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 guidance, and a mini-grant.

BluePrint Fellowship

Cohort 2019-2020

The BluePrint Fellowship brings together a select group of Russian-speaking Jewish innovators, artists, and intellectuals, 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 engaged in 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

View All


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 a public launch event.


The BluePrint Fellowship begins with a weekend retreat – September 13-15, 2019 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.

Fellowship Sessions
Location: COJECO, 729 7 Ave, 9 Fl, New York, NY
Day & Time: Mondays, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
October 7th, 2019
November 11th, 2019
December 9th, 2019
January 6th, 2020
February 3rd, 2020
March 2nd, 2020
April 6th, 2020
May 4th, 2020

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 their community project. The average grant awarded is $3,000.

Each fellow is 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 2019-2020 BluePrint Fellowship cycle, preference will be 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 will be 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

Cohort 2019-2020

Blueprint fellows

Current Fellows

Bethany Freynk RSJ Mural Impressions

Beth Freynk is a recent Macaulay Honors College graduate with extensive experience in RSJ family programming. Her family immigrated from St. Petersburg, Russia three years before her birth, and she only spoke in Russian until starting school. Working as an arts educator, she has facilitated programs at the Marks JCH of Bensonhurst, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and at the Jewish Museum. This fall, Beth will start Columbia University Teachers College as an Abby O’ Neill Fellow, where she is pursuing a degree in secondary education “Teaching Biology”. In the future, her dream is to work as a school principal.

Marina Gasparyan Short film

Marina is a New York City based Russian-Armenian actress, writer, and producer from Moscow. She can be seen performing monthly at The Pit Striker with her indie sketch team Suede and at venues around the city with her indie improv group the idiots. She also performs original characters. She has produced, wrote, and acted in the past two seasons of 2293 Productions’ Reservations at The Kraine Theatre as well the web series The Box. Marina holds a degree in Cinema Studies and Dramatic Literature from NYU Tisch School Of The Arts (2012.) She was the co founder of a curated monthly screening series Black Mariah Films (2012-2015) where she programmed film series that showcased emerging filmmakers alongside classic and art house films. She completed the two year acting conservatory at The Barrow Group Theatre Company where she studied with Seth Barrish and Lee Brock and performed in her first full length play, A Perfect Couple as Emma. Marina continued her acting training at Playhouse West Brooklyn Lab where she completed the two year Meisner training program. She is an Academy level student at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) where she has been taking improv and character classes since 2015. She has also studied improv at The People’s Improv Theatre (PIT) and at iO Chicago.

Alex Notkin Jewish Fairy-tales

ALEX NOTKIN Was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Graduated from The St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy 2008. Worked in various Russian and European feature films, TV series, Commercials and theatre productions. Lived in Israel from 1990 to 2004. In 2013, in St. Petersburg, Alex directed his own theatre show ‘The Letters of Vertinsky’ in which he also starred as the lead. This production participated in various European festivals. Alex has also established himself as a well known Voice Over actor: Among his Voice Over highlights are: AVATAR (The Russian Version) in which he dubbed the lead Jake Sully played by Sam Worthington, TERMINATOR 4, SALVATION where he dubbed Christian Bale, Crab Sebastian in Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid 2 and many more. In 2014 Alex moves to New York City to pursue his acting career, he then completes an acting Conservatory Program at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and continues working as an actor, Voice Over artist and stage director. His recent U.S. projects include: Theatre: Serge in ‘Art’ which he also directed at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre NY Officer Augustus in the Off Broadway production of ‘Green Card the New Musical’ TV and Commercials Madam Secretary, Mozart in the Jungle, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Sheepshead Bay, Ponder and Ghostek Commercials Voice Over Mercedes Benz, Metlife Stage Directing ‘Art’, ‘Defendant Maurice Chevalier’-Off Broadway, ‘Loitering’-Off Broadway Collaborated with WZO and Russian Speaking Jewish communities in New York.

Irina Gorovaia Short film

Born in Leningrad, Russia, raised in the belly of Brooklyn, Irina has been on the path of metamorphosis from a young age. Although she doesn't remember much of her childhood, she enjoys reading Dostoyevsky and daydreaming of other lifetimes. After being discovered at a young age to play Young Margo in The Royal Tenebaums, Irina went on to be in several more feature films including It Runs in The Family and The Butterfly Effect. She attended the School of American Ballet, LaGuardia High School for Drama, and then CUNY Hunter College where she earned her BA in the highly lucrative field of Philosophy. Irina has since gone on to study at UCB, the Barrow Group under Seth Barrish and Lee Brock, and with international Meisner teacher Andrea Dantas. She works in both theater and film, most recently moving into producing and performing her own content including co-writing and producing her own web series (Frank&Alice), two seasons of Reservations at The Kraine Theater under 2293 Productions, and writing, producing and starring in critically acclaimed short films (Sun on Your Elbows, A Magnificent Gray), the latter of which is now being adapted into a feature film. Irina currently resides in NYC and can be spotted weaving through traffic and avoiding potholes on her bicycle, rain or shine. She wears her helmet proudly. Irina would like to thank her family and friends for their undying love, support and laughing at her jokes even when they aren't funny. She believes in the power of collaboration, being kind, and sharing french fries.

Anya Marfin Knots for Jews - Macramé Workshops

Anya Marfin was born in Moscow, Russian and emigrated to the US in 1995 after living for a few years in Israel. She is a local NY artist and a designer who graduated from Parsons School of Design with Bachelors in Fine Arts majoring in Product Design. She started her career designing fashion handbags for major American companies. After becoming a mom, she became a teaching artist and has been teaching and making art in her home-based studio using different media - painting with acrylics, watercolors, sculptures with clay and wall hanging with macramé. She’s currently teaching ceramics at Marlene Meyerson JCC in Manhattan.

Past Fellows

Margarita Korol Spoils of War: Ode to a Refusenik Mother

Margarita Korol is an urban pop artist, designer, and writer in New York City producing media in the publishing and public worlds including art directing, editing, and illustrating for several online and print magazines. Her writing, illustrations, paintings, and arts and culture propaganda are vibrant expressions of urban progress in directed contexts. Born the week of Chernobyl in Ukraine to refuseniks, Korol’s focus on empowering individuals in disadvantaged struggles against their political systems is an ongoing theme in her work. Her most recent exhibit for Brooklyn’s ArtOnBrighton exhibition on the Coney Island/ Brighton Beach boardwalk featured a series of propaganda posters directed to the area’s SovJew immigrant community in Korol’s generation. Previously, Propaglasnost: The Transparency Projects series was on view at NYC’s KGB Bar May and June 2011. Meanwhile, her Berlin Wall installation Die Mauer is housed at Chicago’s DANK-Haus German Cultural Center.

Masha Pekurovsky The Red Tent

Masha Pekurovsky was born in Kiev Ukraine. She was 9 years old when her family repatriated to Israel in the wave of 1990. Masha holds a Cum Laude Bachelors degree of Arch. from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. She immigrated to California in 2003 and has been calling New York “home” since 2007. Her project “Passageways” is a dance and video tribute to the feminine – An exploration of the Jewish female identity through the eyes of the artist. Building upon her passion for design, video art and tribal belly dance, Masha seeks to bring a multi-disciplinary performance experience to the audience.  Masha is a designer at HOK. She is also a member of the East Coast Tribal dance community and has been performing live video art under the stage name VJ nasha_masha.

Dina Pruzhansky Central Park: An Original Musical Story

Dina Pruzhansky is a Russian-Israeli pianist and composer based in New York. After winning a number of nationwide music competition in her native country Azerbaijan, she moved to Israel. Since 2006, Ms. Pruzhansky resides in New York City. An alumna from Mannes College for Music, she has appeared in solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, Russia, Israel, Belgium and Germany, and has shared the stage with many leading artists, including the soloists of the Metropolitan and San Francisco opera houses and the soloists of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. New York City recital venues include Merkin Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Steinway Hall, Bechstein Piano Center, Union Club, the Yamaha Piano Salon, Scandinavia House, The Ukrainian Institute, the Russian Permanent Mission to the U.N. and others.  

pavel sklyar Banany Chronicles

Pavel Sklyar was born in Kiev, Ukraine.  He was initially introduced to Jewish history, culture and traditions at the Jewish school, which was established in Kiev by Rabbi Bleich in 1991.  At the age of 13 he, together with his family, immigrated to New York City, where he continued his study and explore Judaism.  His other interests include traveling, photography, film, and investing.  Pavel graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Currently he works full time as a Business Planning Analyst at a Fortune 500 telecommunications company. He is also the President and co-founder of MMIC Investment club.

View All

Blueprint Fellowship Alumni

Alumni Projects

View All

From the Past and In the Now

Misha Gulko
Natasha Tverdynin Racic

Speak Memory

Tatyana Levina
Yuliya Levit
Nadya Meykson
Irina Sheynfeld

Inheritance of a Story

Tatyana Levina
Anna Rozhdestvenskaya
Yuliya Levit
The BluePrint Fellowship is generously sponsored by

The Genesis Philanthropy Group.

For more information

or if you have any questions, please e-mail
us at: