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View recording of March 31st session

Information Session Slides


Eligible candidates include, but are not limited to, visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, theatre artists, writers, filmmakers, new media and multidisciplinary artists, as well as a range of cultural producers, such as journalists, curators, chefs, comedians, video game world builders, cultural organizers and culture bearers.

Candidates may work independently or in organizational settings such as museums, arts centers, media platforms, and cultural strategy organizations, among others. We know that artists and producers often occupy many roles, and the center of gravity of their work may shift over time. We are looking for candidates whose primary professional focus is in the cultural sector.

We are seeking fellows who have a body of artistic or cultural work that demonstrates a sustained level of commitment and accomplishment (e.g., it has been published, recorded, presented, distributed, or developed through public engagement). Depending on your discipline and professional path, this may mean that you are at a late-emerging or mid-career stage. Candidates should have 8+ years of generative practice.

The aim of the fellowship is to develop artists and producers who lead through their art, cultural projects, and organizations. We are looking for candidates who are seeking to reimagine Jewish life and galvanize action on a range of social issues through their artistic and cultural work.

We will seek fellows who value collaboration and boundary crossing, and whose personal experiences and creative voices represent the diversity of the Jewish people. We especially encourage candidates from underrepresented groups to apply, such as BIPOC, Mizrahi, Sephardi, LGBTQ+, individuals with disabilities, and others. Candidates must currently live in the United States or Canada.


We are seeking candidates with varying levels of prior experience working with Jewish themes and in Jewish arts spaces. You may come to the program with one project, or a body of work, that is shaped by Jewish themes either implicitly or explicitly. You may also come to the program with no prior work that integrates Jewish themes and a desire to add your creative voice to the field.

Our great hope is that this program will support artists and producers to reimagine Jewish life through innovative art, cultural practices, and creative modes of action. We believe the exchange between artists and producers who are more anchored in the field of Jewish arts and culture, and those who up until now have worked outside it, is necessary to achieve this kind of change. This is a long way of saying: if what you want to create is unlike anything you’ve encountered in mainstream Jewish life, you’ve come to the right place!

You do not need to have an existing project to develop in the fellowship. We expect that some fellows will have relevant, existing projects they want to advance through the fellowship. Others will have a clear idea for a new project they want to undertake or questions they believe can lead to the development of a new work. The application includes prompts that speak to these different starting points.

We understand that creative work has a long time horizon and that not all fellows will produce finished work by the end of the program. At the outset of the program, fellows will meet with the director to discuss goals for their project or a plan for developing new work, and how the fellowship can best support their progress.

The fellowship’s educational program consists of four in-person seminars, one short retreat, and monthly online sessions (~2 per month, 60-90 minutes in length). Online sessions may include independent and small group study on topics of interest, peer consultations on projects, preparation for seminar field experiences, and fellows’ work with their advisers. The dates for in-person programs are:

    1. Seminar 1: Boston, October 15-19, 2023
    2. Seminar 2: New Orleans, April 14-18, 2024
    3. Retreat: Boulder, September 15-17, 2024
    4. Seminar 3: Israel, January 7-14, 2025 
    5. Seminar 4: Boston, May 11-15, 2025

In addition, fellows will be expected to dedicate time, outside of scheduled programming, to developing an existing or new project over the course of the fellowship.

The target size for the inaugural cohort is 12-15 fellows.

The admissions process will unfold in two phases. Phase one will entail completing an application that includes short written responses, a video prompt, resume, and two work samples. Applications are due on April 17, 2023 and will be reviewed by members of a committee comprised of Mandel Institute faculty and accomplished professionals in the cultural sector.

The committee will then select a group of finalists who will be invited to continue to phase two of the process. We will aim to notify finalists, as well as those who do not advance to phase two, by the beginning of June of 2023. Phase two will include an in-person interview, brief presentation, and submission of a reference form from a peer collaborator. We are in the process of finalizing details for the location of the interviews and the format of the presentations and peer reference form. The interviews will be scheduled for June 2023.

The committee will evaluate applicants based on the following criteria:

Creative Work & Aspirations:
  • Does the applicant have a demonstrated track record of innovative, forward-thinking, and bold artistic or cultural work?
  • Does their project express a clear vision for change?
  • For applicants not applying with a preexisting project, do they demonstrate a deep level of reflection about new creative directions the fellowship can enable?
  • Is this a pivotal moment in the applicant’s career or work, such that participation in the fellowship can serve as a catalyst for their artistic and leadership growth?
  • Do candidates demonstrate sensibilities that will contribute to a strong cross-boundary network, such as a collaborative spirit, curiosity, and empathy?
Fabric of the Cohort:
  • We are seeking to build a cohort that represents diverse positions and experiences within the cultural sector and Jewish communities, including disciplines, organizational settings, backgrounds, geographic locations, and levels of previous involvement in Jewish arts spaces. We believe forming a cohort that weaves together diverse art forms, creative processes, experiences, and perspectives will lead to richer dialogue, learning, and creative work.

This is our first admissions cycle for the Cultural Leadership program and we may learn things along the way that require us modify our process. For example, if we receive a very high volume of applications, we may add a semi-finalist round and request that candidates submit one additional written response. We will communicate regularly throughout the process and appreciate your flexibility and feedback as we learn how to best structure selection for the program.

With a large community of Mandel culture program graduates shaping the field, we believe that the following impact is possible:

  • Jewish life will be reimagined through innovative art and cultural production, creative community building, new practices and more.
  • Communities across North America will harness Jewish culture and creativity to generate solutions to shared challenges.
  • Organizations in the Jewish culture ecosystem will operate with greater collaborative capacity, mission impact and sustainability.

The program’s curriculum will be organized around three strands: leadership, imagination, and change:

  • The leadership strand will sharpen fellows’ visions for change and equip them with skills in cultural management and system leadership.
  • The imagination strand will deepen fellows’ creative wellsprings through Jewish text study, exploration of Jewish material culture and history, and inquiry into contemporary forms of Jewish creativity.
  • The change strand will include study of historical models of arts activism, training in cultural organizing and inquiry into social issues important to fellows and the communities they serve.

The purpose of the Israel seminar is to expose fellows to diverse forms of contemporary Jewish creativity and social change initiatives led by Jewish and Palestinian artists and producers. We believe this encounter will deepen fellows’ creative wellsprings, enable inquiry into powerful models of arts activism, and seed a global network of cultural leaders. The seminar will be designed with input from fellows and include presentations, site visits, and joint learning opportunities with fellows from the Mandel Program for Leadership in Jewish Culture, Mandel Program for Cultural Leadership in the Negev, as well as leaders of other innovative arts initiatives.

Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to learn more about this component of the program and the foundation’s cultural leadership programs in Jerusalem and the Negev.

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation does not have any policies or parameters in place that limit the social or political issues fellows can address through their work.

Fellows will receive a stipend of $20,000 per year of the fellowship, which will be paid in semi-annual installments over the course of the two years. The stipend will be made as a direct payment to each fellow and the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation will issue a Form 1099 to report the stipend to fellows and the IRS. The Foundation cannot provide tax advice, so please consult with your tax advisor on questions regarding the taxation of the stipend. Fellows will use the stipend to support their time in the fellowship’s educational program and independent work on a creative project. For fellows who are working full-time in cultural, media, or other non-profit institutions, the stipend may be used to scale back hours to invest time in the program and a project.

Currently, we are not accepting applications from teams or groups of collaborators. Collaborators may submit individual applications; however, their proposed projects or areas of inquiry should be distinct. We would love to learn about the artistic teams, collectives or groups of which you are a part. Please include this information in your application, where relevant.

In addition to the stipend, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation will cover travel and program expenses, except for ground transportation and meals during travel. 

Fellows who are nursing are offered Milk Stork to help them ship home their pumped milk home. This applies to seminars in the United States and Israel. Fellows will be given a private space to pump when needed. Fellows who have a newborn under 1 year old may bring their baby with them to the seminar regardless of location. Fellows are encouraged to bring a family member or other caregiver to take care of the newborn during the seminar. MINL will cover the cost of the flight to bring the caregiver, and the caregiver and infant will be invited to meals when no programming occurs.  If a fellow does not have a caregiver to bring to the seminar and must bring their baby, the fellow should find local childcare where the seminar takes place and is fully responsible for managing the childcare provider. MINL will reimburse the fellow up to $200 for each day of the seminar for the cost of childcare.

For finalists who are traveling to Boston for admissions interviews, Milk Stork is offered to ship pumped milk home. Finalists will be given a private space to pump when needed. If a finalist needs to bring an infant with them, the finalist will be responsible for ensuring childcare during their interview day.

Finalists who are unable to travel due to pregnancy or care of an infant will be offered the option of participating virtually.