Frequently Asked Questions

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 Tikvah Scholar if necessary.


Who is eligible to apply to become a Tikvah Scholar?

Tikvah Scholars are selected from current high school students attending Jewish day schools, public schools, (non-Jewish) private schools, or homeschoolers. There are two academic tracks: Students currently in Grades 9 & 10 comprise one track, and students currently in Grades 11 & 12 comprise the advanced track.

We welcome applicants from all parts of the Jewish community, no matter your educational background. Classes on Jewish Thought and Civilization will be structured according to prior knowledge and familiarity with Jewish sources, with separate classes for students of differing backgrounds.


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

Tuition this summer is $1,495. 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. For Scholars not wishing to pray with a traditional Orthodox minyan, a text-study option will be available.

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


When does this program take place?

There are two sessions this summer. Session I starts the afternoon of June 27th and ends the afternoon of July 8th and Session II starts the afternoon of July 25th and ends the afternoon of August 5th.


What are the next steps once you are accepted into the program?

Acceptances will be sent in mid-March and your membership in the Tikvah Scholars community begins right away. We will want to get to know you a little bit more by meeting via Zoom, based on those conversations, you will be asked to choose your seminars from the menu of options in each of the four core areas of learning: Jewish Thought and Civilization, Zionism and Modern Israel, American Ideas and Institutions, and Philosophy, Literature, and the Western Canon, and, finally, you will prepare for your experience at Yale with a series of Zoom seminars on Jewish and Greek Worldviews in Conversation, an introductory course for your Yale course, in May and June. Soon after that, we’ll all meet at Yale for a totally transformative (almost) two-weeks together!


Is there transportation to the program?

The Tikvah Fund will provide a complimentary bus to and from the Yale University campus in New Haven, CT, from a central location in the New York City. If there are sufficient travelers coming into NY metropolitan airports, additional bus service may be provided. A decision about additional bus transportation will be made in May.

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 are due by 11:59pm on Monday, February 15th, 2021.


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 can only invite a select number of applicants to be a Tikvah Scholar. Though the application process is open and competitive, current or former participants in Tikvah Online Academy are given priority in our selection process.

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 two references we can contact on behalf of your candidacy.


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 120 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 many 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.


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 in the form of a serious text-study 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 mid-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 mid-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 middle and 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.

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