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

Mark Gurevich The Yiddish Old and New

Mark is a New York-based photographer whose work has focused on narrative portraits and documenting community experiences through photography. Born in Moscow, Russia, Mark is two generations away from the small Yiddish-speaking shtetl in Belorus where his grandfather grew up. When not shooting portraits, Mark is a corporate attorney at a New York law firm.

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.

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.

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 www.rebeccakarpovsky.com.

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.

Past Fellows

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.

Dmitriy Khavin Across the Narrow Bridge

Dmitriy Khavin was born in Odessa, Ukraine. His first job in film was working as a lighting assistant at the Odessa Film Studios. Since 1992 Dmitriy has lived in New York where he works as a director, producer, editor and cinematographer on documentaries and television programs. Dmitriy’s television credits include programs for HBO, PBS, Discovery, MTV, Link TV, Jewish Life TV and many others.

Avital Chizhik In the Eighteenth Minute: A Short Story Collection

Avital Chizhik is a journalist living in New York City. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Tablet, and the Forward, and she is a frequent contributor to Haaretz. Her fiction has received recognition from the Atlantic Monthly, Moment Magazine and the National Young Arts Foundation. She lives with her husband Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt in New York City. Follow Avital on her  website: www.avitalrachel.com and Twitter: @avitalrachel

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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:

lisa@cojeco.org