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

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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

140

Projects continuing beyond their Fellowship year

55

New Jewish non-profit organizations resulting from BluePrint projects

6

Fellows who became Jewish professionals or lay leaders

47

People engaged by BluePrint Fellowship community projects

13,000+

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 a public launch event.

PROGRAM DETAILS

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
Dates:
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

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.

Masha Dinor StroyKa

Masha Dinor is originally from Saratov, Russia and recently immigrated to New York. She is an architect and interior designer by trade and finds inspiration in teaching kids about art and design. She was an active member of Saratov' Jewish life and taught tradition and craft lessons at a local Jewish Family Center. Once she moved to Moscow to advance her career, Masha also led classes at a local architectural studio for kids.  Masha continues her work as an art educator in New York, where she teaches at Kibbutznik summer camp, Kompot events, Little-Avangardist and Dacha project.

Valeriya Dvorkin Cheburashka Wears a Kippah

Valeriya is a second grade teacher in a NYC public school, working primarily with English language learners. She immigrated to the US with her family in 1999 from Yekaterinburg, Russia. She received her BA in Literary Studies from The New School and a Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from CUNY Hunter College. Her short play The Frequencies of Love was put on as part of The Headcase Showcase through The New School in 2012 and was part of a reading series at La MaMa theater.

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.

Tatyana Dvorkin Cheburashka Wears a Kippah

Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tatyana immigrated to the US with her family at age 11. She received her BA in Sociology Summa Cum Laude from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College Columbia University where she focused on the use of games and social media in education. She has been an educator for 12 years, the past 5 of them at The Jewish Education Project working with day schools and congregational institutions all over North America to innovate classrooms and make learning more engaging and personalized. She currently works at an all boys school on the UES teaching coding and STEAM. She shares a home with her wife and about as many books as could comfortably fill a small public library.

Past Fellows

Alon Nechushtan Survival Codes

Yevgeniya Baras Foreign Bodies

Yevgeniya Baras is a painter residing in Brooklyn, NY. Her paintings are visceral geometric abstractions. She has exhibited for the past 10 years in the US and abroad. In May 2010 she co-founded the Regina Rex gallery with fellow artists. She enjoys the intellectual and communal effort involved in this curatorial project.  Yevgeniya emigrated from Russia to Philadelphia in 1993 and has been primarily living in the US since. She has a BA and MS from University of Pennsylvania( 2003) and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2007).  Her work can be viewed at www.yevgeniyabaras.com.

Anna Katsnelson The New Wave of Russian Jewish Cultural Production

Anna Katsnelson immigrated to New York from Leningrad in 1989 when she was 10 year old. In 2011 Anna received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation “Ethnic Passing across the Jewish Literary Diaspora” is an interdisciplinary, transnational study that examines history, culture, and literature. The dissertation shows that sociological identification with the hegemonic group and nativist influences in the United States, Brazil, and the USSR, led a number of ethnically Jewish writers, to create a literature which was completely devoid of ethnic markers. In 2007-2008 Anna was a Fulbright IIE Scholar to Brazil. Anna teaches in the English Departments of the Lander College for Women and Medgar Evers College.

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Blueprint Fellowship Alumni

Alumni Projects

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The Mountain Jews Cuisine: a cookbook

Yafo Mardakhayeva

Songs of Our Journey

Yaffa Borukhova

The Mountain Jews Cuisine: a cookbook

Lana Shalumova
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:

alinab@cojeco.org