Aryeh Fellows

RZA Aryeh Fellows

Thank you for your interest in the RZA Aryeh Fellowship.

Have a question that’s not mentioned here? Email RZAAryehFellows@gmail.com

1. What is the RZA?

The RZA is the Religious Zionists of America, a branch of World Mizrachi. It is the sole organization which educates and advocates for the Religious Zionism for the American Jewish community.

Rav Soloveitchik, for example, presented his famous work Kol Dodi Dofek and other Religious Zionist drashot at the RZA.

The RZA is also connected to other Religious Zionist organizations under the World Mizrachi umbrella, like Bnei Akiva, for example. For more info about RZA, check out their website: https://rza.org/

2. What is the RZA Aryeh Fellowship?

A selection of quality college and graduate students will be RZA Aryeh Fellows. Fellows will do two things: First – join a Winter Break trip to Israel and, second – spearhead a Manhigut Project. See questions 5 and 6 for more information about both.

3. Wait, this sounds similar to the RZA Winter Break Mission from last year!

During the wave of terror back in winter 2015-2016, the RZA subsidized a winter break mission. With just a week of advanced notice, the RZA received over 200 applications. Ultimately, the RZA enabled over 50 students to learn in their yeshivot/midrashot. They also joined a Yom Iyun in the World Mizrachi headquarters where they learned from Religious Zionist educators like Shani Taragin, Rav Yosef Tzvi “Yatz” Rimon, Stephen Flatow, and Rav Doron Perez.

Students found that mission to be edifying, powerful, and rejuvenating. It was a no-brainer to run a similar program for this year as well.

The key difference between last year to this year is this: last year students were selected for a week long mission whereas this year students are joining as year long fellows.

4. What is the RZA looking for in a fellow?

Applicants will be selected on several grounds:

a. The depth and quality of their application,

b. Shown commitment to Religious Zionist ideals,

c. Prior leadership experience

5. What is the Manhigut Project?

Fellows will work in teams of 3 or more in a year-long leadership project, with the aim of bringing Religious Zionism to the community. Project options include:

  • Running a Yom HaZikaron/Yom HaAtzmaut/Yom Yerushalayim program in your college community or in a shul
  • Coaching day school students in Chidon HaTanach
  • Create a Pro-Israel week of programming on college campuses, in response to vitriol from BDS (Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions) and SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine).
  • Working alongside Rabbi Gideon Shloush to establish RZA chapters throughout the United States in communities like Teaneck, Scarsdale, Highland Park, Livingston, Houston, Boca Raton, Boston, Los Angeles etc..
  • Penning weekly divrei torah – either of your own creative thoughts, or translating works from a rosh yeshivat hesder – to be sent out as part of the weekly RZA newsletter
  • Providing content or knowledge for management of the RZA website or emails
  • Organizing elements of the upcoming RZA conference in November
  • Establishing an RZA team to walk in the Israel Day Parade
  • Establishing an RZA team to attend the AIPAC conference
  • An approved project, of your choice

6. What do I have to do when I’m in Israel?

The primary function of the trip to Israel is for fellows to learn torah in the Religious Zionist Yeshiva/Midrasha they studied in pre-college.

Additionally, fellows must also: a. attend a Recharge Yom Iyun in World Mizrachi on Thursday January 12th, 2017 at 54 King George St in Yerushalayim, and b. post two facebook posts with #AryehFellowsRZA (see question 19 if you do not have facebook)

7. Will the trip to Israel work with my school’s winter break schedule?

We researched the winter break schedules of universities which have a strong Jewish community. To accommodate the variant college schedules, we have two group flight options:

Early-January Flight: Monday January 2, 2017 – Sunday January 15th, 2017

Mid-January Flight: Wednesday January 11th, 2017 – Sunday January 22nd, 2017

If neither flight option works for your schedule or if you can join only one leg of the group flight, contact us immediately to determine your options upon acceptance to the fellowship.

8. How do I apply?

Here is the link.

9. How does the money work?

We are working very hard to lower the cost per passenger so we can take the highest number of students for the cheapest amount.

Since the RZA is booking group flights on behalf of the students, there is no need to wait for a reimbursement check. Instead, each fellow will write a check, made out to the RZA for $500.00, to be presented at the first fellowship meeting on Oct 31st.

If a student has difficulty paying this amount, they should contact us to discuss options. Please also remember that $500 is a modest amount considering that roundtrip direct flights generally cost upwards of $1,100.

10. I was selected for an interview. What should I expect?

Interviews will be held in groups of 2 to 5 people. All interviews will be held in the RZA’s office, housed in the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) — 305 7th Ave Fl 12, New York, NY 10001, between 28th and 27th streets. You should expect to discuss your personal background, your involvement in Religious Zionism (like Camp Moshava, etc.), and why you are interested in being an RZA Aryeh Fellow.

11. I was waitlisted. What should I expect?

You will hear from us by Thursday October 27th if you are taken off the waitlist.

12. I was accepted! What’s next?

Our first Aryeh Fellows meeting will be on Monday October 31st in the Heights Lounge 2520 Amsterdam Ave, entrance on 185th st, New York, NY 10033. See the next question for dates/times/location of subsequent meetings.

13. What are important dates and times?

Information Session: Wednesday September 28th 8:00pm in the Heights Lounge (Heights Lounge 2520 Amsterdam Ave, entrance on 185th st, New York, NY 10033.)

Application deadline: Application will close on Thurs Oct 5th at 11:59pm. No applications will be accepted after that time, no exceptions.

Students continuing for interviews: You will be contacted by Friday Oct 7th at 12pm. The email will include Doodle spreadsheet to sign up for dates/times to join a group interview.

Group interviews will be held on: Oct 9, 10, 13, 14 in the RZA offices, housed in the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) 305 7th Ave Fl 12, New York, NY 10001, between 28th and 27th streets.

Acceptance, waitlist and rejection letters by: Wednesday October 19th at 9:00am. Accepted fellows must confirm their placement by Wednesday October 26th.

First RZA Aryeh Fellows meeting: Monday October 31th, 7:00pm Heights Lounge Heights Lounge 2520 Amsterdam Ave, entrance on 185th st, New York, NY 10033. Topics to be discussed: Manhigut Project – create teams, brainstorm and confirm projects

Second RZA Aryeh Fellows Meeting: Monday December 12th, 7:00pm Heights Lounge 2520 Amsterdam Ave, entrance on 185th st, New York, NY 10033. Topics to be discussed: teams give updates about their Manhigut Project, Logistics of the Israel trip including flight and Yom Iyun

Early-January Flight: Monday January 2, 2017 – Sunday January 15th, 2017

Mid-January Flight: Wednesday January 11th, 2017 – Sunday January 22nd, 2017

Recharge Yom Iyun: Thursday January 12th in World Mizrachi Headquarters 54 King George St, Yerushalayim.

Third RZA Aryeh Fellows Meeting: Monday February 27th, 7:00pm Heights Lounge Heights Lounge 2520 Amsterdam Ave, entrance on 185th st, New York, NY 10033. Topics to be discussed include: debriefing about the Israel trip; teams give updates about their Manhigut Project.

Fourth RZA Aryeh Fellows Meeting: Monday May 15th, location TBD, end of year party for RZA Aryeh Fellows

14. I studied in a yeshiva/midrasha after high school but I don’t feel comfortable returning there for winter break. Can I study in a different yeshiva/midrasha?

Then contact the Religious Zionist yeshiva or midrasha of your choice; ask if you can learn there for your winter break. It is possible they will ask you to pay for room and board since you did not study there post-high school. For a list of yeshivot and midrashot, follow this link to the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program through YU: http://www.yu.edu/israel-program/gis/

15. I didn’t have the chance to study in any yeshiva/midrasha after high school. Can I still apply?

Then contact the Religious Zionist yeshiva or midrasha of your choice; ask if you can learn there for your winter break. It is possible they will ask you to pay for room and board since you did not study there post-high school. For a list of yeshivot and midrashot, follow this link to the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program through YU: http://www.yu.edu/israel-program/gis/

16. I’m a smicha student, in graduate school, or young professional. Can I still apply for the Fellowship?

The Fellowship is open to all students – on the undergraduate and graduate level. Simcha students are welcome to apply. Unfortunately, we are not accepting applications from YPs.

17. I am married. Can my spouse join the group flight?

Yes. There are very specific requirements and protocols if they want to join the group flight. Upon acceptance to the fellowship you must email RZAAryehFellows@gmail.com right away to discuss further.

18. I live outside the New York/New Jersey area. Can I still apply?

Yes. Please note the following things: 1. You will have to Googlehangout into the interview and all subsequent fellowship meetings. 2. You can join either the early January or mid-January group flight to Israel. However, you will be responsible to pay for your initial flight to New York. 3. The focus and scope of your Manhigut Project will shift if the rest of your team resides in a different State. Please have these three things in mind before you apply.

19. I don’t use social media like facebook and twitter. How can I fulfill the social media requirement?

Then use an alternative. You can publish an article in your college newspaper, your local Jewish newspaper, the Times of Israel or another major Israeli newspaper. You can speak about your experiences in your shul or local high school. If you have another idea for how you want to fulfill the social media requirement, email RZAAryehFellows@gmail.com with your idea.

20. I live in Israel and I’d love to join the Recharge Yom Iyun at World Mizrachi on Jan 12, 2017. Can I join even though I’m not part of the fellowship?

Yes! The Recharge Yom Iyun are open to all. RSVP to RZAAryehFellows@gmail.com by January 3rd ,2017 with the subject line “RSVP to Recharge Yom Iyun” or on the facebook event which will be posted in December 2016

21. I have a question which wasn’t on this list. Who should I contact?

RZAAryehFellows@gmail.com, sarah.robinson@mail.yu.edu, or marnie@rza.org