Would you like to learn about social issues and culture in Israel and then share what you've learned with your friends and community?
Are you interested in connecting with teens from across North America and Israel with diverse passions and interests?
Does the idea of organizing for positive change in Israel and at home inspire you?
Would you like tools to use to improve your communities and the wider world?
If any of these questions are true for you, APPLY to the Fall 2023 Cohort of the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship!
What is the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship?
The URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship is an immersive nine-month fellowship for North American high school students (ages 14-18) to learn about the society and culture of Israel and learn how to organize within their communities.
For the first four months of the fellowship, Teen Israel Organizing Fellows will travel to Israel and attend Heller High during the Fall 2023 semester. While there, they will learn about Israel's past and present; travel around the country to meet community organizers and experience various social issues up close; and hone their leadership and community organizing skills.
Upon returning home from Israel in the Winter of 2024 — and under the guidance of a supportive mentor — Teen Israel Organizing Fellows will spearhead an organizing project in their local communities. In partnership with their peers, Fellows will explore what they are passionate about in Israel, decide how they want to organize their communities, and then put their ideas into action!
Teen Israel Organizing Fellows will finish this program empowered and prepared to lead their peers on the issues they care most deeply about. They will have developed a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Israel; they will be able to lead community actions, events, discussions, and more within their community; and they will have the tools they need to work for social change in Israel, at home, and elsewhere.
What will you do as a fellow?
While in Israel, Teen Israel Organizing Fellows will…
- be a full-time student during the URJ Heller High Fall 2023 semester, where they will study modern spoken Hebrew and Jewish history in addition to the robust general studies curriculum Heller High offers
- participate in a new fellowship class where they'll learn about contemporary Israeli society and about the basics of community organizing
- engage in a fellowship cohort of peers eager to organize for positive social change in Israel and at home
When they return home to North America, Teen Israel Organizing Fellows will…
- identify a part of Israeli life that they are passionate about
- receive support from a mentor to help plan and lead their organizing project
- invite a group of peers to participate in their organizing project
- implement their organizing project in their communities
What might an organizing project look like?
Once they return home from Heller High and building on what they learned from their experience in Israel, Teen Israel Organizing Fellows will plan an organizing project based on the issues in Israel they and their peers are most passionate about and based on what needs they see within their communities.
So that they feel supported throughout the entire fellowship process, Teen Israel Organizing Fellows will work with a dedicated and attentive mentor to help them plan and implement their organizing projects.
Our understanding of organizing is intentionally broad and we're hoping to bring in a diverse group of fellows with a variety of interests and skillsets. Teen Israel Organizing Fellows can be activists, artists, athletes, and more. They can be studious, charismatic, or reserved. They can have different political perspectives and different levels of exposure to Israel. In other words, all are welcome to apply!
Examples of organizing projects might include (but are not limited to):
- starting a club or running a program
- curating an art exhibit or musical performance
- creating a zine, short video or podcast
- bringing friends to your house for a Shabbat or holiday experience of your own design
- planning a local march or another community action
- conducting a series of 1:1 meetings or organizing a house meeting
- running a campaign about something happening in Israel that you are passionate about
- holding a fundraiser for an Israel-based organization you believe in
- bringing teens in North America and in Israel together to learn and explore issues they have in common
As a part of the Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship, fellows will receive…
- a $15,000 stipend that will offset the cost of tuition at Heller High (available only for the Fall 2023 Semester)
- an enrichment course for Teen Israel Organizing Fellows about community organizing and about social issues and culture in Israel
- mentoring and support to successfully complete the organizing project
A Note on Inclusion and Access
We welcome students of all social identities and from all socioeconomic classes to apply to this fellowship.
Aside from the $15,000 scholarship fellows will be awarded for participating in the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship, all Heller High students are able to pursue additional funding to help offset the balance of their tuition. We are committed to working to find the funding and support necessary to make the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship financially accessible for all fellows and their families.
For more information about financial aid or the Heller High application process in general, please reach out to Robin Kulwin.
Finally, although the Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship is organized through the Reform Movement, we hope to draw students who come from many different denominations to create a vibrant and pluralistic community. All are welcome to apply!
|Winter/Spring 2023||Fellows apply to and interview for the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship and Heller High.|
|August 2023||Fellows will meet for an online fellowship orientation.|
|Fall 2023||Fellows will participate in the Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship and attend Heller High in Israel.|
|Winter/Spring 2024||Fellows will execute their organizing projects back in their home communities.|
We are looking for teens…
- who are interested in attending or already planning to attend Heller High for the Fall 2023 semester.
- who are able to handle an additional class while studying at Heller High.
- with various political perspectives and with various levels of exposure to Israel.
- who are open to exploring people and ideas they haven't yet encountered.
- who are 14-18 years old.
Applications and admissions are rolling - that is, we will begin interviewing and accepting students as soon as we receive their applications.
There are a limited number of scholarships available, so submit your applications as soon as possible!
*Note: Acceptance to the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship is contingent on students also applying to and being accepted to URJ Heller High. Prospective Teen Israel Organizing Fellows should also complete the Heller High program application.
- Apply to the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship
- Recommend someone for the fellowship.
- For more information about the URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship, complete the interest form.
- Register for a virtual info session. (times are Eastern)
The URJ Teen Israel Organizing Fellowship is a joint venture between the Union for Reform Judaism and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.