Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply to become a Tikvah Scholar?
Tikvah Scholars are current 11th and 12th graders attending Jewish day schools, public schools, (non-Jewish) private schools, community schools, charter schools, and are homeschooled.
We welcome applicants from all parts of the Jewish community, no matter their educational backgrounds. Classes on Jewish Thought and Civilization will be structured according to prior knowledge and familiarity with Jewish sources.
Where will the program be?
Both sessions of the 2024 Tikvah Scholars Program will take place at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
How much does it cost to attend the Tikvah Scholars Program?
Tuition this summer is $2,395. 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 a short walk from a space that will have a traditional mehitza minyan (prayers with separate seating for men and women), a daily egalitarian minyan, and an alternative arrangement in the form of a serious (non-religious) text study. Prayers and text study will meet three times daily. 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.
Do I need to have a Jewish studies background to participate in the program?
No. 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 necessary to participate. We will be able to assist you in crafting your experience in a way that is appropriate to your background.
About 50 percent of our students attend Jewish day schools, and 50 percent attend public schools, (non-Jewish) private schools, community schools, charter schools, and are homeschooled.
Do I need to observe Jewish laws to participate in the program?
No. 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.
Is there transportation to the program?
The Tikvah Fund will provide a complimentary bus to and from the program, from a central location in New York City. If there are sufficient travelers coming into Boston Logan International Airport, 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 the program 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.
How many students participate in this program?
We will accept about 150 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.
Is there a way to find out if I will get in early?
All students will be notified if they are finalists by mid-February 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-March.
What contingency plans do you have in place for COVID-19 related issues?
We are closely monitoring communication from the CDC. 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 you from safe participation, we will naturally refund all monies, including the deposit. Of course, as soon as we have updates affecting the program this summer, we will communicate those developments to families and participants.
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, college students, and young professionals. 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 the program 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.
Director, Tikvah Scholars Program