Photo courtesy The Northeast Teen Collective
(a project of URJ Eisner and Crane Lake Camps)

Continuing the success of the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Campaign for Youth Engagement, the URJ announces the Youth Professional Training Fellowship for early career youth professionals in congregations. This new fellowship, funded by a $141,000 three-year Signature grant from the Covenant Foundation, builds on existing URJ professional development programming for adults who work with youth. Covenant Foundation grantees are Jewish organizations and initiatives with novel and imaginative approaches to Jewish learning and wide geographic reach.

The Youth Professional Training Fellowship targets professionals entering their first or second year of service in the field of youth engagement. The fellowship will include cohort based learning around Jewish content, vision, and implementation and give participants the opportunity to learn from both peers and experienced professionals from the field. The program will launch in Fall 2017, with the application process beginning in the spring. The URJ team will work closely with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion to plan and implement the fellowship.

This initiative will be led by Michelle Shapiro Abraham, Project Director and URJ Director of Learning and Innovation, and a 2015 Covenant Award recipient for excellence in Jewish education, who said, “By providing new youth professionals with a community to support them and the knowledge they need to do their work, we can help them build stronger connections to Jewish life for their teens on the local, regional, and national levels.”

URJ Vice President of Youth Miriam Chilton said, “Over the past three years the URJ has increased resources and programming devoted to professional development, tripling the number of adults taking part in a variety of professional development opportunities. Expanding professional development offerings is a strategic priority for the URJ because research documents that quality interactions and relationships are what lead to higher levels of Jewish living and learning.”

“HUC-JIR is thrilled to partner with the URJ on this important initiative. We are uniquely able to bring decades of expertise in training educators and youth professionals in best practices, deep textual engagement and experiential education. These new youth professionals are the future of the field – they are at the forefront of emerging young adult Jewish identity formation, and many will become our future Jewish leadership,” said Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, National Director of Recruitment and Admissions; President’s Scholar; Director, Office of Community Engagement.

Read the announcement from The Covenant Foundation on eJewishPhilanthropy