The Meyer-Gottesman Kol Koleinu Teen Feminist Fellowship is a distinctive opportunity for young Jewish feminists (rising 9th through 12th graders) to build intergenerational and peer-to-peer relationships, to learn how to effectively speak their minds and build their activism toolbox to create change in their community.
Offered in collaboration with NFTY and with support from USY, this year-long fellowship invites young Jewish women, trans teens, and non-binary teens to learn how to apply a Jewish feminist lens to the world, ask powerful questions, deepen their knowledge about social change, and amplify their voices to share their beliefs and express a call to action. Finally, Fellows hone their skills by creating a tangible Capstone project.
During the year, Fellows will meet monthly through virtual cohort meetings where participants learn from and teach one another in a supportive Jewish feminist community. Also online, Fellows will meet their Capstone mentors and work on Capstone projects. We will also get together twice in-person, at the start of the program year and at the end, to build community, learn together and celebrate ourselves.
Become a Kol Koleinu Fellow
The 2024-2025 application will be open March 10 through April 21, 2024. Sign up to be notified when the application is available.
“This program gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing young people and showed me how my perspectives on Judaism and feminism can help me make the world a better place.”
– Kol Koleinu alum
Throughout the Kol Koleinu fellowship, participants will teach, learn, connect, and create. The fellowship experience includes:
1. Peer-Teaching: Raise Your Voice
One of the wonderful parts of constructing a Jewish feminist community is finding ways for each community member to take on leadership and share their voices. Your peer-teaching, known as Raise your Voice, will help you sharpen your skills of research, public speaking, and facilitation around a specific feminist and Jewish topic that is meaningful to you. You will share a Jewish feminist approach to a changemaking topic, writing and delivering a feminist d’var torah or researching and presenting on a Jewish feminist individual or organization. The peer teaching element of the fellowship helps fellows experience facilitation and public speaking as an activism strategy and increase their knowledge about intersectional feminism.
Examples of potential peer-teaching topics include: Fast fashion, famous Jewish activist actresses, body image, gender and equity in sports, Jewish Tiktok influencers, and reproductive justice.
2. Immersive Community Building
Kol Koleinu’s cohorts will meet each month online and Teen Leaders (2nd year Fellows) will lead an additional monthly community-building call. These calls will lead up to a 3-day full program in-person retreat in November. At the retreat, we will build community; explore Jewish, feminist and activist tools together; and dive deep into change-making Capstone project types and topics. In the spring, we will close the program at a 3-day in-person regional retreat by cohort where we will celebrate the successes of the year and talk about what we’ll take with us.
On our virtual gatherings, in separate regional cohorts, facilitators will model what virtual teaching can look like for our fellows before they develop their own peer-taught Raise Your Voice sessions.
3. Creating a change-making Capstone project
Kol Koleinu fellows will practice their activism skills by creating a changemaking Capstone project that will bring their learning, passions, and leadership to their local community and beyond.
Fellows will work together in pairs with a hand-selected Mentor who will guide and support the development of their changemaking project as well supporting the Fellows’ own growth as leaders and activists in their communities.
Through the Capstone project process, Fellows will experience the power of working with others, learn successful changemaking skills, and gain valuable experience in the various kinds of leadership necessary for different phases of a campaign or project.
Examples of potential projects include: Organizing a STEM for women group in school, creating art classes for children of immigrants while parents are in ESL class, joining an already established club to make change, creating a feminist zine, and creating a toolkit for teachers to support LGBTQ+ students.
Kol Koleinu Teen Leader Program (for Fellows interested in a 2nd year of Kol Koleinu)
Teen Leaders have ownership and responsibility for community-building in their cohort. This includes guiding a subset of their cohort (a mishpacha, or “family” in Hebrew), opportunities to teach a piece of monthly gatherings, convene once a month cohort bonding evenings, develop parts of the in-person retreats, and more.**
Teen Leaders will develop core skills by learning from experts in the field of feminism and activism and taking on leadership roles in their cohort. And, of course, they will be proud to put this program on their college applications and resumes.
Teen Leaders are not expected to create a Capstone project, but instead will support their mishpacha throughout the Capstone process. They will support fellows as they explore their passion project, decide on the type of project they will create, and work with their mentor to launch their project.
** Leadership looks different for everyone: some folks are comfortable being forward-facing, and others prefer a behind-the-scenes role. Together with the Kol Koleinu Director, the other Teen Leaders and your cohort leader, you will practice your leadership preference, which may change over the course of the year.
“My Kol Koleinu project really gave me the skills and confidence to continue my activism work. Right now, I am in the midst of working on a presentation on transgender inclusion in feminist spaces for my college, and I find myself building off the things I learned from my time [in Kol Koleinu].”– Kol Koleinu alum
Kol Koleinu: All Our Voices (pronounced like “coal coal-ay-nu”)
The name Kol Koleinu was created as way to signal a feminism that is gender inclusive and a vision of a community that truly elevates and celebrates all voices. In many Jewish communities in the past, and in some still today, the voices of women and sexual and gender minorities have been quieted, silenced and/or sexualized.
This program envisions a community where all voices are heard and taken seriously, and where teens work together or side by side to make change in our lives and in the world.
Teens from all streams of Judaism are welcome and encouraged to participate.
Your gift to Moving Traditions emboldens Jewish youth to thrive through the pursuit of personal wellbeing (shleimut), caring relationships (hesed), and a Jewish and feminist vision of equity and justice (tzedek).