Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tikvah Fund?

The Tikvah Fund is a think tank and educational institution focused on the foundational ideas of Jewish civilization, the great challenges facing the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and the political, moral, and economic traditions of Western civilization and American democracy. Tikvah runs a wide range of initiatives in the United States, Israel, and around the world, including educational programs and fellowships, publications and websites, conferences, and policy research.

Our main interest is challenging exceptional people—from middle school to high school, from gap year to college, from graduate students to full-time professionals—to become Jewish leaders and Jewish citizens. We seek to expose them to the most important ideas—in Jewish thought, Zionist history, political philosophy, economics, and strategy—and to inculcate a sense of responsibility for Jewish, Western, and American civilization. We also offer extensive programming and content for the alumni of our various programs, and we encourage our participants to think about their time with us as the gateway to a larger Tikvah community.

What is the Abraham Lincoln Teachers Fellowship?

The Abraham Lincoln Teachers Fellowship is a new educational initiative of the Tikvah Fund. Exceptional Jewish day school and yeshiva teachers will have the opportunity to further their knowledge of American history, including its arts, letters, and politics, its leading thinkers, and its central texts and ideas. Fellows will join a community of serious educators in seminars designed around great themes in the American story. As currently conceived, the program consists of three parts:

  • Advanced Seminars: 10 seminars will be held between January and May of 2021. Each seminar will focus on one or two central themes in the American story.
  • Guided Independent Study: Fellows will write a paper, under the guidance of Dean Harry Ballan, focusing on an important book, theme, or historian of the American experience. At the end of the program, Fellows will present their papers to their peers and the Fellowship’s faculty.
  • Special Events: Throughout the program, Tikvah will host guest speakers exclusively for the Fellows. Confirmed speakers include Wilfred McClay, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Leon Kass, and Jonathan Sarna. These talks will be held outside of seminar hours, but every effort will be made to accommodate Fellows’ schedules.


Why is Tikvah launching this program now?

Anyone teaching American civilization knows that it is a difficult time to be engaged in that soul- and citizen-shaping endeavor. When was it not so? It is always difficult to avoid the “delusion of the exceptional Now,” to avoid the quicksand of presentism, to find firm ground from which to view the past and to learn “how they did it.” How did our forebears face challenges as great (or greater) than ours and prevail? What can we learn from their example? Teachers of history are and ever have been on the front lines of a national conversation about where we’ve come from, who we are, and where we’re going. Every history teacher knows that the exercise of historical imagination is the only way to avoid the quicksand of presentism. This is one of the great civilizational challenges of our age and one of the sacred responsibilities that our generation owes to those who will follow us: To reconstruct an inspiring sense of continuity, the “lifeline that gets us through the scary present” (quotations from Dos Passos).

We approach this sacred calling—teaching young Jews about America—in a spirit of both patriotic gratitude and serious scholarship. Gratitude for freedoms enjoyed, for opportunities shared, for the blessings of peace and prosperity – this, and the enduring love of country that is its fruit, requires sympathetic understanding of earlier generations, what we owe them and what we can learn from them, their most admirable triumphs as well as their least admirable mistakes, viewed charitably but not naively and in light of the possibilities of their world as they understood it.

For American Jews, we need to understand and appreciate this almost-chosen nation, both on its own terms and what it has meant or can mean to us as Jews: a remarkable inheritance of political liberty and religious freedom, commercial enterprise and global influence, including the special relationship between America and Israel. And perhaps, through this venture, American Jews can contribute something larger to America itself, including recovering the Hebraic spirit that has deeply informed the soul of our nation, at its best, since the beginning.

Who are the faculty of the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship?

Dean Harry Ballan will lead all ten seminars and advise Fellows on their papers. Professors Wilfred McClay, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, and Dr. Leon Kass constitute the advisory board for the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship. Guest speakers include Prof. Wilfred McClay, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Dr. Leon Kass, and Prof. Jonathan D. Sarna.

Who can apply to the Abraham Lincoln Teachers Fellowship?

Any educator teaching or planning to teach at a Jewish middle or high school in North America is encouraged to apply. We will consider all exceptional candidates, at any stage of their careers. While the Abraham Lincoln Teachers Fellowship will focus on American history, broadly conceived, we welcome teachers of diverse but related disciplines in American studies, including literature, social studies, civics, and art. Click here to apply.

The application process is simple but competitive. After filling out their contact information, applicants will be asked to respond to two questions. Applicants should also include their resume. After reviewing applications, we will interview exceptional candidates.

Does this program have a cost to participate?

No. Abraham Lincoln Teachers Fellows who attend every seminar and complete their papers will be awarded a $5,000 stipend.

How many Fellows will be accepted?

Fellows will be accepted through a competitive application process. No more than 16 Fellows will be accepted.

When do program seminars take place?

Seminars will take place every other week from January to May 2021. Each seminar will run for two hours. In an effort to accommodate Fellows’ schedules, we will offer two time slot options: A Sunday night track and a Wednesday night track. Upon acceptance, Fellows will choose a track and be expected to attend their scheduled seminar sessions, with the option to attend make-up sessions as needed. No classes will be scheduled on Shabbat or Jewish holidays.

Where will seminars be held?

All seminar sessions will be held on Zoom.

How much preparation is required for seminar sessions?

We appreciate that serious teachers and educators lead busy lives. Each seminar will require preparatory reading, and each Abraham Lincoln Teachers Fellow will be expected to write a paper. This is a serious program that will require a time commitment, but every effort will be made to accommodate Fellows’ schedules. All necessary books and readers will be provided by Tikvah.

What are the deadlines?

December 1st is the deadline to apply. We encourage applicants to apply earlier. All candidates will receive a response from Tikvah no later than December 10th.

Additional Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Mendel Jacobson at

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