Learn Virtually
Jewish Wisdom Fellowship

Jewish Wisdom Fellowship

A Collective Learning and Thought Leadership Project for Jewish Professionals





About the Fellowship

Hadar’s Jewish Wisdom Fellowship will empower thoughtful, passionate, and engaged Jewish professionals to embark on 5-weeks of virtual learning dedicated to wrestling with the questions currently confronting the Jewish community and the world.

Through a combination of guided learning, havruta, and group work, the Jewish Wisdom Fellowship will enable 40 Jewish professionals to probe our tradition for wisdom that will help them and the communities they serve to navigate contemporary social, moral, and spiritual challenges. The program will conclude with a final project, determined by each fellow, aimed at sharing learnings with the broader Jewish professional field.

Who is this Fellowship For?

Jewish professionals have a unique role to play in guiding our communities. From day school and supplementary school educators to rabbis and spiritual leaders to musicians, community builders, camp professionals, justice seekers, and more -- Jews turn to these professionals for hope and comfort, for explanations and answers, for community and spirituality. We believe it is essential for Jewish professionals to deeply and critically engage with Jewish texts and act as active stewards of Jewish tradition.

What Will Our Learning Look Like?

At Hadar we seek to teach Torah that is uncompromisingly honest, spiritually meaningful, and socially responsible. We read both ancient and modern texts carefully, discussing possibilities, and exploring how the text may be relevant to contemporary situations. It is a process that requires deep listening, both to the text and to each other.

This felllowship will involve two types of learning:

  • Faculty-Guided Learning.Hadar’s renowned faculty will provide carefully constructed source sheets, rich with texts new and old, in the original and in english translation, and guide fellows through a process of unearthing the values, ideas, and principles embedded in the text. These will be intentionally facilitated sessions aimed at bringing our collective learning forward to the present day where it can be used in a variety of scenarios.
  • Havruta (One-on-One, Paired).We believe that one-on-one study and conversation is essential to the learning process. It allows one to function as both a teacher and a learner, helping your partner to learn while also learning yourself. As part of this fellowship, fellows will be matched with a havruta (study partner) to process the learning they are doing and prepare for upcoming sessions.

All source materials will include English translation. Hebrew knowledge is not required.




Accepted participants will receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the fellowship in recognition of their time, energy, and enthusiasm.




The fellowship will run for 5 weeks in June and July of 2021. The structure includes two weekly meetings: one 90-minute meeting devoted to learning with Hadar faculty and one 45-minute meeting dedicated to paired, one-on-one, havruta learning with another fellow. Additionally, we will offer 2 optional post-fellowships opportunities to continue learning with Hadar faculty and alumni of the program.

Faculty sessions will occur on Tuesdays of each week from 1:30-3:00 PM Eastern beginning June 22, 2021.

Havruta sessions will occur later in the week at a time determined by each havruta pair.

In addition to the above requirements, each fellow will be responsible for completing a final project that allows them to share their learning with their work community. This could be a D’var Torah for a staff meeting, a class they will teach, a sermon, a video, an art project, etc. The project will be due one month after the closing session.

The schedule of learning will be as follows:

Date Program
6/22/2021 Opening Session
TBD Havruta Session
6/29/2021 Faculty Session
TBD Havruta Session
7/06/2021 Faculty Session
TBD Havruta Session
7/13/2021 Faculty Session
TBD Havruta Session
7/20/2021 Closing Session
TBD Independent Project Session
8/17/2021 Project Due


What Will We Learn?


This fellowship aims to provide Jewish professionals with a text-based Jewish framework for addressing the moral, spiritual, and communal challenges of the day. The content of the fellowship will shift along with the changing needs of the community.

Last year, our learning was heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. We focused on topics such as “Living in a State of Uncertainty,” “Learning from the Historical Jewish Experience,” and “Anchoring our Religious Leadership.”

Each year, Hadar will crowdsource questions in order to assess the critical issues confronting our community. We will then select 3-4 primary questions to shape the curriculum of the program and lead fellows as they draw on the Jewish tradition for wisdom and guidance.

Some examples of questions include:

  • What texts and rituals address trauma in a way that can help guide parents, teachers, students and others as we transition towards reopening?
  • How do we balance care for people and for the earth right now?
  • How should the Jewish community respond to issues of racism, equity, and inclusion?
  • Now that our world is virtual, who constitutes the “neighbor” we are obligated to support?




We invite all Jewish professionals to apply for this fellowship. A total of 40 applicants will be invited to participate as fellows.

In order to cultivate meaningful, useful, and intimate learning experiences, we will divide fellows into 4 cohorts:

  • Jewish Professional Cohort: Two of our cohorts will be open to all Jewish professionals, from any field, any role in the organization, and with any background in jewish learning.
  • Clergy Cohort: For the second year we will offer a cohort designated for rabbis and clergy from any denomination and serving in any role within an organization.
  • Executive Leadership Cohort: This cohort invites those serving in an executive role within their organization to join with other executive leaders.


Nominate a Jewish Professional


The nomination period is now closed. Please email us at [email protected] if you are still interested in submitting a nomination for consideration.


Submit a Question



Past Projects


Time Capsule Project

Cohort members: Rachel Dingman, Rachel Hodes, Ari Hoffman, Sonia Marie Leikam, Julee Levine, Orlea Miller, Tony Westbrook, Akiko Yonekawa

We are creating the next piece in the Jewish canon to tell the story of this moment for generations to come. We have designed a living mural – using Padlet – to collect images, quotes, texts, or videos that encapsulate this moment for you and for our Jewish communities.

The link below will allow you to access four different living murals: Community, Inspiration/Wisdom, Growth/Support, and Uncertainty. We hope that you will add your pieces of wisdom to this community project.

Submit pictures, text, links, and reflections to the Time Capsule Project.


Questions and Answers of Uncertainty: A Jewish Professional Vlog Project

Cohort members: Rachel Goldrich, Allegra Heath-Stout, Lea New Minkowitz, Alana Rahmani, Evelyn Tauben, Naomi Tucker, Eliezer Weinbach, Tamar Zaken

The past months have resulted in tremendous upheaval in people's lives, leaving a present and future that are unclear and uncharted. Yet, Jewish texts contain an incredible amount of wisdom to impart to those facing uncertainty. This vlog project documents the accumulated learning of 8 Jewish professionals over the course of 2 months in the midst of a global pandemic. As the uncertainty of this moment stretches further into the future, we hope this vlog will validate your feelings of doubt, empower you to reflect on the uncertainty in your life, and enable you to embrace the moments of growth that hide within the dark.


Learning From the Past: We're Still In the Cave

Cohort members: Naomi Adland, Amram Altzman, Ilana Bauman, Marlene Copeland Dodinval, Matthew Kolbert, Larisa Klebe, Naomi Reem, Josh Satok

Over the past several months each and every one of us has been in some form of confinement: physical, social, or both. This discussion guide is an opportunity to seek wisdom and comfort from our Jewish tradition through stories of characters who experienced their own caves, both literal and figurative. We hope that this resource will help those who engage with it feel seen and heard in the chaos of this moment.

View or download the discussion guide here.


A Kavanah Before the Sounding of Shofar Blasts

Cohort members: Matt Austerklein, Hart Levine, Sharon Mars, Carnie Shalom Rose

Four calls of the shofar. Four letters in the name of God. Four texts about God’s presence when are in crisis. Four students hear God in the blasts, in the silence, in the chaos, and in the hope.

View or download the Kavanah here.


God, Will You Come to my Sukkah? Masked or Unmasked?

Cohort members: Betsy Forester, Benji Stanley, Micaehl Satz

Whereas we normally invite friends, family, and mystical guests into our sukkot to celebrate with us, this year we have been bereft of that opportunity due to the pandemic. Perhaps only God joins us. That possibility brings to the surface theological challenges and questions many are experiencing at this tragic and challenging time. Each of three rabbis from this cohort offered personal responses to the question: Where, or how, are you finding God now?

This project was presented as a Zoom event during Hol HaMoed Sukkot.


Looking for God In a Time of Chaos: A Simchat Torah Seder and Haggadah

Cohort members: Betsy Forester, Megan GoldMarche, Shuli Passow, Marcelo Polakoff

This year, many of us celebrated Simchat Torah at home. This haggadah, or collection of texts, questions and rituals, is meant to serve as a guide for your evening, much in the way that the Passover haggadah would lead you through the holiday seder meal. Each section represents one hakafah, which traditionally is a circle dance we do with the Torah seven times on Simchat Torah.

View or download the Simchat Torah Seder and Haggadah here.

Our 2020 Fellows

Below is a list of our 2020 Jewish Wisdom Fellowship Cohort. You can click here to learn more about the 2020 fellows.

General Cohort

Akiko Yonekawa
Alana Rahmani
Allegra Heath-Stout
Amram Altzman
Ari Hoffman
Eliezer Weinbach
Evelyn Tauben
Ilana Bauman
Josh Satok
Julee Levine
Larisa Klebe
Lea New Minkowitz
Marlene Copeland Dodinval
Matthew Kolbert
Naomi Reem
Naomi Adland
Naomi Tucker
Orlea Miller
Rachel Hodes
Rachel Goldrich
Rachel Dingman
Sonia Marie Leikam
Tamar Zaken
Tony Westbrook


Clergy Cohort

Benji Stanley
Betsy Forester
Carnie Shalom Rose
Hart Levine
Marcelo Polakoff
Matthew Austerklein
Megan GoldMarche
Michael Satz
Sharon Mars
Shuli Passow