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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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.

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.

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

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


Projects continuing beyond their Fellowship year


New Jewish non-profit organizations resulting from BluePrint projects


Fellows who became Jewish professionals or lay leaders


People engaged by BluePrint Fellowship community projects



  • 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.


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

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.

Maria Blekher Made in Israel

Maria was born in Samara. At the age of 8, together with her family, she made Aliya to Israel, and 23 years later, in 2013 she came to the US as a visiting scholar at NYU Stern School of Business. Maria is a Marketing expert; she has an MBA and a PhD in Marketing from the Ben Gurion University in Israel and experience in consulting and working in the banking and high tech industries. Today Maria is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Director of MS in Marketing online program at Yeshiva University.

Rebecca Karpovsky Pinsky

Rebecca Karpovsky is an actor, writer and producer originally from Boston and currently based in NYC. As an actor she has performed at the ZACH and Vortex Theatres in Austin, TX, as well as in feature films, shorts and commercials in Boston, Austin and NYC. Recently settled in NYC, her most recent film projects include Andrew Wagner's, Breakable You, A Lonely Woman, Pact and Strawberries. Karpovsky is trilingual and performs in Russian, Spanish and English on the screen and stage. A lot of the work she writes and produces is heavily influenced by her own Russian Jewish culture. This most recent project, PINSKY, which she starred in, co-wrote and produced, was shot this spring in Boston. Her actor training is based in the Sanford Meisner technique, which she studied under Kathryn Gately at the Gately/Poole Conservatory. She has also studied corporeal mime under Thomas Leabhart and Droznin-based movement training with the Moscow Art Theatre. She is a graduate of Scripps College, where she studied acting and film production. More information is available at

Vita Eruhimovitz Chavruta Chatting Room

Vita was born in Ukraine, grew up in Israel. She studied computer science and bioinformatics at Hebrew University. Vita has worked in research and teaching and traveled extensively. While living in Sydney she started sculpting and quickly realized that she found her purpose. She completed a BFA in Multidisciplinary Art at Shenkar and moved to the USA for a Visual Arts MFA at Washington University in Saint Louis. Currently, Vita lives and works in New Jersey, teaching art and pursuing her studio practice. She works in multiple media, often incorporating programming and electronics to create interactive art. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally.

Past Fellows

Irina Khokhlova Distanced from the Source

Irina Khokhlova is a filmmaker, video artist, television, and web video producer living and working in New York City. Originally from Moscow, Russia, she moved to NY in 1992 .She received her Master of Arts degree in Filmmaking from The New School University in 2006. She began her career as a TV and film editor, later moving on to producing and directing for television and the web. Her independent work includes documentaries, short narrative films, fashion films and video art. In 2009 the Television program Irina produced received an NY Emmy nomination in the Arts: Program/Special category.

Ilya Khodosh Moscow to Manhattan

Ilya Khodosh is a writer and performer in New York. He was a company member of the storytelling/spoken-word show Birthright Israel Monologues, which toured nationwide. He was published in the anthology, “What We Brought Back: Jewish Life After Birthright.” He recently served as the Associate Artistic Director of the United Solo Theater Festival, the largest solo performance festival in the world, where he also premiered his second one-person show. A graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course, he is a regular contributor to the Berkshire Review for the Arts. He is also a freelance Russian translator and has written for Radio Free Europe. At Williams College, he was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship for outstanding work in theater. Read Ilya’s blog.

Karina Weinstein Her Journey

Karina Weinstein was born in Odessa, Ukraine and moved to New York when she was 11 years old. Karina graduated from Tufts University in 2002 with a Bachelor degree in International Relations and from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in 2008 with a Master in Public Policy. Karina is passionate about local and global community development having worked with community organizations in India, Chile, Bolivia and Mexico. Karina is determined to raise her Mexican American Russian Jewish son with a strong sense of identity and commitment to improving the lives of others.

Valentina Loseva Inseparable Borders

Valentina Loseva is a New York City based painter working primarily in the classical oil and water based mediums. Though her work grounded in Jewish values and Biblical narrative, she retells the classical stories using contemporary characters and representations of the modern world. She has exhibited in New York and Paris and received her BFA from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. Valentina has been teaching art and languages to children for over seven years and is currently working on her MA/MFA in art education at Brooklyn College.

Yevgeniy Klig KinoFERMA

Yevgeniy Klig was born in Odessa, Ukraine and immigrated to United States in 1997. After graduating from Stony Brook University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Yevgeniy worked for a major telecommunication company involved in the implementation of the high-tech communication solutions. During his tenure as an engineer, Yevgeniy went on the Taglit trip that inspired his interest in Jewish identity exploration. From 2007, Yevgeniy participated in a number of Jewish identity and leadership development seminars and fellowships, becoming an active lay leader. Having been selected as one of the first four recipients of the COJECO Blueprint Fellowship Grant, Yevgeniy created a Russian-speaking Jewish film festival "KinoFERMA." Motivated by this experience to become a Jewish community professional, Yevgeniy began working for a JCC in Brooklyn (Marks JCH of Bensonhurst) as Director of Teen Services, consulted with COJECO as a volunteer coordinator during Superstorm Sandy, and created various young adult social programs for the NYC Russian-speaking community. Prior to joining GPG, Yevgeniy worked as a Senior Director of Russian-speaking Programming at Moishe House, managing 12 RSJ Moishe Houses across the globe and organizing multiple learning and training conferences for the young adult Russian-speaking Jewish community. Yevgeniy resides in Brooklyn, NYC with his wife Lisa and a fat cat named Yuriy.

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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: