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Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe

A year-long fellowship program designed exclusively for middle-management community professionals

Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe is a year-long fellowship program designed exclusively for middle-management community professionals to maximise your potential for impact in your community. It is part of the Kaplan Leadership Initiative, a global leadership development program.

At three European regional seminars and one held internationally joining fellows from Latin America and the Former Soviet Union, you will take your leadership, management, applied Jewish learning and community development knowledge, skills and practice to the next level. Each fellow is assigned a dedicated mentor and participates in webinars throughout the year. 

Applications to join Cohort III have now closed.

Click here to learn about the experiences of Danielle Chaimovitz and Yuka Shterenberg on the Kaplan Leadership Initiative.

Click here to see the fellows in Cohort II.

Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe is a professional development programme for talented, creative, middle – management Jewish community professionals who want to make a difference in their communities and maximize their potential.

Over the course of a year participants join four in-person seminars (including one with peers from Latin America and the Former Soviet Union), where they gain practical skills, confidence, Jewish inspiration and a peer network that will propel them to future leadership and meaningful contributions in their communities.

Designed for a select, diverse group of European Jewish community professionals, the programme integrates four development areas:

  • Leadership skills
  • Management skills
  • Community development
  • Jewish content and context

These will be explored across four domains of the individual as a professional, organisation, community, and Jewish people.

Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe is the European cohort of the Kaplan Leadership Initiative, a global leadership development programme.

Click here  to learn about the experiences of Danielle Chaimovitz and Yuka Shterenberg on the Kaplan Leadership Initiative.

Click here  to meet the Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe Cohort II.

The Kaplan Leadership Initiative will cover the costs of flights, accommodation, and full-board kosher meals during the in-person seminars.

There is a participation fee of 150 Euros which the organisations of successful candidates will be requested to pay as an investment in their participating professionals. The figure is lower than in previous years and recognizes the cost of travel insurance and potential Covid travel testing which must be covered by participants.

The Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe programme consists of the following components, for which participation is mandatory. For more on our approach to Covid and restrictions, see the Covid Code of Conduct tab. Covid restrictions permitting, the seminars will take place in person. Should meeting in person not be possible, for one or more of the seminars, alternative virtual programming will be provided.

  • Four in-person seminars over the course of a year (see details below)
  • One-to-one mentoring in between seminars, approximately six one-hour sessions
  • Webinars on related topics, approximately four throughout the year
  • Jewish learning in virtual “chavruta” (study pairs) – approximately six one-hour sessions
  • Preparation for each seminar, such as reading assignments or short practical tasks

The seminars are intensive and experiential, balancing practical skills, exploration of values and concepts, whilst drawing on Jewish thought and text to expand your learning and potential for action in your organizations and communities. Participation is mandatory, subject to Covid restrictions. Below is a summary of the focus of each seminar, and a full programme will be provided to successful candidates in advance of each seminar.

Seminar 1: Me as a Jewish Community Professional, Jerusalem, 4 – 7 September 2022

Focusing on:

  • Me as a professional, my values and vision
  • My Jewish identity and how it impacts my work
  • The role of leadership in our work
  • Developing key personal skills and approaches, for example: storytelling, emotional intelligence, giving and receiving feedback
  • Building a sense of group identity within the European Kaplan Fellows region

Seminar 2: Me as a Manager and My Organisation, Berlin, 29 January – 1 February 2023

Focusing on:

  • Me as a manager and my management style
  • Differences between leadership and management
  • Developing key management skills and approaches, for example, relating to staff, projects and stakeholders
  • Community organisations and issues such as organisational mission and strategy, structures, organisational culture, professional/lay leadership relationships
  • The role of Jewish learning in Jewish community professional work and what makes my organisation ‘Jewish’

Seminar 3: Me and the Jewish People, European or Israel Location to be confirmed, provisionally 16 – 22 May 2023 (together with Kaplan Fellows from Latin America and the Former Soviet Union)

Focusing on:

  • What is Jewish Peoplehood, why does it matter to our work, and our role and responsibilities
  • Better understanding our own community through the contrast and similarities with communities in other regions and their experiences
  • Understand best practice from other regions
  • Exploring differing models of Judaism and Jewish life, how open/closed should a community be to other perspectives, and the role of pluralism and cross-communalism
  • Hearing inspiring visions of Jewish community from around the Jewish world

Seminar 4: Me and My Community, Sofia, 29 October – 1 November 2023

Focusing on:

  • Why/is community important and always a positive
  • What defines a (Jewish) community, boundaries, who is in and out, etc.
  • Communal identity, the tension of organisational missions v communal missions and developing a community-wide view and vision, beyond my own organisation
  • Key community development/building skills and approaches including, for example, community mapping, networking, and partnerships
  • Closure of the programme, reflection and validation, next steps in the journey and opportunities as alumni

How will we learn?

Seminars are interactive and participatory, requiring full involvement of all participants and involving a wide range of methods and approaches, including, for example:

  • Key note speakers
  • Small group discussions
  • Exercises for personal and group reflection
  • Jewish and other text work
  • Case studies and role plays
  • Small group project/lab work with presentations to the whole group
  • Site visits
  • Group building activities
  • Skills training and practice
  • Some sessions offering a choice of topic/skills

If the following criteria are true for you, then you are eligible to apply for Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe Cohort III.

  • Between 27-40 years old
  • Currently employed in a professional position within the Jewish community for a minimum of 4 days per week
  • Have at least 5 years of professional experience in Jewish communal/educational frameworks OR 2 years if you have worked professionally for at least 3 additional years outside of these frameworks
  • Management responsibility of either people, budgets, or volunteers
  • Work in an organisation with a primary focus on the Jewish community
  • Record of accomplishment and potential for leadership as a Jewish community professional
  • Open-minded, self-reflective, excited to engage with new ideas
  • Speak and understand English at a high level.
  • Live and work in Europe, including the Baltics and UK, excludes the Former Soviet Union


Kaplan Leadership Initiative is offering attendance at its in-person seminars pursuant to public health guidance and regulations in each country where the meetings will take place.

Kaplan Leadership Initiative is committed to maintaining safe and secure environments for all participants, staff, and vendors, and to this end, requires all attendees to comply with the safety measures listed below.


Each participant is aware of the existence of Covid-19, and that participation in an in-person meeting has a risk of becoming infected.

Health protocols

Participants should declare their Covid-19 vaccination status in order to travel internationally. Additional checks and procedures might be required due to local legislation of the destination country (PCR testing, QR codes, translation of vaccination certificates and medical references etc.)

Before traveling

All participants should be aware that they might be asked to fill out a travel form and confirm their location prior to the date of travel, present valid proof of full vaccination, negative PCR test, valid travel insurance etc.

Participants should not attend in-person if they have experienced symptoms such as: fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, dry cough, or other symptoms related to Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to scheduled arrival.

Participants should not attend if they must isolate or quarantine because they have been exposed to a person with Covid-19 or have been diagnosed with Covid-19 within the last 14 days.

Participants should be aware that in some cases if they are arriving from countries with a high number of Covid-19 cases, they may be asked to quarantine and get additional Covid-19 testing. In this case we suggest contacting program staff for further consultations.

During the seminars

While at the event, all participants, staff, and vendors must follow all health and safety protocols. These precautions may include, but are not limited to, engaging in appropriate social distancing, wearing a face mask in public areas and meeting spaces, minimizing face touching, frequently washing my hands and avoiding high-risk environments such as overcrowded places and events unrelated to the seminars.

All participants must wear an appropriate face mask at all times, unless otherwise permitted. The mask should cover nose and mouth.

Daily Health Checks\health declaration forms. If needed\instructed by authorities – participants will complete daily health screenings\daily health form declaration.

On-site illness. If having such symptoms as: fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, dry cough, or other symptoms related to COVID-19, the participants must not attend the meeting, report to program staff, and wait for further instructions.

The participants are solely responsible for all costs related to Covid-19 virus prevention and mitigation, including testing, medical care, extended hotel stays, changes in travel arrangements, and any other expenses related to Covid-19. Participants must obtain travel insurance before attending the seminars.

Outside the seminars

Outside of the seminar meetings premises, including within public spaces, hospitality venues, accommodation and on public transport, all participants must adhere to the relevant local Covid-19 measures and restrictions that apply at the time.

It is recommended, however, to avoid personal meetings with non-seminar participants during the course of the seminar.

After the seminars

Based on the Covid-19 policies, some of the participants may be asked to quarantine upon arrival to their home country. In the event the participants test positive for Covid-19 up to 14 days after returning home, it is mandatory to inform the program staff.

What is Yesod Europe?

Yesod Europe is dedicated to strengthening the future of Jewish Europe by investing in key individual Jewish community professionals and educators to create sustainable and meaningful European Jewish community life. We believe that individuals who are skilled, connected, valued and are inspired by Jewish values as professionals and educators will have the greatest potential for impact. For more information see go to the Yesod Europe website.

What is the Kaplan Leadership Initiative?

The Kaplan Leadership Initiative is an international professional development programme that equips young Jewish professional leaders from Europe, the Former Soviet Union, and Latin America with the knowledge, skills and support they need to build, strengthen and grow their own Jewish communities. The Kaplan Leadership Initiative was launched to give talented and promising Jewish professional leaders the tools they need to march their communities into the future.

Who are the Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe?

The European Kaplan Fellows are a select group of  talented and motivated Jewish community professionals who meet the programme eligibility criteria. We deliberately choose participants from different communities and countries, with different backgrounds and experiences, and we ask everyone to bring themselves fully to the experience.

Click here to meet the Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe Cohort II.

Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe Cohort II – Yesod Europe

How much does it cost to participate?

The cost of the programme is 150 Euros. We encourage employers to cover all or some of these costs as an investment in your professional development.

International travel and seminar costs (individual accommodation in regional seminars and same-gender shared accommodation during the global seminar, kosher food and programme) and mentoring are covered by the Kaplan Leadership Initiative.

Participants will be required to cover their own travel and medical insurance, visa expenses, and transport to and from airports in home country and seminar countries.

What will I get out of the programme?

More than you can imagine!

Here are just a few of the things we believe you will take away:

  • A stronger commitment to being a Jewish community professional; an understanding of why this work is valuable and how you can contribute.
  • Practical skills, such as: storytelling; emotional intelligence; managing staff and projects; community mapping; how to develop partnerships and more.
  • An understanding of different approaches to leadership, how you can contribute your own acts of leadership and what it means to envision and catalyze change in your community.
  • A greater understanding of your own strengths, challenges and areas of growth.
  • A strong network of peers in varied Jewish communities who provide each other mutual support, sharing of knowledge and possibilities for future collaboration.

If I am a Jewish community activist but don’t have a full-time job in the community, can I apply?

Unfortunately, no. The Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe programme is designed for full-time Jewish community professionals.

If my English is not fluent, can I participate?

The programme is conducted wholly in English and requires a good level of understanding and communication. As part of the application process, we will assess your level of English.

How can I convince my manager that I should apply to this programme?

We know this programme of professional development and Jewish learning will not only benefit you personally, but also your organisation. We want to help you make the case to your managers that it is time well spent and it is in their interest to support your application. See the question above about what you will get out of the programme, and use it to explain to your manager that your time in this programme will be worthwhile. We are happy to help you with this – ask us!

How do I apply?

If you think you belong in the next cohort of Kaplan Fellows @Yesod Europe, please check the dates, ensure that you have support from your manager, arrange for two recommendations and click here and click here.

Applications are now closed for the 2022-23 Cohort.

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