Announcing Inaugural Cultural Leadership Cohort

The Mandel Institute is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort (2023-2025) of the Cultural Leadership Program, a two-year fellowship for artists and cultural producers who aim to reimagine Jewish life and mobilize social change through their creative work.

The inaugural cohort is comprised of 15 exceptional fellows, representing a breadth of artistic disciplines and areas of cultural production: visual arts, dance, music, film, writing, theater, comedy, video game world building, and cultural organizing. Fellows are late emerging and mid-career artists and producers based in communities across the United States, including Los Angeles, CA, Brooklyn, NY, Santa Fe, NM, Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., Middleton, WI, among other locations. Fellows’ personal experiences and creative voices reflect diverse Jewish communities and lineages, and their work has addressed a range of social issues, including racial and disability justice, climate change, LGTBQ+ rights, immigration, and class inequalities, among others.

During the program, fellows will engage in collaborative learning to deepen their creative wellsprings, cultivate leadership capacities, advance new work, and foster peer networks. Fellows will receive a stipend of $40,000 over two years to support their participation in the fellowship’s educational program and work on a creative project. The educational program includes seminars in the United States and Israel, virtual workshops and short courses, and individualized advising sessions. The fellowship is led by an interdisciplinary team of artists, scholars and cultural leaders, including Eva Heinstein, Josh Lambert, Kendell Pinkney, Erin Potts and Shani Rosenbaum.

The first admissions cycle for the Cultural Leadership Program drew nearly 600 applications and underscored the dedication and vision that artists and cultural producers bring to Jewish life and their communities. Applications were reviewed by members of a committee comprised of program faculty and accomplished professionals in the cultural sector. Thirty one outstanding applicants were selected to advance to the final round including: Hadar Ahuvia, Elisa Albert, Liz Alpern, Avi Amon, Clare Bierman, Leora FridmanLeah GalantJessica KirzaneSana Krasikov, Elliot Kukla, Libby Lenkinski, Sam Max, Simon Mendes, Jon Adam Ross, Sigal Samuel, and Jenny Yurshansky.

The inaugural fellows of the Cultural Leadership Program are:

Agnes Borinsky
Los Angeles, CA

Sam Butin
Video Game Developer/Word Builder
Brooklyn, NY

Lee Conell
New York, NY

Maya Cueva
Berkeley, CA

Liana Finck
Brooklyn, NY

Igor Golyak
Theater Performance
Needham Heights, MA

Eve LaFountain
Santa Fe, NM

Antonia Lassar
Los Angeles, CA

Cara Levine
Los Angeles, CA

Erika Meitner
Middleton, WI

Anthony Russell
Atlanta, GA

Laura Elkeslassy
Brooklyn, NY

Jessica Valoris
Washington, D.C.

Frieda Vizel
Film/Video/New Media
Brooklyn, NY

Netta Yerushalmy
New York, NY

For more information about the Cultural Leadership Program and to read full biographies of fellows in the inaugural cohort, visit: