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Dorot Fellowship in Israel (DFI)

Fellowships to USA and Canada Young Lay Leaders
to Travel to Israel and Develop Leadership Skills

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Dorot Foundation

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Fellowships to USA and Canada outstanding young lay leaders to travel to Israel and develop their leadership skills. In Israel, Fellows will be given the opportunity to sharpen their characteristics and skills, acquire the experience needed, and broaden the networks required for Jewish leadership in the 21st Century.

The Dorot Fellowship is designed to assemble and empower a network of young Jewish lay leaders to enliven the American Jewish landscape.

The Dorot Fellowship encompasses both individual and communal learning experiences. Each Fellow devises a Personal Learning Program, comprised of formal and experiential learning and volunteer activities.

In addition, Dorot Fellows and Educators exist in a Collaborative Learning Community in which all members take responsibility for developing and executing a communal learning agenda throughout the year. Through travel, study, and dialogue (among themselves and with others), the Dorot Learning Community seeks to assist Fellows with their personal learning goals, so as to develop a sophisticated understanding of Israeli society, and to address both the breadth and depth of issues critical to Jewish communal leadership.

Throughout the year, Fellows concentrate their learning in four primary areas: Language, Jewishness, Israel, and Leadership Development.

Upon their return from Israel, Fellows participate in the Dorot Fellowship Network, an ever-growing cadre of innovators, reformers, creative artists, organizers and activists who are working together to enliven the American Jewish landscape.

The Dorot Fellowship is composed of these primary elements plus a fourth element after the program year in Israel:

Leadership Development:

- Leadership Skill Development
- Assessment of Emotional Intelligence Capacities
- Personal Development Coaching

DFI Learning Community:

- Weekly Seminars
- DFI Beit Midrash
- Multi-Day Seminar in Budapest, Hungary
- Periodic Multi-Day Trips, Seminars, etc. in Israel

DFI Personal Learning Program

- Language Acquisition
- Jewish Studies/Israel Studies
- Volunteering
- Personal Development

Dorot Fellowship Network (After the Program Year in Israel):

- Further Personal/Professional Development
- Collaboration
- Leadership Initiatives

Fellows are expected to be largely self-directed and highly motivated in pursuit of the goals of the Fellowship.

Fellows are fully independent and are responsible for establishing and managing their personal affairs and developing their own social circles in Israel. That said, Fellows will have extensive contact with one another in the midst of the DFI Learning Community and with the DFI Educators throughout their experience.

The DFI Educators serve in multiple capacities:

- DFI Educators are responsible for the execution of the Dorot Fellowship program in Israel
- DFI Educators serve as coaches in support of Fellows’ leadership development. They assist with the assessment of Fellows’ strengths/weaknesses, and assist Fellows in the development of goals and exercises to improve leadership capacity
- DFI Educators serve as advisors to Fellows in the evolution of each Fellow’s Personal Learning Program. Fellows meet regularly with the DFI Educators throughout the year. All elements of the Personal Learning Program must be approved by a DFI Educator
- DFI Educators are involved in all elements of planning and facilitating the DFI Learning Community

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 165991

Number of Grants:

Each year, 12 Dorot Fellows are chosen.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Award and Stipend Information:

- The Fellowship award includes up to $6,000 toward the cost of one’s Personal Learning Program and a $23,000 Living Stipend.
- The Living Stipend ($23,000) is designed to cover the cost of travel to Israel (in the midst of the August Orientation) and from Israel (returning to North America at the end of the year) and all typical living expenses. These amounts are determined by the Dorot Foundation and are based on transportation costs and estimated living expenses. The Foundation does not augment this amount for Fellows with families.
- Learning Stipends ($6,000) are made available to Fellows at the outset of the Fellowship Period. All expenditures from the Learning Stipend must be pre-approved and properly documented, in accordance with the Fellowship Contract (provided to Fellows upon acceptance to the program).

Term of Contract:

The Dorot Fellowship in Israel is scheduled to begin in the US on August 4, 2019. All Fellows must be available to participate from the outset and attend both the North American and Israel orientations which are mandatory.

A full program calendar will be made available to Fellows upon acceptance to the program. The program is scheduled to end, in Israel, in mid-June.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- Leadership: The DFI values a variety of models of leadership (reform, innovation, and [cultural] creation) and seeks candidates who are active in conventional, as well as unconventional, forms of civic and Jewish engagement.

The DFI seeks candidates who are committed to improving their capacity to exercise the leadership required to create new forms, and reinvigorate existing forms, of Jewish expression. Though a deep understanding of Judaism and Israel is critical for effective North American Jewish Leadership and indeed is a central goal of the Fellowship, the DFI is not best suited to those who are primarily seeking to explore their relationship to either. Those who are interested in primarily learning about Judaism and/or Israel should visit

- Age: The DFI is open to American/Canadian Jews between the ages of 22-29. (To be eligible, one must be 22, but not yet 30 prior to August 1st of the fellowship year.) Successful candidates exhibit the maturity and life experience to be able to make the best use of the Fellowship to refine, rather than construct, their individual identity. Please note that the DFI will not make exceptions to this or other eligibility requirements.

- Citizenship: Non-American/Non-Canadian citizens may be eligible for the DFI - with prior approval of the DFI Director. Candidates must be/have been residents of the US, having graduated from an American high school, and must intend to reside permanently in the USA. Non-American/Non-Canadian citizens interested in receiving approval for application should contact Steven M. Jacobson.

- Career: The DFI is designed for the future Jewish lay leader, one who has neither received nor intends to receive formal training in any other Jewish professional preparatory program (e.g., rabbinical school, Jewish communal service programs).

- Aliyah: As the purpose of the Dorot Fellowship relates to the American Jewish landscape, candidates who do not intend to reside in North America are not eligible.

- Affiliation and Experience: The Fellowship does not require that candidates have previous experience in Israel, knowledge of Hebrew, or a particular affiliation with any denomination or movement.

Additional Rules and Regulations:

Living Arrangements:

- Fellows may live anywhere within the Sovereign State of Israel, though all Fellows must be able to attend all DFI Weekly Seminars, which are typically in the center of the country (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv).

- Fellows are expected to make their own living arrangements in Israel and are urged to live with Israelis. Fellows begin the Program Year with a two-week Orientation: one week in the U.S., followed by one week in Israel. Upon completion of the Orientation, Fellows will be given accommodations for a brief period during which they must arrange their permanent living situation.

- Detailed information about how to identify living arrangements are provided to Fellows upon their acceptance to the program.


- Dorot Fellows are required to carry health insurance, which is typically inexpensive in Israel. Please note that pre-existing medical conditions are often not included in coverage by Israeli health insurance companies. As it is necessary for Fellows to be sufficiently covered, it may be necessary for those with pre-existing medical conditions to retain North America-based health insurance coverage.

Travel Policies:

In Israel:

- As immersion in Israeli society is a primary goal of the Fellowship, Fellows are expected to spend the full year in Israel.
- Trips throughout Israel are encouraged. Trips must not interfere with DFI seminars or community study programs (in whole or in part). Fellows are urged to remain in Israel for all Jewish holidays.

Outside of Israel:

- Fellows may leave Israel for up to 21 days during the Fellowship Period.
- Fellows are required to provide DFI Educators with advanced written notice of all time that will be spent outside of Israel during the Fellowship Period.
- Travel to nations with whom the United States does not have diplomatic relations, and those listed by the US State Department as State sponsors of terror, is not permitted.

Palestinian-Administered Territories:

- Travel to nations with whom the United States does not have diplomatic relations, and those listed by the US State Department as terrorist nations, is not permitted. Travel to the Gaza Strip is also not permitted.
- The Foundation urges Fellows, in the strongest terms possible, not to travel to Area A of the West Bank. If Fellows choose to travel to Area A, against the advice of the Dorot Fellowship in Israel and the Israeli and American Governments, they will do so at their own risk.
- Any travel to Area A will be counted against the 21 days allotted for travel outside of Israel and therefore cannot be paid for with the Learning Stipend. A Dorot Fellow, with the advance written approval of the DFI Senior Educator, may travel to Areas B and C of the West Bank to participate in periodic and temporary experiences relevant to the Israel Learning component of the Personal Learning Program, in which event such approved travel will not count against the 21 days allotted for travel outside of Israel (and such travel may be paid for with the Learning Stipend). A Dorot Fellow may not have regular or standing commitments to learn or volunteer in Areas B or C of the West Bank.
- Failure to comply with DFI Travel Policies may forfeit one’s status as a Fellow.

Failure to comply with DFI Travel Policies may result in expulsion from the Dorot Fellowship.

Pre-Application Information:

The 2019-2020 DFI Application will be available starting October 15, 2018.

The DFI application deadline is January 25, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST. If you submit your application after the deadline, the Foundation does not guarantee that your application will be considered.

Application Stages and Timeline:

- Pre-Application Questionnaire: The DFI Application begins with a pre-application questionnaire designed to assist potential candidates in determining whether the DFI is a good fit for them and whether they are a good fit for the DFI. Candidates' answers to the pre-application questionnaire are not recorded and have no bearing upon one's candidacy.

- Written Application: The goal of the written application is to provide the DFI Interviewer(s) with important information about each candidate. The more one shares about oneself, the more the Interviewer(s) can accurately assess one's candidacy. For information about what is required in the written application can be found here:

For more information about the application process, click here:

Helpful Links:


Program Components:

Specific Focus Areas:
- Leadership Development:
- Learning Community:
- Personal Learning Program:

Additional Information:

Structure and Supervision:
Living Arrangements:
Travel Policy:
Financial Information:
Application Information:
Additional Information:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

For questions regarding the application process, please contact Aaren Alpert at

For questions related to candidacy, contact:

Steven M. Jacobson
Vice President: Strategy
DFI Director

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon