The fellowship includes a 7-day educational trip to a developing country, during which participants experience the power of locally-led efforts to overcome poverty and realize human rights. It also features an innovative series of in-person and virtual seminars that prepare rabbis to mobilize their communities in support of AJWS’s efforts to promote global justice.
Global Justice Fellowship
AJWS's Global Justice Fellowship is a selective program designed to inspire, educate, and train American rabbis to become national advocates for human rights in order to affect U.S. policy and advance our mission to build a more just world for all.
The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship is a selective six-month-long program designed to inspire, educate, train and empower American rabbis to become activist leaders in support of global justice. The fellowship includes advocacy skills training; a seven-day immersive experience in the developing world to learn from extraordinary human rights activists; the opportunity to advocate for national policy change in Washington, D.C.; and support in inspiring and organizing your communities to advocate for global social justice issues. Fellows will join a strong core of rabbinic leaders in the U.S. already dedicated to advocating for human rights and ending poverty in the developing world.
AJWS is the leading Jewish organization working to promote human rights and end poverty in the developing world. We pursue lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and by mobilizing our community in the U.S. to advocate for global justice. The fellowship empowers American rabbis to use their moral authority to become leaders in our ongoing campaigns for global justice.
The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship is heavily subsidized by AJWS and several generous donors, 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 paid by AJWS and subsidized by our donors:
• International flight, accommodations, group meals, and activities during international travel component
• Domestic flights, accommodations, group meals, and activities for U.S.-based engagement events/trainings
• Programmatic costs (e.g., AJWS curriculum, group medical supplies, trainings)
Expenses paid by fellows:
• $180 – $540 (based on sliding scale)
• Visa for international travel (if needed)
• Vaccinations or other medical expenses related to international travel
• Health insurance (all fellows must have international/travelers’ insurance)
• Food during free time on program and outside of group meals (these expenses are minimal; we recommend bringing approximately $50 for such costs during international travel).
The sliding scale of $180 – $540 is based on financial ability. We do not want financial constraints to be the limiting factor of anyone’s participation in the Global Justice Fellowship. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your financial situation further.
There is no stipend provided. While many fellowships are a full-time commitment and therefore provide a living stipend, the GJF allows individuals to participate while continuing their full-time professions.
The fellowship is open to all North American rabbis who possess the potential to provide outstanding leadership to help shape the future of the American Jewish community’s commitment to global justice. AJWS does not discriminate based on denominational affiliation, gender identity, racial or ethnic origin, disability or sexual orientation.
Applicants must be able to participate in all components of the six-month fellowship, including: the NY-based seminar, the entire seven-day experience in the developing world, the post-travel “take action” component and regular webinars.
The ideal applicant:
• Believes in AJWS’s mission to promote human rights and end poverty in the developing world
• Is interested in using their moral authority to build a more just and equitable world, in partnership with rabbis across the USA
• Has a strong desire to learn more about how rabbinic leaders can use their positional power to impact global policies through advocacy, mobilizing and organizing
• Is committed to organizing his or her own community to take action and advocate for global justice issues—both on specific campaigns and more broadly
• Has the desire and disposition for responsible travel in the developing world
Am I eligible if I participated in an AJWS travel or volunteer program in the past? Will this program be different?
Past participants of AJWS travel and volunteer programs are eligible to apply. While modeled after the core components and 10+ years of success of AJWS’s former service-learning programs, the Global Justice Fellowship is a distinctly different program. It has been designed to create more opportunities for rabbinic fellows to develop concrete organizing and advocacy skills, in order to support their efforts to organize their communities to take action on global justice issues. It is a uniquely new experience even for alumni of past AJWS programs.
No, any rabbi is eligible to be a fellow. Our fellowship groups generally represent a diverse range of ages.
Applicants must certify that they are medically able to participate in the international travel component of the program. While our goal is to ensure that any person, regardless of physical ability, is able to participate in the international travel component, unfortunately, the places we travel to often lack the infrastructure to meet every need. Please contact us if you have any specific needs you would like to discuss.
No. Applicants selected for the program must be able to commit to the entire six-month-long fellowship, including: all four webinars, the 2-day opening seminar in New York, and the advocacy trip to DC. View program dates here.
No. Applicants must be available for all required sessions and webinars. We provide all dates in advance and, barring extenuating circumstances, we expect fellows to commit 100% to attending all required components of the six-month fellowship.
We accept 12-14 fellows for each GJF.
No — AJWS will oversee one single, six-month-long GJF for rabbis each year. If you are a rabbi interested in applying for the fellowship but are not available for the specific dates mentioned, please email us at email@example.com, and we will add you to a future recruitment list.
Please visit the Current Programs section above the FAQs on this page. If the application is not yet online, you will see a note to indicate when the application will be made available. Applications are not considered on a rolling basis. We will consider all applications together following the application deadline. We will strive to inform applicants of their status roughly a month after the application deadline. On the rare occasion that the process takes slightly longer, we will inform applicants about the revised timeline.
Each six-month-long GJF typically starts in October and ends in April of the following year. Please review the 2015-2016 program list to get a sense of the most up-to-date timing.
The GJF consists of three in-person touchpoints and several webinars that take place over the course of six months. Dates are approximate:
• Months 1-3: Fellows will engage in a series of educational workshops—both virtual and in-person—to build community with their peers and gain breadth and depth of understanding of the AJWS approach to advancing human rights. In addition to learning directly from AJWS staff and reading about global justice issues, fellows will begin to engage in chavruta/partner learning with one of their peers to discuss texts, online talks, and other media that relate to these topics.
• International Travel: Fellows will participate in an immersive, seven-day experience in a community where AJWS works in the developing world. They will learn from activists supported by AJWS, engage with other local experts, explore the impact of U.S. policy on developing world communities, and discuss effective ways to share this information with their communities in the U.S.
• Months 4-6: In the “take action” portion of the program, rabbis will engage in follow-up workshops—both virtual and in-person, including direct lobbying in Washington, D.C.—to develop their organizing and leadership skills, stay updated on AJWS’s key issues, and plan area events individually and with their fellowship group. Fellows will speak publically about AJWS’s work and their recent travel, organize public speaking events, fundraise, write articles and op-eds, and organize sign-on letters in order to mobilize their communities to participate in AJWS’s human rights campaigns. Fellows will also continue to engage in partner learning with one of their peers to discuss texts, films and other media that relate to AJWS’s work. Fellows will end the 6-month fellowship with a program siyum, culmination celebration, in which they will discuss ways to continue to move this critical work forward.
Fellows must attend all components of the six-month fellowship, including: three in-person seminars (NYC, international travel and Washington, D.C.); the entire seven-day program in the developing world; regular GJF webinars; and participation in AJWS’s organizing efforts. These organizing efforts may include, and are certainly not limited to: speaking about the travel experience, hosting events to organize and mobilize their communities, fundraising for AJWS, writing articles and op-eds, and overseeing petition-signing drives.
After the six months of the fellowship, fellows will remain key members of AJWS and the network of rabbinic leaders. With support from AJWS staff and through ongoing activism and leadership in AJWS’s campaigns, fellows will continue to build their skills and leverage their experiences to help strengthen and build our movement for global justice. Fellows will also continue to serve as AJWS ambassadors to their communities and will be encouraged to take a leadership role in recruiting new fellows.
Each fellowship group travels with AJWS staff and facilitators who have significant experience travelling and working in the country of travel and/or facilitating group experiences. Fellows are often joined by AJWS staff and consultants who work full-time in the country of travel.
The dates of the international component are different for each group, but travel will typically be in mid-January.
Once you are accepted to the fellowship, AJWS staff will guide you through the steps you need to take in order to be ready to travel internationally. This includes support in applying for and obtaining entry visas, vaccinations, health insurance, and airline tickets.
What are the risks of traveling internationally? What precautions does AJWS take to ensure that we will have a safe experience?
Safety is our first priority. While there are always risks when travelling, we are committed to mitigating these risks as much as possible through preparation and smart planning.
AJWS has significant experience running programs in the developing world; over 4,000 people have travelled with us! Prior to travel, we conduct a full risk assessment of the places where the group will visit. Staff who are travelling with the group are trained extensively in risk mitigation and advanced first aid. The group travels with a full medical kit and communications equipment. We also work closely with several external agencies that specialize in risk mitigation and emergency response, both to prepare for travel and to get extra support should we need it. Fellows will also participate in a safety and security workshop to prepare them for safe travel. Throughout the trip, our staff in the NY headquarters will be in constant communication with the group and will be available 24/7 to assist in emergency situations. Additionally, we provide an emergency number to friends and family in the U.S. so they can reach the group in case of an emergency at home.
What kind of food will be served while traveling internationally? How do I keep kosher while in the field?
Most meals will be eaten at restaurants and hotels where vegetarian options are available. Individuals with particular questions regarding kashrut or other dietary needs should contact us.
Yes. Shabbat will be planned and led by the fellows and will likely include prayer, learning and other activities. There will be no requirement for travel or use of electricity on Shabbat.
If you have questions about the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (212) 792-2816.