The Keystone Fellowship is a visionary effort to cultivate and nurture distinguished lay leaders committed to shaping the Jewish future and strengthening their nominating organization.
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We are excited to announce the second cohort of the COJECO Keystone Fellowship – a leadership program that brings together distinguished lay leaders and philanthropists from the Russian-speaking Jewish and American Jewish communities.
December 23, 2016 – New York, NY – COJECO has revealed the second 20-person cohort of the COJECO Keystone Fellowship, a visionary effort to cultivate and nurture distinguished lay leaders committed to shaping the Jewish future and strengthening their nominating organizations. This highly selective program brings together a collaborative cohort of diverse Jewish activists, representing the broad array of organizations and affiliations within the Jewish community of New York. COJECO is unambiguous in its intent to bring Russian-speaking Jews to the decision making table, as half of the distinguished fellows are from a Russian-speaking Jewish background.
Sponsored by the UJA-Federation of NY, the Keystone Fellowship is a unique partnership between COJECO, the central coordinating body of the Russian-speaking Jewish community of NY, and NYU Wagner School of Public Service. The curriculum will weave the practical skills of institutional governance and fiduciary responsibilities with the most current and dynamic models of Jewish and leadership learning. Participants will explore their own identity and relationship to the larger Jewish community; learn the foundations of governance with the leading academics; meet with some of the most influential and innovative leaders of the Jewish world and start envisioning future Jewish community and their role in it. This year-long program will begin in January 2017 with an intensive three-day retreat, followed by 15 group sessions and a week-long immersive learning experience in a Jewish community abroad. NYU Wagner will provide an executive graduate certificate to Keystone Fellowship participants upon completion of the program.
Dr. David Elcott, Co-Director the NYU Wagner and Judaic Studies Dual Degree Program and Taub Professor of Practice in Public Service and Leadership, explains, “In the Jewish world, there is a pressing need for well-trained and thoughtful volunteer leaders to steer our organizations, from synagogues and schools, to those providing social welfare and culture, to those engaging in political action and social justice. As the demands and pressures facing Jewish agencies and organizations increase, supporting further advancement of mid-level leaders becomes even more urgent.”
The COJECO Keystone Fellowship aims to assist Jewish institutions in cultivating and nurturing their lay leaders. Through the outreach efforts of the Keystone Staff Team, over 70 candidates were nominated by a wide range of Jewish non-profit agencies in the New York Metropolitan Area. After a rigorous application and interview process guided by the Keystone Steering Committee, 20 outstanding candidates have been selected for the 2017 Keystone Fellowship Cohort.
I am so excited and honored to have been chosen as a member of the Keystone fellowship, along with 19 other accomplished peers! Looking forward to learning and creating a meaningful community of Jewish lay leaders, – Eric Yankelovich, 2017 COJECO Keystone Fellow
The Keystone Fellowship proposes to restructure how the Russian-speaking and American Jewish communities relate to one another by modeling a singular, inclusive platform for Jewish leaders. The second 20 person cohort represents a broad array of organizational involvement, religious observance, cultural background, and goals for the Jewish future. This community building and leadership empowerment model will integrate various subgroups rather than seek to assimilate a minority in the dominant mainstream. “This is the Jewish future, one of diversity and pluralism,” explains Roman Shmulenson, Executive Director of COJECO. “The Keystone Fellowship is an innovative approach toward a truly collective sense of Jewish peoplehood – the human bond and sense of shared destiny that makes us a people.”
The Keystone Fellowship is highly selective leadership training program for accomplished individuals (approximately 30-45 years old) with a proven record of leadership in Jewish communal life, and a demonstrated potential for future growth. Keystone Fellowship candidates must be interested in acquiring new knowledge and skills and an ability to apply them in practice, proactively seeking to transform and invigorate the Jewish community of NY.
The Keystone Fellowship seeks to equip lay leaders from the American and Russian-speaking Jewish communities with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the world of Jewish organizations along with leadership perspective drawn from ancient and modern Jewish text. During this series of seminars, participants will explore their own identity and relationship to the larger Jewish community; learn the foundations of governance with the leading academics; meet with some of the most influential and innovative leaders of the Jewish world and start envisioning future Jewish community and their role in it.
To access program materials please CLICK HERE
Kyrill Firshein is an Executive Director at VTB Capital and heads VTB's Equities franchise for the Americas.
Jane Greyf is a partner in the Private Equity Group of Goodwin Procter, specializing in private equity investments, leveraged buyouts, and various investment transactions.
Marcia Kahnowitz is an attorney with the Hudson County Division of Housing & Community Development and the Director of the Hudson County/Jersey City Workforce Investment Board.
Mikhail Ratner, a Columbia University graduate, is an attorney practicing business law for more than 14 years and has a long history of commitment to Jewish communal life.
Co-Director the NYU Wagner and Judaic Studies Dual Degree Program, David Elcott has spent the last twenty-five years at the intersection of community building, the search for a theory of cross-boundary engagement, and interfaith and ethnic organizing and activism.
Irina Rakhlis is very passionate about building a Jewish community and strengthening Jewish life and identity among Russian-speaking Jews (RSJ). She is actively engaged as a lay leader in the RSJ community, serving on the board of Mazel Day School and Jewish Parent Academy, offering her a unique opportunity to be part of organizations that serve as a source of inspiration and guidance for Brooklyn’s RSJ community. Irina is also a member of the Natan RSJ giving circle that supports innovative approaches to strengthening the RSJ community. After successfully graduating from inaugural Keystone Fellowship cohort, Irina joined COJECO team in 2016 as a Program Manager to lead the second Keystone Fellowship. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, she immigrated to United States at the age of 11. Irina spent 13 years on Wall Street in the financial sector. She is a graduate of Pace University, NYC. Irina enjoys spending time with her husband and their three daughters, living in Brooklyn, NY.
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