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
Past Fellows

Alex Minkin Ticun Brasil

Alex Minkin created an online Jewish Brazil website outlining various volunteer opportunities for Jews traveling in Brazil. Visit TicunBrasil for information on how you can volunteer in Brazil!

Masha (Mariya) Vlasova Unknown Woman in Three-Quarter View: Letters to an Imaginary Lover

Masha (Mariya) Vlasova is a Russian born artist who lives and works in New York City. She is the recipient of a Robert Breer Film and Video Award, an IIE Fulbright grant in filmmaking (Kyrgyz Republic), a CASI Foreign Research Fellowship, an ACANSRS Film Grant and COJECO BluePrint Fellowship. Masha Vlasova's photographs and videos have recently been exhibited at La MaMa La Galleria, Leeds College of Art, UK and Hadas Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently an MFA candidate in the Department of Sculpture at Yale.

Olga Gilburd Happiness the Jewish Way

Olga Gilburd lived in Russia and Ukraine before coming to the United States. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Public Service. She worked with teens and adults at The Jewish Agency for Israel and also with kids in a Jewish Sunday school. As a nurse, she interacted and helped predominately Russian-speaking immigrants.  Listening to many life stories, she realized that although pursuit of happiness is the main reason for immigration, the emotional well-being skills and happiness are mostly overlooked in everyday challenges. Olga studied positive Psychology and created a blog about happiness.

Alex Pergament Helga and the Life-sized Carl Sagan

Alex Pergament is a Jersey City-based photographer and attorney.  His photographs reflect on the relationship between community and individual identity.  He primarily shoots with Polaroids, and incorporates them into large-scale hand-made books.  Alex is an artist-in-residence at 660 Studios. He has edited and published The Escape Anthology for the Young Photographers Alliance, and received the Young Artists fellowship from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.  He has exhibited solo and group shows in New York, D.C., Chicago, and New Jersey. Alex is also an intellectual property attorney, serving artists and small businesses in New Jersey and New York.  He served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of George Washington University Law School.

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.

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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: