The Fellowship: Exploring Ideas That Matter
Tikvah Summer Fellows will study the great political and cultural questions facing modern Jews, and they will undertake independent projects and internships aimed at strengthening the Jewish people and the Jewish nation.
View the 2019 Summer Fellows Projects
The Opening Seminar: Jews and Political Philosophy
The fellowship program begins with an intensive two-week seminar on the great political questions facing modern Jews today, and exploring what can Jews learn from the great texts of modern political philosophy.
The modern West, with its emphasis on progress, freedom, and individualism, has presented unprecedented opportunities for Jewish flourishing, both in America and in Israel. But the freedom that Jews as individuals have enjoyed has led to novel and difficult challenges—challenges in preserving Jewish identity, in educating a rising generation of Jews about the unique greatness and enduring importance of Jewish civilization, and in negotiating the complexities of a world with two major Jewish centers—Israel and America. Young people who feel a calling to live a life of Jewish purpose and Jewish leadership need to understand the competing political ideas that have given birth to the modern Jewish condition and how the Jewish situation relates to the greater challenges and choices now facing the democratic West.
This seminar will explore this exciting drama of ideas by looking at some of the key texts that have shaped the Jewish and political landscape that we live in today. Our guides will be world-renowned experts in the areas of Western political thought (Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs), modern Jewish thought (Leora Batnitzky of Princeton University), and modern Jewish literature (Ruth Wisse, emeritus professor at Harvard University and now Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund).
The Jewish Strategy Workshop
Week three of the fellowship program is an intensive workshop on Jewish strategy. Led by Tikvah Executive Director Eric Cohen, the fellows will carefully analyze the concrete challenges facing the Jewish people in the modern world and competing strategies for trying to address them.
In the Jewish strategy workshop, fellows will examine communal issues—such as the weakening of Jewish identity in America, the high costs of Jewish education, the future of the ultra-Orthodox community, and the relationship between religious, traditional, and secular Jews. Fellows will look at key political issues—including the America-Israel relationship, Israeli security in a continually dangerous Middle East, and domestic policy battles such as school choice, the future of the Supreme Court, and social issues like marriage and abortion. Fellows will consider competing strategies—debating the issues with each other, presenting competing policy options, and voting on how to shape the Jewish agenda in the current age.
The Jewish Policy Project / Internships
Following the strategy workshop, each fellow will undertake an independent project or internship that focuses on a specific area of Jewish public policy or Jewish communal life. We will work individually with the fellows to find projects that suit their own intellectual and professional interests, while advancing the core principles of our partners at the Jewish Leadership Project. Fellows may receive placement or mentoring from partner organizations and individuals such as these:
- Israeli Public Policy – Kohelet Forum in Israel
- Jews and Religious Liberty – Becket Fund, Ethics and Public Policy Center
- Israeli Strategy and the Middle East – Hudson Institute and The Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies
- Jews and School Choice – EdChoice, Manhattan Institute, National Affairs
- The Political Future of American Jewry – Mosaic
- Jewish Culture and Civilization – Jewish Review of Books
- Jewish-Christian Alliance – Philos Project, Ethics and Public Policy Center
- America-Israel Relationship – Elliott Abrams
Throughout the summer, Tikvah fellows will have the opportunity to meet and hear from some of the leading figures in politics, academia, journalism, education, culture, and religious life. The aims of these sessions to help fellows reflect on their own callings and careers by learning from models of excellence in the different arenas of modern life. Past speakers have included: Dara Horn, Rabbi JJ Schacter, William Kristol, Brooke Goldstein, Elliott Abrams, and more. Read more about it here.
In the final week of the fellowship, the fellows will hold a conference to present their research to their colleagues and other members of the Tikvah network of students, writers, and professionals.
Who Should Apply?
Current undergraduate students interested in moral, social, political, or strategic thought.
Jews of all backgrounds and denominations, ideas and persuasions, who are committed to serious inquiry, moral discourse, and the future of Judaism.
Alumni of previous Tikvah programs for college, high school and gap year students.