What Will I Learn on the Bronfman Fellowship?

What Will I Learn on the Bronfman Fellowship?


I often say we’re not an Israel program. We use Israel as the campus for our exploration of Jewish identity. We start from a place of asking our amazing faculty to really identify the kinds of texts and ideas and conversations that they are most passionate about. One of the things that’s most important for us is to reach speakers who are of the highest caliber, who speak usually to adult audiences. We’re not looking for people who are necessarily representative of a particular community or opinion but people who struggle with their own identity and with their own community, people who take action. On the Bronfman Fellowships, Fellows really encounter a wide range of Jewish texts and ideas. We study the classics Bible, Torah, midrash, Talmud But we enrich that conversation in those texts with modern Jewish texts. Poetry, novels, texts that have really questioned what it means to be a modern Jew. We try and identify texts that in some ways are actually kind of obscure. We want our Fellows to all be starting in the same place. Some of them might have years of Jewish day school education and others may never have seen Hebrew letters before they come to the Fellowship. That’s okay. For me a test of a good text is one that both educates and inspires, but one which forces Fellows to ask deeply, Who am I? What am I doing here? If a text doesn’t evoke those questions it’s often not going to be the one that’s going to spark the conversations that will be memorable 20, 30 years later.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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