The COJECO BluePrint Fellowship

The BluePrint Fellowship is a year-long program for Russian-speaking Jewish adults ages 25-40 to explore personal and collective identity through the creation of Jewish community projects, supported by group workshops, one-on-one mentorship, and a mini-grant.

Announcing the 2016 COJECO Blueprint Fellows!

Meet the Fellows

The BluePrint Fellowship brings together a select group of Russian-speaking Jewish artists, intellectuals, and innovators to explore the link between personal identity and creativity.

 

What does it mean to be Jewish for someone born in the Former Soviet Union and living in the United States today? The BluePrint Fellowship offers participants the opportunity to examine and explore this question on their own terms. Chosen through a competitive application and interview process, fellows are able to bring their ideas to life and thus shape this community-wide conversation.

BluePrint Community Projects

BluePrint projects from years past have been innovative initiatives that impact the Russian-speaking Jewish community and Jewish community at large in areas such as: arts & culture * media & technology * gender & sexuality * literature * education * environment * children and family life * social justice * philanthropy

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GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF BLUEPRINT

Knowledge:
Offering fellows a deeper historical and cultural perspective on the Jewish people and contemporary issues of the Jewish world today, with a unique focus on post-Soviet Jewry through a series of informal educational experiences.

Inspiration:
Motivating participants to become more active members of the Jewish community through a personal connection to and familiarity with an array of projects, organizations, and approaches to Jewish community life.

Skills:
Providing fellows with the tools to develop successful community projects through hands-on professional workshops and peer-to-peer review.

Mentoring:
One-on-one mentoring guides Fellows in setting clear goals for project objectives, offers options for achieving desired goals and outcomes, and identifies possible resources that go beyond traditional methods.

Russian Jewish community projects created since 2008

107

Projects continuing beyond their Fellowship year

37

New Jewish non-profit organizations resulting from BluePrint projects

5

Fellows who became Jewish professionals or lay leaders

36

People engaged by BluePrint Fellowship community projects

10,000+

BLUEPRINT FELLOWSHIP REQUIREMENTS

  • Fellows must be Russian-speaking Jews between the ages of 25 and 40, residing in the NYC area.
  • Fellows must have an original concept for a community project with an explicitly Jewish theme and an anticipated impact on at least 50 people.
  • Fellows must participate in the program fully, including a three-day weekend retreat and 8 evening workshops, which take place monthly on weeknights.
  • Fellows must implement their community projects within the Fellowship year, including in a public launch event.

PROGRAM DETAILS

The BluePrint Fellowship begins with a weekend retreat on and is followed by monthly educational workshops,  where fellows meet other talented thinkers and social activists, gain a new perspective on the community’s historical context, and hone their project management skills. BluePrint sessions are designed to inspire and support participants through the development of their projects, while exploring new ways of looking at personal history and identity.

 

Through a guided grant application and reporting process over the course of the program, each fellow is awarded a mini-grant of up to $5,000 for the implementation of his or her community project. The average grant awarded is $3,000.

 

Fellows are matched with distinguished coaches, experts in the field of each participant’s project, who work with them one-on-one to help them further their own creative goals.

 

Each fellow is likewise paired with a BluePrint alumnus mentor who can offer guidance, support, and advice to a new fellow, having had firsthand experience of participating in this process.

Selection Criteria

For the 2015-2016 BluePrint Fellowship cycle, preference was given to candidates with long-term vision and aspirations for their community project and their personal community involvement. While projects must be implemented within the the program year, the Fellowship should be viewed as a  launching pad for on-going endeavors.

 

Preference was given to community project proposals in the following areas:

  • New mediums for informal Jewish education among RSJ (e.g. games, multimedia, animation, etc.)
  • Israel engagement
  • Russian-Israeli community
  • Volunteering, Philanthropy & Fundraising
  • Family & Children educational workshops

Meet the Fellows

Blueprint fellows

Current Fellows

Mark Gold Young Jewish Creatives

  Mark is the Chief Marketing Officer of Toto Global Ventures, a seasoned Marketing Consultant and an official Mentor with New York State's Business Mentor of NY program. Named "Super Connector" by Social Magazine and recently featured as a keynote speaker at Wix, Microsoft and the New York Bar Association, Mark’s aptitude for business development makes him a much-sought-after thought-leader among entrepreneurs and executives. Mark Gold's authentic and forward-thinking approach has successfully launched thousands of marketing campaigns for hundreds of organizations both locally and internationally in the last decade.

Yevgenia Nayberg "The Secret Society" A Russian Language Picture Book

Yevgenia is an award-winning illustrator, painter and stage designer. A native of Kiev, Ukraine, she graduated from The National School of Arts. Yevgenia’s paintings have been featured in solo exhibitions in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Moscow as well as in numerous international group art shows. She designed sets and costumes for over 40 theatrical productions and received a number of prestigious awards for her stage designs. Her illustrations appeared in magazines and children’s books as well as on album covers, book covers and theatre posters.

Ekaterina Schaltuper Handmade Charity

Ekaterina Schaltuper was born in Moscow in 1986. She received a bachelor's degree in Economics and Marketing in Russian State University named after G.V. Plekhanov. She started her career at the age of eighteen as an account executive at a British PR company MMD. After graduation Ekaterina started working for a restaurant group "Novikov Group", doing brand management for eight leading restaurants in Moscow. She immigrated to New York in 2008 where she got involved in the fine jewelry industry for several international brands. Currently Ekaterina works for a consulting company Mega Projects as a Sales Director for nine emerging jewelry brands. Outside of professional interests, Katya is learning to play piano and vocal, she travels widely and enjoys living with her husband Mark.

Zhenya Lopatnik Yiddish-Tish

Zhenya is from Kharkov, Ukraine. Her first encounter with the Jewish community was at 13 years of age. Since then she constantly added to her Jewish identity, since she felt a huge lack of knowledge due to her family being totally and completely assimilated. After getting a taste of it, Zhenya immersed herself into learning Tanakh, Jewish history and Hebrew. Zhenya always tries to vary her interests in the Jewish culture dabbling in various fields. Her works include a children’s book, self-learning discs, seminars using new methods of informal education and several CDs with her own Yiddish songs.

Mark Gurevich The Yiddish Old and New

Mark is a New York-based photographer whose work has focused on narrative portraits and documenting community experiences through photography. Born in Moscow, Russia, Mark is two generations away from the small Yiddish-speaking shtetl in Belorus where his grandfather grew up. When not shooting portraits, Mark is a corporate attorney at a New York law firm.

Past Fellows

Alina Bliumis Cultural Tips for New Americans

Alina Bliumis is a New York based artist, working in collaboration with Jeff Bliumis since 2000. Alina and Jeff Bliumis's body of work explores cultural standards, foreignness and national identity through sculptural installations-often placed in public sphere and incorporative of public dialogue. They were both born abroad, but have been living in the United States for over twenty years. Alina received a BFA from the School of Visual Art, New York and Jeff received a BA from the Columbia University, New York.Their early projects were predominantly based on their own experiences of immigration. Over last ten years, their interest has gradually shifted into processing communal experience-defining social structures, considering cultural standards/norms and exploring foreignness as a condition that gives a new perspective to the familiar.To see her works please visit www.bliumis.com

Ilya Blokh Songs of Our Grandmothers

Ilya Blokh, originally from Moscow, has found himself around the world—from Alabama and New York to Japan and Scotland. By day he works as a product manager for an educational software start-up, but by night he dabbles in film and is particularly interested in music from all corners of the world and the culture that forms around it.

Alex Teplish Survivor: Aron's Story

Alex Teplish was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Alex graduated from Stony Brook University and has since become a leading expert in Web/Mobile Technologies, Graphic design, and Digital Marketing.  His work has enabled him to architect applications and campaigns for major corporations, international brands, as well as startups. He has also had a significant role in the ever-developing internet since its inception, including the founding of Brower Based Solutions (BBS), a web/mobile-focused, digital agency. Alex collaborated with a colleague and co-authored the Finance/Investment strategy book, “When Buy Means Sell”, with his chapter concentrating on the history and future of investing.  The work was published by McGraw Hill, in September 2003. Most recently, Alex published a science-fiction graphic novel titled “In The Beginning: The Epic of the Anunnaki.”

Victoria Drob Rus Jews Views

Victoria Drob is a National Board Certified Counselor, holding a master's degree and a license in clinical counseling. Providing psychotherapeutic counseling during her internships as part of her graduate studies has been a life-altering experience for her. For her COJECO Blueprint community project, Victoria conducted research that brought to light the stigmas surrounding the field of psychology in the ex-Soviet culture, in the hopes of dispelling the prevalent myths and misconceptions. Victoria hosted an educational lecture on the benefits of counseling for the Russian-speaking Jewish audience offering insights gained from her research results. Victoria continues advocacy work and research in this field. Her project, Rus Jews Views, can be followed on www.RusJewsViews.com as well as on Facebook.

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Blueprint Fellowship Alumni

Alumni Projects

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Speak Memory

Tatyana Levina
Yuliya Levit
Nadya Meykson
Irina Sheynfeld

Inheritance of a Story

Tatyana Levina
Anna Rozhdestvenskaya
Yuliya Levit

Handmade Charity

Ekaterina Schaltuper
Ekaterina Kovalenko
The BluePrint Fellowship is generously sponsored by

UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group.

For more information

or if you have any questions, please e-mail
Lisa Klig, COJECO Program Director at:

lisa@cojeco.org