, confident and expressive…It has become clearer to me that Bronfman isn’t just about the five weeks; it is about rising to your true potential.
– Aliza G. (’09)
Bronfman is a place where I can always find someone to have a fascinating conversation with. It’s a community that appreciates openness, accountability, and challenges. Bronfman cares deeply about the personal growth of each fellow and as an alumna and former employee I feel grateful for that dedicated care.
– Daphna E. (’05)
Bronfman is my Jewish community—it keeps me engaged with texts, seeing the world through a Jewish lens, maintaining a meaningful set of religious practices, thinking critically about Israel and the Diaspora, and socializing across a truly pluralistic community. Not only that: Bronfman has given me five of my dearest and deepest friendships, and continues to offer new opportunity for connection.
– Ryder K. (’03)
I am consistently impressed by the caliber of people who are Bronfman Fellows. Every moment with a Bronfman Fellow leads to thoughtful, meaningful conversation and reflection.
– Danny G. (’00)
I have always loved the study of Torah and Talmud and have never been able to devote myself entirely to it, so the Fellowship was a much-welcomed chance to work with learned teachers and committed fellow students.
– Marisa H. (’96)
On the trip, many of my misconceptions and gaps in knowledge about the different denominations were corrected and filled, respectively.
– Sheila N. (’96)
Bronfman is not merely a fun trip. In fact, it’s not really a collective trip, but an individual journey.
– Ilana L. (’94)
The summer made me more aware of how much there is out there in terms of Jewish experience; how many different perspectives there are within our culture.
– Rachel G. (’94)
Bronfman was an important step in my growing as a person. It challenged my thinking in many different ways, made me look differently at some aspects of Judaism and religion in general. It made me ask many questions that I hadn’t thought of before.
– Anya S. (’93)
The program’s stress on intensive study of our heritage and the tolerance and respect shown to all participants irrespective of their opinions guides me in my study and interaction with others to this day.
– Zvi S. (’88)
The Bronfman experience continues to impact my life today because it was really my first opportunity to live in a non-denominational, intellectual, committed Jewish community.
– Sheila J. (’87)