What is the Millstone Scholars Program?
The Millstone Scholars Program is a unique one-year opportunity for middle school students to study the great ideas and leaders of Jewish and Western civilization, Zionism, and the heroic story of modern Israel. Students will meet in their local community cohorts of Millstone Scholars for weekly in-person high level seminars with exceptional peers and master teachers. Designed for students in public or independent private schools, Millstone Scholars engage in a one-year sequence of an in-person core seminar and online electives, combined with special events and guest speakers who share their experiences as Jewish, Israeli, and American leaders. Millstone Scholars is a national honors program, with regional clusters around the country. In an era of declining Jewish identity and rising anti-Semitism, the Millstone Scholars Program aims to create confident and knowledgeable Jewish leaders of the future.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
We are looking for intellectually curious students and families who believe in Jewish excellence. The Millstone Scholars Program is designed for public or independent private school students in middle school in Fall 2023. We currently have more than a dozen active cohorts around the country, and we will be opening more for the upcoming school year. A selective program, we will choose no more than 15 students in each regional cohort.
My child already attends Hebrew School and/or had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. How can he or she benefit from Millstone?
Typically, students don’t have the opportunity to learn about the great ideas and contributions of Judaism when getting ready to read their Torah portion and give a speech. The Millstone Scholars program allows them to join students across the country in experiencing the richness of their culture while studying for Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and in staying engaged with their Jewish identities in a serious way just after their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, which is when most students end up leaving Jewish life. Millstone keeps middle schoolers involved and prepares them to be on high school and college campuses as confident young Jews.
What is the time commitment?
The time commitment is once per week, in-person, for an hour to 75 minutes.
Where do classes take place?
Millstone programs are hosted at synagogues and private homes at a convenient location in your area. Please see our “Locations” page for more information regarding your specific local cohort.
What is the duration of the program?
The program runs according to the academic year. The program starts towards the beginning of the school year and ends in May or June.
How can parents be involved?
There are parent learning opportunities through ongoing seminars for parents to engage with the material their children are learning and to explore together issues of deepest concern as Jewish parents today.
What is Millstone’s mission?
Our mission is to train and network a group of learned and confident young American Jewish leaders of tomorrow.
Does Millstone offer activities outside of the weekly seminar?
Yes! This past year, we offered a national debate, a field trip, and a writing competition. We are planning many exciting new opportunities for our students to meet outside of the classroom.
What is a Millstone class really like?
Millstone Scholars courses focus on reading primary texts carefully as a way to explore the great ideas, leaders, and stories that help us understand who we are—as Jews, as Zionists, as citizens, and as part of Western civilization. Click the images below to view sample units.
Rabbi Abraham Unger, Ph.D.
Director of Regional Education