The Fellowship Year

The Fellowship Year

The Bronfman Fellowship is a transformative, year-long experience for a cohort of 26 intellectually adventurous young people who want to see the world through a lens broader than their own. An opportunity unlike any other, it’s a space where Fellows can give free rein to their curiosity and explore issues with depth, candor, and joy, all while having fun and forming friendships to last a lifetime. It begins with:

  • An immersive summer experience in the Berkshires* – In between their junior and senior years of high school, Fellows come together to study major issues in contemporary Jewish life, build a pluralistic community, and meet with some of today’s most influential figures. Inspired by a diverse faculty of Rabbis, educators, and artists, the pluralistic group of Fellows have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a wide range of Jewish texts – from classic religious documents to contemporary Israeli and American voices – as well as artistic workshops, using them to spark conversations, engage with stimulating existential questions, and achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and one another. Read more about what Fellows learn, how they get to know their Israeli peers, and a day in the life of the summer Fellowship.

*While the Bronfman summer typically takes place in Israel, we are holding a domestic program in 2021, at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, in response to COVID-19. Read more about our COVID policies here.

After the Fellows return home, they continue their Fellowship year with programming that’s immersive, fun, and meaningful. Fellows are encouraged to integrate ideas and values learned over the summer into their daily life, to deepen their friendships, to further explore American Jewish identity, and to learn how to channel their interests and passions to make a significant impact on the world.

In recent years, the post-summer experience has included: 

  • Monthly virtual meetings – Opportunities for reflection, deep dialogue, and processing with the same small group of Fellows and faculty members. 
  • Winter Context Seminar – A collective retreat in December in the Northeastern U.S., in which the Fellows continue to learn and build relationships, and meet up with the Israeli Fellows who visit the U.S. at this time. 
  • Spring Seminar – Several days in the spring when the Fellows and faculty meet in a Northeastern U.S. city – generally NYC or Washington D.C. – to explore American Jewish identities.
  • Beyond Bronfman process – Fellows choose a question, topic, or idea from their Fellowship summer that they would like to explore further. When they return home, they embark on a process of deep exploration with the help of alumni, staff, and faculty.  As the last step in their Fellowship year journey, they present the results of their exploration to the other Fellows. 

Upon completion of the Fellowship year, Fellows join an extraordinarily active 1,300+ member alumni community. College-age alumni are encouraged to attend our yearly collegiate gatherings, which typically take place in the Northeastern U.S. Read more about alumni life here.