AJWS Global Justice Fellowship for Rabbinical and Graduate Students


AJWS Global Justice Fellowship for Rabbinical and Graduate Students

This Fellowship is underway and no longer accepting applications.

Learn more about the 2013-2014 Fellows or continue reading below for information about what the 2013-2014 fellows will experience during their fellowship.


  • What: A year-long fellowship designed to inspire and equip future Jewish communal leaders to become effective advocates for global justice. The fellowship includes a 10-day trip to the Thai/Burma border and learning, advocacy training and activism in the U.S.
  • When: U.S. programming from October 2013 – 2014; international travel from January 5–16, 2014
  • Where: Meetings will take place in New York City, Washington D.C. and via a virtual seminar space. International travel to Thai/Burma border
  • Who: Students pursuing graduate-level training leading to a career of religious or professional leadership in the Jewish community
  • Cost: $180 – $540 (sliding scale based on financial ability) plus cost of visas, vaccinations, medications and health/travel insurance
  • Scholar-in-residence: Rabbi Jonah Pesner


What is the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship?

  • The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship is a selective year-long program designed to inspire, educate, train and empower key opinion leaders in the American Jewish community to become activist leaders in support of global justice. The fellowship includes an 8-10 day immersive experience in the developing world, where participants will witness the challenges facing poor and marginalized communities and experience the power of grassroots efforts to overcome them. The trip will be preceded and followed by an innovative series of programs that will prepare participants to mobilize and organize their communities and networks in support of AJWS’s campaigns and other efforts to promote human rights and end poverty in the developing world.

Is there more than one group of fellows each year?

  • AJWS will select 5-6 groups of fellows each year: a national group of rabbinical students and graduate students pursuing careers in religious and communal Jewish leadership, a national group of rabbis and Jewish communal professionals and several geographically-organized groups of established Jewish leaders in major U.S. cities.

What is the structure of the year-long fellowship program?

  • The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship consists of three programmatic components that take place over the course of one year:
  • Orientation programming: A series of educational opportunities—both virtual and in-person—to build community among fellows, provide context for the travel experience and introduce participants to AJWS’s campaign themes
  • Travel: An immersive, 8-10 day experience in a community where AJWS works in the developing world—emphasizing engagement with local experts, meeting local advocates funded by AJWS, exploring the impact of U.S. policy on developing world communities, and training in activism and leadership skills
  • Post-trip engagement: A series of workshops on organizing and leadership combined with individual- and group-based mentorship, followed by opportunities to lobby, fundraise, mobilize others and engage in AJWS’s campaigns throughout the year
  • Post-fellowship engagement: After the fellowship year, fellows will continue to be part of AJWS’s activist network. With support from AJWS staff and through ongoing activism and leadership in AJWS’s campaigns, fellows will help to strengthen and build our movement for global justice.

Who is eligible for the rabbinical and graduate student fellowship group?

  • Rabbinical students, cantorial students and those enrolled in graduate programs for Jewish education or other positions of communal leadership are eligible. All applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program at the time of application and be able to participate in all components of the fellowship, including: orientation programming, the entire 8-10 day experience in the developing world and all post-trip engagements.
  • AJWS welcomes a diverse pool of applicants with regard to denominational affiliation, gender, race, ethnic origin, disability and sexual orientation.
  • The ideal applicant:
  • Is highly motivated to be part of a select delegation of emerging leaders dedicated to achieving global justice
  • Believes in AJWS’s mission to promote human rights and end poverty, and is committed to raising awareness of and building commitment to that mission within the greater Jewish community
  • Has a strong desire to learn more about how U.S. citizens can improve the lives of people in the developing world through advocacy, mobilizing and organizing
  • Demonstrates significant potential as a community leader
  • Understands that traveling as a U.S. citizen to the developing world requires respect for the local people and their communities

What is the total cost of the program?

  • The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship for Rabbinical and Graduate Students is generously subsidized by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and AJWS, enabling us to offer this opportunity at a minimal cost.
  • Fellows pay a one-time fellowship fee of $180 – $540 (on a sliding scale based on financial ability) and are additionally responsible for paying for visas, vaccinations, medications and health/travel insurance. All other fellowship expenses—including international and domestic travel and all supplies and programs—are covered as a benefit of the fellowship.
  • The following list outlines the entire cost of the program:
  • Expenses covered by AJWS and the Nathan Cummings Foundation:
  • International flight, accommodations, food and activities during travel to the Thailand/Burma border
  • Domestic flights, accommodations, food and activities for U.S.-based engagement events/trainings
  • Programmatic costs (e.g. AJWS curriculum, group medical supplies, trainings, etc.)
  • Expenses paid by fellows:
  • $180 – $540 (based on sliding scale)
  • Visas for international travel
  • Vaccinations or other medical expenses related to international travel
  • Health insurance (all participants must have both regular U.S. insurance and international/travelers’ insurance.)

Is this program the same as AJWS’s Rabbinical Students’ Delegation?

  • The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship is a new program, which has been modeled on AJWS’s highly successful Rabbinical Students’ Delegation (RSD), which sent groups of emerging rabbis and graduate students to developing countries to volunteer and develop a commitment to global justice.
  • The new AJWS Global Justice Fellowship picks up where the RSD left off. Now a year-long program, it is designed to inspire, educate, train and empower key opinion leaders in the American Jewish community to become activist leaders and mobilize their constituencies in support of global justice. The fellowship was, in many ways, created in response to requests by our RSD alumni for more opportunities to develop concrete advocacy skills and take action upon returning home from their transformational international experience.

What is the scholar-in-residence’s role?

  • Each group of fellows will be joined by a scholar-in-residence who will serve to deepen the fellows’ experience and support them as they explore their professional commitments to social justice and develop their skills as activist leaders. The scholar-in-residence will teach several sessions during the international component of the program and serve as a mentor throughout the entirety of the year-long program.
  • For a list of past scholars-in-residence on AJWS programs, click here.

How will the fellowship address prayer and Shabbat on the trip?

  • Each morning, the group will participate in “sacred space”—an opportunity for fellows to share a spiritual intention for the day. The group will not formally engage in weekday prayer together. If desired by the fellows, time will be built into the schedule to allow for individual or communal prayer. Shabbat will be planned and led by the fellows and will likely include prayer, special meals, learning and other activities, at the discretion of the group.

What is the food like? Can I keep kosher while traveling on the Global Justice Fellowship

  • Most meals will be eaten at restaurants and hotels where vegetarian options are available. Individuals with particular questions regarding kashrut contact us.

If you have any questions about the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship, please contact us or call 212.792.2886.

The Global Justice Fellowship is made possible with the help of generous donations from: