15 January 2013

Unique Opportunity: The Tikvah Fellowship

The Jerusalem Post recently ran a lengthy feature article on the Tikvah Fellowship, a New York-based program for which I have served as a lecturer. The Fellowship is a year-long educational program designed, in its own words, "for exceptional individuals interested in the political, religious, and intellectual future of the Jewish people." The Post called the fellowship the "boot camp of Jewish learning," and, as someone who has worked with the program, I can tell you it is that and a whole lot more.

A project of the Tikvah Fund, the Tikvah Fellowship provides its "Fellows" with a paid (!) opportunity to:

(1) Study the great ideas of classical and Jewish thought in areas such as economics, love and family life, and war and morality;
(2) Advance a project related to Jewish life and/or Israeli society;
(3) Learn with an international class of fellow participants; and
(4) Meet and work with leading thinkers and practitioners in the fields of Jewish thought and history, Israeli and American politics, religious leadership, journalism, economics, education, and community life.

The roster of faculty members is quite impressive; this year it includes people like William Kristol, Victor Davis Hanson, James Capretta, Ryan Hanley, Russ Roberts, Yuval Levin, Ruth Wisse, and Michael Walzer. Courses offered in the past have included "Religion and State in Modern Democracy," "War, Morality, and Statesmanship," "Political Foundings," and "Wealth and Modern Democracy." The course I taught last year was called "Economics and the Human Good." 

But this program is much more than merely another year spent taking courses. It is really the creation of an intellectual community. The program Fellows are themselves an extraordinary group of people. They are all impressively accomplished, but from an array of perspectives, experiences, disciplines, and places. (Several students of mine from Yeshiva University have been current and past Fellows.) They share office space in midtown Manhattan, take meals together, start reading groups, hatch ideas for scholarly projects, create partnerships for charities or businesses, and on and on. Because it takes place in New York and is supported by the Tikvah Fund, it has considerable resources at its disposal--and the Fellows exploit those resources. I remain in contact with many of the Fellows who have taken my classes or attended my lectures, and they have gone on to do impressive things indeed. 

I know of no other educational program doing anything quite like what the Tikvah Fellowship does. I wish it had been in existence when I was a student! 

The 2013-14 Fellowship Program is accepting applications through January 31. That's only a couple weeks away, so if you or someone you know might be interested in submitting an application, you will have to act quickly. See www.tikvahfellowship.org for further details on courses, work projects, compensation, eligibility, and instructions on how to apply.

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