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 continued 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, pre-travel doctor visits, 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 flights, accommodations, group meals, and activities during international travel component
• Domestic flights, accommodations, group meals, and activities for U.S.-based 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)
• Pre-travel doctor visit
• Vaccinations or other medical expenses related to international travel
• Supplemental payment for single rooms during domestic and international programming
• Food during unprogrammed time and outside of group meals (these expenses are minimal; we recommend bringing approximately $50 for such costs during international travel)
• Transportation to and from domestic airports
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 U.S. 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, race, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation.
Applicants must be able to participate in all components of the six-month fellowship, including: the opening seminar in New York, the entire seven-day experience in the developing world, the advocacy trip to DC and regular webinars (four webinars in total).
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 U.S.
• 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 excited about writing and speaking on issues of global social justice in their community and in the press.
• Is committed to organizing their own community to take action and advocate for global justice issues – both on specific campaigns and for the long-term 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, 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, rabbis of any age are eligible to be Fellows. Our fellowship groups generally represent a diverse range of ages.
Once you are accepted to the fellowship, AJWS staff will guide you through the steps you need to take to be ready to travel internationally. This includes:
• Purchasing airline tickets (done through AJWS);
• Applying for and obtaining entry visas;
• And meeting with your doctor for potential pre-travel vaccinations and medications as it pertains to Guatemala;
Ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after travel. If not, then please renew passport to ensure you are eligible for international travel.
Note: Per the CDC, Guatemala has a potential risk of the Zika virus – if you have any questions about this, please reach out to Joseph Gindi (email@example.com).
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—can participate in the international travel component, unfortunately, the places we travel to often lack the infrastructure to meet every need. Before travel, we ask all participants to meet with their doctor to discuss travel safety, vaccinations and medications, if necessary. 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 two-day opening seminar in New York, international travel and the Rabbinic Advocacy Convening in Washington, D.C.
No. Applicants must be available for all required sessions and webinars. We provide all dates well in advance and barring extenuating circumstances, we expect Fellows to commit 100% to attending all required components of the six-month fellowship.
We accept 10-15 Fellows for each GJF.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add you to a future recruitment list.
During application season (April and May), you can find the application here. 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 starts in October and ends in April of the following year.
The GJF consists of three in-person touchpoints and several webinars that take place over the course of six months.
Please see Schedule and Requirements for details and exact dates.
• October-December: Fellows will engage in a series of educational workshops—both virtual and in-person. They will build community with their peers; gain breadth and depth of understanding of the AJWS approach to realizing human rights; and engage in paired/chavruta discussions to hone their knowledge of the rights-based approach to development and the most responsible way to partner with NGOs in the developing world. AJWS will share background reading about global justice issues, the AJWS approach and country-specific materials to prepare Fellows for international travel. Fellows will begin to engage in partner learning with one of their peers to discuss texts, online talks and other media that relate to these topics.
• January: Travel to Guatemala: Fellows will participate in an immersive, seven-day experience in Guatemala—a country where AJWS has been working since 2004. They will learn from AJWS grantees, engage with other local experts, explore the impact of U.S. policy on communities in the developing world, and discuss the myriad ways to share this information and take action with their communities in the U.S..
• February-April: 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 publicly 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 six-month fellowship with a program siyum, or 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, the entire seven-day program in the developing world and regular GJF webinars, and help with AJWS campaigns organizing efforts. These campaign organizing efforts may include, and are certainly not limited to, the following: speaking about travel and hosting events to organize and mobilize their communities fundraising for AJWS, writing articles and op-eds, and overseeing petition-signing drives. Please see Schedule and Requirements for details.
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.
Please see Schedule and Requirements for exact dates of travel.
What are the risks of traveling internationally? What precautions does AJWS take to ensure that we 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 that 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 for safe travel. Throughout the trip, our staff in 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.
We also ask that participants meet with their doctor in advance, such that they receive the proper medical advice and, if applicable, vaccines and medications before they embark on international travel. AJWS cannot provide medical recommendations.
What kind of food will be served while traveling internationally? How do I keep kosher while traveling internationally?
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 Joseph Gindi (email@example.com).
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.
We stay in three-star hotels where available. Our accommodations are comfortable and include hot running water and electricity.
Your health and safety while abroad is our top priority. Travelers will be reimbursed directly by AJWS’s travel medical insurance provider for basic medical expenses they incur while traveling abroad with AJWS. This includes emergency dental, hospital and doctors’ fees, and drugs prescribed abroad. It does not cover routine medical care. For more information about coverage and reimbursement process, please contact Julie Reyburn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.792.2914. Travelers requiring more robust coverage should secure their own travel medical insurance.
If you have questions about the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship, please feel free to contact us by emailing email@example.com or calling (212) 792-2816.