What contingency plans do you have in place for Covid-19 related issues?

We are monitoring communication from the CDC, NIH, and in coordination with Yale’s Conference and Events team. Above all, the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff are our highest priority. We currently anticipate that the program will take place as scheduled but we are actively considering other options if safety considerations prevent the program from going through as planned.

If circumstances require a cancellation or personal medical conditions preclude your child from safe participation, we will naturally refund all monies, including the $500 deposit. Of course, as soon as we have updates affecting the program this summer, we will communicate those developments to families and participants as soon as possible.

As this is a developing situation, we are still monitoring the crisis and looking to create alternative arrangements for your summer experience as a TS if necessary.

Who is eligible to apply to become a Tikvah Scholar?

The cohort of Tikvah Scholars is selected from current high school juniors and seniors attending Jewish day schools. We welcome applicants from Yeshiva high schools, community day schools, and other full-time Jewish educational programs. Students who attend private or public schools are encouraged to apply to become a Maimonides Scholar.

How much does it cost to attend the Tikvah Scholars Program?

Tuition is $895 for accepted applicants who submit their applications before December 18, 2019. For accepted applicants who submit their application during the extended application period, tuition will be $1,295.

Tuition helps cover the cost of seminars, books, and food. All other onsite program expenses, including housing, are fully subsidized by the Tikvah Fund.

Full and partial need-based tuition scholarships are available. No student will be turned away because of need. The application is free and the admissions process is need-blind.

What are the rooming and religious arrangements?

Students will be housed in a Yale dormitory a short walk from a space that will have a traditional synagogue set up. This location will serve as the center of daily Jewish life, including three daily prayer services. Delicious Kosher meals will be provided throughout the program and the Shabbat at the Tikvah Scholars Program is often one of the highlights of the summer for participants.

The program will be conducted in accord with halakhic standards of behavior.

When does this program take place?

The program starts the afternoon of June 29, 2020, and ends the afternoon of July 8, 2020.

Is there transportation to the program?

The Tikvah Fund will provide a complimentary bus to the Yale University campus in New Haven, CT, from a central location in the New York City area on June 29 and a return bus on July 8.

The student’s family or guardian is responsible for getting the student to the bus in New York or to New Haven directly.

What does a day at the Program look like?

Although the central features of every day are the seminars, a variety of extracurricular activities are also scheduled throughout the program. Check out the daily schedule from a previous program for a taste of what this year will be like!

What is the deadline for submitting an application?

Applications open October 17, 2019. There are two application deadlines. December 18, 2019, is the regular deadline for applications. Applicants who choose to apply after December 18 will have an extended application period to submit their application, which ends on January 27, 2020. After the extended application period has ended, no applications will be accepted. Although there is no admissions advantage to applying before the extended application period deadline, there is a significant difference in tuition costs, as described above.

What is the application like?

We are thrilled that so many exceptional high school students want to join Tikvah at Yale this summer. While we wish we could include all those interested, we are forced to invite only a selection of applicants to be a Tikvah Scholar.

The application process is straightforward (and free of charge). As part of the application, you will be asked to:

  • Provide your name, contact information, school, and year of graduation.
  • Write two short essays. The first essay is no longer than 600 words and is about a text that is important to you. The second essay is no longer than 250 words and is about an important personality of the 20th century.
  • Include a brief description of how you hope to grow as a Tikvah Scholar, a short bio, and a parent/guardian’s contact information.

We’ll also ask for a headshot, a copy of your transcript, and one letter of recommendation.

What is the application review process?

The admissions committee makes admissions decisions. The committee consists of faculty, staff, and senior consultants of the Tikvah Scholars Program. Your application will be read by at least two members of the committee. Select applicants will be invited for a short video interview with at least one member of the committee. Ultimately, candidates will be invited to become Tikvah Scholars this summer based on the quality, depth and sophistication of their writing; their demonstration of virtuous character and potential for leadership, broadly defined; and their ability to clearly communicate their opinions, interests, and aspirations.

How many students participate in this program?

We will accept up to 70 Tikvah Scholars this summer. We seek intellectually curious students who want to make a difference in the world. They should be willing to grapple with big questions and be ready for vigorous but respectful debate.

Tikvah Scholars, and students at the Tikvah Fund more generally, are not merely with us for the duration of the program. Tikvah Scholars alumni will have access to mentoring opportunities, alumni networking, follow-up career opportunities, and educational programming through our Tikvah Alumni Network.

Do you need to have a Jewish studies background to participate in the program?

While the majority of our participants attend Jewish day schools or yeshivot, the program’s course flexibility means that an intensive Jewish studies background is not always necessary to participate. We will be able to assist you in crafting your experience in a way that is appropriate to your background. Additionally, the curriculum for Maimonides Scholars is developed specifically for students with less traditional Jewish literacy.

Do I need to observe Jewish laws to participate in the program?

While many students live halakhic lifestyles in all aspects of their personal and private activity, we have as an expectation that all students uphold the laws of Shabbat, kashrut, and sexual modesty in all public spaces over the course of the program.

Included in the schedule is time for communal prayer. A traditional mehitza minyan (prayers with separate seating for men and women) will meet three times daily. An alternative arrangement will be offered to students who are not familiar with this type of service, depending on demand.

Is there a way to find out if I will get in early?

All students will be notified if they are finalists by early March and will receive further information at that time regarding an interview with a member of the selection committee. Final decisions will be delivered by early April.

What does it mean to be part of the Tikvah family?

The Tikvah Fund is a philanthropic foundation and ideas institution committed to cultivating the next generation of intellectual, religious, and political leaders of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. Tikvah runs and invests in a wide range of initiatives in Israel, the United States, and around the world, including educational programs, publications, and fellowships. We invite you to explore some of these initiatives through the links on our website.

Our animating mission and guiding spirit is to advance Jewish excellence and Jewish flourishing in the modern age. Our institutes, programs, and publications all reflect this spirit of bringing forward the serious alternatives for what the Jewish future should look like and bringing Jewish thinking and leaders into conversation with Western political, moral, and economic thought.

We run educational programs for high school students, students spending a gap-year in Israel, and college students. We also offer extensive programming and content for the alumni of our various programs. In this way, we encourage our students to think about their time at Yale not as a one-time encounter but as the gateway to an entire continuum of educational experiences designed to equip them with the intellectual and moral tools to take up their roles as young leaders in the Jewish and world community.

Alumni of the Maimonides Scholars and Tikvah Scholars programs are invited to participate in an annual Alumni Institute at Yale University, developed and led by Alumni from previous cohorts of the Tikvah Institute for High School Students. Alumni of the High School Institute are encouraged to participate in the many educational and social programs hosted at the Tikvah Center in New York City throughout the year, as well as our various academic programs and institutes specifically designed for college students taking place during the summer.


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