What is ELI’s Speaker Fellowship?

Through ELI’s Speaker Fellowship, a new generation of Jewish thought will gain skills in Jewish text and idea development, storytelling, and stage presence to refine their voices and build effective, compelling transmitters of our tradition.

Each fellow commits to attending weekly workshops and/or coaching calls along with independent homework, averaging 3-4 hours per week, over the course of twelve weeks. This process culminates in the delivery of these ideas in under ten minutes unaided on a stage in front of a live studio audience. ELI uses the latest in technology to film, stream, and edit these events into individual talks. At the conclusion of the filming, ELI Talks provides social media training to all speakers after the production to help them leverage their network and spread their idea as far as they can.

Each speaker receives $8,000 worth of resources and professional development coaching over the 6-month fellowship ranging from idea development and public speaking to text and social media skills. In the end, each speaker has a professionally filmed, edited, and promoted video to showcase their skills while the Jewish world will gain a group of trained voices from across the observance spectrum who will inspire us all to reflect, to discuss, and to engage in our collective tradition of Oral Torah.

What makes an inspired Jewish idea at ELI?

  • You have an idea. It is not simply a story nor simply a question, rather it is a “thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.”
  • That idea emerges out of a pattern of Jewish text, tradition, or thought. How does Jewish tradition, in your opinion, necessarily give birth to your idea and how does your idea work within Judaism today to create a “Jewish kind of human being”?
  • You’re clear on your why. This means you have a good sense as to why this idea—out of all the ideas we could be talking about—is important to yourself, to other people, to the Jewish community, and/or to the world.
  • Your idea fits within our catalog—this means it is either a) a new topic for the ELI catalog OR b) a new perspective on the same topic.

Who is this Fellowship for?

While the speaker fellowship is open to the full spectrum of the Jewish experience, like most organizations, we aim to make the most impact possible with our work. This isn’t the place to give your stump speech or advertise your organization. If your speaker routine is pretty fixed, this is a great chance to try something new or refer an up-and-coming colleague who—with a little honing—is about to explode onto the scene. Finally, ELI prioritizes first-person Torah. What does this mean? Your story isn’t about someone else; it is about real, unique, lived experiences that have created a sensitivity in you that we could all learn and benefit from.

Key dates and commitments

The application deadline for the Spring 2018 Fellowship is Monday, February 26, 2018 at 12 pm EST. The deadline for applicants from the Detroit and Chicago metropolitan areas* is extended through February 28, 2018. Please note that your application is not complete until you have submitted both parts of the application and the selection committee reserves the right to disqualify your entry based on incompletion.

All applicants will be notified by Monday, March 5, 2018, regarding their acceptance. The Fellowship will kick off on March 11, 2018.

Filming is scheduled for June 18-20, 2018 in Detroit.
Speakers will need to be onsite for approximately 36 hours during those three days.

ELI strongly encourages prospective applicants to attend a virtual workshop from 11-12 pm EST on Tuesday, February 20, to learn more about ELI’s goals, application process and requirements, and evaluation criteria. Advance registration is required.

*Special consideration will be given to applicants from Chicago through a generous grant from Crown Family Philanthropies and from our host city, Detroit.

For more information and/or for a link to the application, contact Mary Otts-Rubenstein, Executive Director, or visit our website.