List College Launches New Fellowship

The Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies of The Jewish Theological Seminary prepares students to take their place as the new generation of Jewish leaders, spotlighting the importance of being responsible, conscientious Jewish citizens.

To further advance that goal, List College has created the Fellowship in Jewish Social Entrepreneurship (FJSE) in response to the many students who want to pursue careers specifically in social justice.

The result of input from the List College Student Advisory Committee, alumni, and various professionals, FJSE has been evaluated by many different groups to ensure an experience unlike any other. In addition, a partnership with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, will, "enable us to benefit from the experience and expertise of a leading Jewish social justice organization," says Jon Lopatin, a member of the List College Advisory Board.

Beginning as a pilot program with five students in the spring 2009 semester, FJSE consists of three central components: an intensive training/orientation program, an internship at an organization or business that demonstrates effective modes of social change, and a biweekly seminar designed to help cultivate connections between Judaism, activism, and professional achievements.

According to Dr. Shuly Schwartz, dean of List College, "Through these three components, FJSE will prepare select List College students to be both visionaries and realists who can implement social change. Most importantly these new Jewish social entrepreneurs will have an understanding of social justice and social change that is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values."

If the initial interest in the pilot program is any indication of future success, FJSE is already having a big impact. "We had a lot of interest and many students who wanted to join," says Rebecca Hammerman, assistant dean of List College. The undergraduate school hopes to increase the program's size to ten students for the fall 2009 semester.

FJSE is different from other social justice fellowships because it combines seminars with hands-on internships at organizations such as Safe Horizons, Federation Employment Guidance Services (FEGS), Educational Alliance, and the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. "Students get to analyze what they are seeing in the field," Hammerman says.

The students are already seeing the benefits. "I am working in the Behavioral Health division of FEGS, which affords me a view of the mental-health field and its intersection with the nonprofit world," says Nicole Yeroshalmi, "FJSE is a wonderful opportunity for me to connect my education at both Columbia and JTS to my future goal of becoming a physician."

Senior Shoshana Brownstein says, "I have always been dedicated to social justice. Working at the Educational Alliance has already proven to be great experience and is helping me further direct my career goals. The fellowship is perfect for me."

Applications for the full-year program are due in April 2009.
Contact Rebecca Hammerman for more information.