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

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.

Ronit Levin Delgado Blender Bodies

Ronit Levin Delgado (born Tel-Aviv, Israel) a multi media artist and a Fulbright scholar, lives and works in NYC. Levin Delgado holds a MFA in the Studio Art at MSU, NJ (2013) and a BFA from Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem (2008). Levin Delgado has won many honors and awards bestowed on her, including the Ministry of Culture scholarship, 2011-2013 Fulbright scholarship and in 2014 she was chosen to be the recipient of the First Annual Prize for Bezalel Alumni Ambassador. Levin Delgado has had solo exhibitions and participated in numerous international group exhibitions in Israel, Europe and the US.

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.

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.

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.

Past Fellows

Olga Benis The Hidden Matzo Chronicles

Olga Benis was born in 1978 in Kharkov, Ukraine and immigrated to the Unites States with her family in 1991. While Olga had pursued a career in Accounting, she had always exhibited a creative sense.  Her creativity expressed itself through cooking and it became her passion and outlet. This culinary journey aroused an insatiable desire to explore the world, connect to others and has led Olga to develop Holy Schmear – a small family venture of jam and spread.  Food has become a central element in Olga’s family, connecting four generations, from her grandmother to her daughter.

Karina Akimenko Jewish and Connected

Karina Akimenko was born in St. Petersburg Russia in 1991 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Karina attended Franklin and Marshall College, majoring in Public Health in Biology, while taking the Pre-Med track. In the past year, Karina has been working at Montefiore Hospital for the Network Performance Group focusing on improving hospital outcomes.

Radik Shvarts Ticket to Jerusalem

Yuri Kruman The Egypt In My Looking Glass: A Novella

Yuri Kruman is an American entrepreneur, author and blogger based in New York. Yuri has published two books of fiction, including a novel, “Returns and Exchanges” (2013, Author House) and novella, “The Egypt In My Looking Glass” (2014, Author House). He has made appearances at the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, JCC of Manhattan Salon Series, Russian American Cultural Center and Roger Smith Hotel Creative Program. He is a recipient of the UJA Shapiro Family and COJECO BluePrint Fellowships (2012-2013) and is also a member of the Asylum Arts International Jewish Artist community and the Jewish Book Council.

Michael Drob Stateless

Michael Drob was born in Riga, Latvia in 1978 and arrived in New York as refuseniks in 1988. Raised to become a professional violinist by his musician father and economist mother, he instead today works as a software engineer at Audible.com. He lives with wife and children, and runs a family business on the side, Story Tailors, a video production company.

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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 NYC

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