Machon Madяich for Russian-speaking Jewish Educators

Organization: Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY

Grant Year: 2017

Project Director: Violetta Shmulenzon

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $150,000.00 (3 years)


Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst – To create Machon Madяich, a fellowship program that will recruit 36 high school and college-aged students from New York City’s Russian-speaking Jewish community annually and train them to work in Jewish educational settings.

The Machon Madяich initiative, spearheaded by the Marks JCH, will provide Russian Speaking Jews (RSJs) with theoretical and experiential Jewish educational programming, while simultaneously illuminating the pathways for careers in Jewish education. By providing participants with mentorships, professional placements, and educational programming, the youth of the RSJ communities will have the opportunity to strengthen their Jewish identities while obtaining practical experience in the field of Jewish education.

Each year, the Machon Madяich initiative, will include two cohorts of 18 Fellows each:

  • A fellowship for those aged eighteen and under (18UF) comprised of high school juniors and seniors.
  • A fellowship for those aged eighteen and over (18OF) comprised of college freshmen and sophomores.

Opening Shabbaton: Each year, the incoming Fellows will participate in an opening Shabbaton that will outline the goals and expectations of the Fellowship. Fellows will be introduced to leading Jewish educators and trained mentors who will educate and guide them throughout the Fellowship period. 

Educational Sessions: The Machon Madяich program will include both formal educational and experiential learning sessions on a wide array of topics including modern Jewish and Israeli history, American Jewish culture, and traditional text study. 

Professional Placement. The 18UF cohort will be placed within Marks JCH’s various year-round programs including Jewish family education programs, pre-school programs, and afterschool programs. During the summer months, 18UF will also be placed in JCC summer day camps throughout the Tri-State Area. Senior educators and camp staff will mentor the 18UF cohort and provide guidance and effective pedagogic strategies throughout the year. The 18OF cohort will be placed in Jewish organizations throughout the New York area where they will learn to develop and lead educational programs. The 18OF cohort will be matched with professional mentors – experienced Jewish educators – with whom they will meet quarterly throughout the program.

Closing Shabbaton/Capstone Project. The 18UF cohort will participate in a closing Shabbaton. The 18OF cohort will complete a Capstone Project., in which they will create new initiatives and innovate programs for the RSJ community in the field of Jewish education.