the kreuzberg kollel & Fellows program

APPLICATIONS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED.

“A sense of community, loving and caring and thoughtful as well as intellectually stimulating.” - Kollel Semester II Fellow

About the Kollel

The Kreuzberg Kollel is a communal learning space geared towards in-depth, committed Jewish learning, and an incubator for developing new talent and creative Europe-based teachers rooted in the Jewish tradition.

Kollels, houses of higher Jewish learning, have traditionally been reserved for married Orthodox men. Many Jews who are passionate about learning have felt frustrated by the imperfect options available, finding the small groups in the synagogues, pursuit of academic degrees in the universities, or going abroad to learn limited or inaccessible. Women and other marginalized groups are even more limited in their learning opportunities.

The Kreuzberg Kollel aims to be both open and deep, inclusive and dedicated. Participants of all genders and Jewish backgrounds commit to one day a week of intensive Bible and Talmud study. In addition, participants will be able to propose independent study paths and take part in diverse, comprehensive afternoon seminars with guest lecturers from around the globe. The Kreuzberg Kollel will serve as a local training ground to create a larger cadre of open, compassionate, self-confident, and textually rooted Jewish educators.

The Fellows Program, aimed toward young Jews ages 18-40 who reside in Germany, takes Kollel membership to the next level and trains these individuals to become grassroots Jewish educators in their communities. Fellows commit to weekly participation and to working in other educational frameworks as they innovate their own educational programs. The four Fellows will receive additional guidance and responsibilities and be rewarded with a modest stipend of 50 euros per session for their time and investment. They will be models for the classic Jewish idea of ‘Torah in action’: taking the texts and living them out in everyday activism.


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goals of the kollel

The Kollel strives to create a communal atmosphere in which participants bond over deep ideas and have the opportunity to share Jewish identity in a uniquely intellectual and non-dogmatic setting. It will be an unabashedly inclusive space for Jews who would not typically have access to a “yeshiva” environment for reasons of systemic exclusion and prejudice—especially women, LGBTQI* Jews, Jews of color, unmarried people, Jews with a migration background, and others.

All participants of the Kollel will emerge from the program with:

    • New or increased Jewish self-confidence, literacy and a sense of ownership of Jewish text

    • New or increased pedagogical skills to further the transmission of Jewish textual tradition

    • Tools to continue Talmud study beyond the course of the program

    • The ability to write and express original commentary on primary Jewish sources, including the Talmud and the Bible

In addition, every semester of the Kollel produces a commentary on its own chapter of Talmud. Please check out HERE our commentary on the 19th chapter of Shabbat and HERE our commentary on the 4th chapter of Pesachim.

This semester, we’ll be diving into the 5th chapter of Tractate Sukkah!

The fellows Program

About the Fellows Program

The Fellows program, designed for young Jews ages 18-40 who reside in Germany, takes Kollel membership to the next level and trains these individuals to become grassroots Jewish educators in their communities. Fellows commit to weekly participation in the communal learning and to working in other educational frameworks as they innovate their own educational programs. The Fellows will receive additional guidance and responsibilities and be rewarded with a modest stipend of 50 Euro per session for their time and investment. They will be models for the classic Jewish idea of ‘Torah in action’: taking the texts and living them out in everyday activism.

Each fellow will specialize in one specialty area about which they are passionate, working to engage the Kollel and larger community. Available specialties include education, social action, ritual engagement, or community building.

By the end of the program, Fellows will emerge with the above accomplishments as well as the following:

    • The design of two innovative programs/classes/ideas, one for Kollel members and one for the larger community via a community partner

    • One-on-one mentorship and guidance, and personalized feedback sessions to sharpen ideas and pedagogical skills

    • Leadership experience

    • Teaching experience

    • Project management experience

Expectations of the fellows

  • To attend at least 80% of all Kollel classes

  • To lead a Parshah discussion as well as teach an afternoon class for the Kollel community (don’t worry, we’ll be here to support you along the way!)

  • To create a project that will impact the larger Base/Hillel/Berlin community.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

For 2021, the Kollel is seeking applications from Jewish adults ages 18 and up. We are looking in particular for those who have demonstrated leadership experience in their Jewish community (through student groups, community engagement, volunteering, or otherwise) as well as people who are “experts” in unique fields (advocacy, art, music, academia, politics, etc.) and are seeking a deep Jewish perspective to layer onto their work. While we will give preference to those between 18 and 40 years old, we are happy to consider applications from individuals of all ages, particularly those who have been exempted from this path of study in the past.

Location

The Kollel will assume a hybrid model of online and in-person learning. While we will likely start the semester online, we hope to eventually come back to a hybrid model that will include in-person learning. While we expect that the majority of participants will be Berlin-based, we would welcome applications from other German and European cities who would commit to online participation. Details of participation for non-Berlin participants will be worked out with Kollel staff. To the best of our ability, we will assign chavrutot (study pairs) within the same city.

Jewish Identity

Applicants should identify strongly as Jewish. Our goal is to create a community of Jews who are dedicated to intellectual exploration and to building a strong Jewish communal future in that vein. The Kollel is not a program to study Judaism from an academic perspective. We would be happy to direct you to other Hillel and Base Berlin programs that would be more suitable for these types of study and engagement. Thank you for your understanding.

Languages

The Kollel courses will be taught in English, and applicants should feel comfortable speaking and reading in English. All chavruta (paired study) sessions will take place in the language most comfortable for each pair. Past Chevrutot have learned in German, Russian, English and Hebrew.

calendar

The Kollel meets every Monday from 9.00 until 16.00, except for Jewish and German legal holidays. Below is the tentative schedule for Kollel meeting dates, as well as events and immersive programs. Due to COVID-19, the schedule is subject to change.

Applicants are expected to be able to attend all or most sessions.

Adar:

February 15, 2021

February 22, 2021

March 1, 2021

March 8, 2021

Nissan:

March 15, 2021

March 22, 2021

April 4, 2021

April 12, 2021

Iyyar:

April 19, 2021

April 26, 2021

May 3, 2021

May 10, 2021

Sivan:

May 24, 2021

May 31, 2021

June 7, 2021

Tammuz:

June 14, 2021

June 21, 2021

June 28, 2021

applICATION PROCESS

Application Timeline - Spring 2021

Check out the application here.

Sunday, January 3 Applications Open

Wednesday, January 20 Application Deadline

Week of January 25 Interviews with Kollel staff

By February 5 Confirmation of participation

Monday, February 15 First Session