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About the Fellowship

The T'ruah Rabbinical and Cantorial Student Summer Fellowship in Human Rights Leadership offers a select cohort of rabbinical and cantorial students the opportunity to work in a human rights or social justice organization, learn about human rights in Jewish text and tradition, and develop their moral voices, so they can be human rights leaders in their own communities.

Summer Fellows also develop a strong set of relationships to nurture their work and deepen their self-concept as human rights rabbis- or cantors-to-be.

Five people with arms around each other smiling in an office

How it works

Each year, T'ruah selects six rabbinical and/or cantorial students as Summer Fellows and places them with a partner organization in their own U.S. cities. These partner organizations are non-Jewish and human rights-based.

2020 Summer Fellows on Zoom

For nine weeks, Summer Fellows work 20 hours per week at their placement sites, including at-least two full days per week in person, which gives them firsthand experience with the organization’s office culture and neighborhood.

They also spend approximately 10 hours per week in T'ruah's virtual Zoom classroom.

About midway through the fellowship, T'ruah brings Summer Fellows together in New York City for an in-person gathering—an opportunity for deepening relationship with each other and T’ruah staff.

Summer Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend. Some fellows may also be eligible for internship, rotation, field placement, or independent study credit from their schools. While T'ruah cannot guarantee such credit, we work with Fellows and their schools to help fulfill any requirements for obtaining it.

Meet current and past Summer Fellows >>


Information for Applicants

Applications for summer 2023 are now closed.

When do I apply?

Sample Timeline:

  • December: Submit intent-to-apply form
  • January: Applications due. Interviews take place via Zoom. Finalists are informed of acceptance
  • Early June: Fellowship begins
  • Late June/early July: In-person retreat in NYC area
  • Early August: Fellowship ends

Where will I be working?

We will work hard to match fellows with organizations that can use your unique skills, and in whose issues you have an interest. After the six fellows have been selected and confirmed, they will have the opportunity to interview with potential placements. Based on these interviews, we will match the fellows to placement sites. In recent years, students have interned at Faith In New York, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, LA Voice, National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, New Sanctuary Coalition, New York Caring Majority, Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, and The Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project.

What kinds of work will I be doing?

The organization will identify a project that you will work on all summer. In addition, you will be expected to do whatever will help the organization to meet their goals. We aim, however, for the bulk of your work be in the field with people affected by the issue on which the group is working.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to participate in learning experiences, such as sitting in on board or staff meetings, attending events, shadowing people within the organization, or taking part in other experiences that meet your learning goals and that are appropriate for the organization.

What kind of mentorship will I have?

You will be assigned a supervisor at your work site, who will meet with you on a weekly basis. T'ruah staff will always be available to you for conversation and for help with issues that come up along the way. In addition, speakers and teachers who meet with the group, many of whom are rabbis, will generally make themselves available for follow-up conversations.

What qualities are you looking for in applicants?

We are looking for people from a range of backgrounds and who bring a range of perspectives. More than anything else, we are looking for people with potential to be amazing religious leaders for human rights. Curiosity and an openness to learning from all people are key elements in that. We will also be intentional about crafting a group that includes people with different backgrounds, denominational affiliations, and types of Jewish practice. Prior human rights or social justice experience is not a requirement.

What do you require from me?

In addition to completing your work assignments and participating in all learning programs, we ask you to design and implement a follow-up project that draws on what you learned during the summer. The final installment of your stipend will come after the implementation of this program in the fall.

Other questions? Please email Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson: lev@truah.org.

The T'ruah Rabbinical and Cantorial Student Summer Fellowship in Human Rights is funded in part by grants from the Michael and Alice Kuhn Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

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