Yaffed is a non-profit organization advocating for improved standards of secular education in New York’s Jewish ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) schools.
While the lack of secular education in Hasidic Yeshivas may seem a niche issue or contained to a small corner of the Jewish community, that is not the case. The Hasidic community is the fastest growing Jewish (and non-Jewish) community in New York. Already approximately 60% of children born to Jewish families in New York are ultra-Orthodox, the majority of them Hasidic. In just a few short years, the Hasidic community will be the face of the Jewish people in New York and beyond. And it is a civil rights violation of epic proportions for such a large segment of New York’s school children.
This monumental deprivation of a basic secular education must be a state-wide concern; one that we believe college students specifically could strongly amplify. With this in mind, Yaffed developed the Right to Learn Fellowship, a program designed to give college students hands-on experience with Yaffed’s work of advocating for substantial equivalency in ultra-Orthodox yeshivas.
Right to Learn Fellows will have the unique opportunity to be immersed in the workings of a social justice organization, contribute to our day-to-day strategic activities, and act as ambassadors on their respective campuses. Responsibilities will include: attending workshops and events, engaging in advocacy with elected officials by writing letters and conducting meetings, and attending at least one press conference or rally. To raise awareness of our issue amongst peers, Fellows will host two on-campus events, sign up a minimum of 15 peers to Yaffed’s newsletter, and use social media to amplify Yaffed’s message and promote updates and events.
As Yaffed’s work revolves around change in New York-based yeshivas, qualified Fellowship candidates are junior and senior undergraduate or graduate college students in New York State. Candidates should demonstrate an interest in Jewish communal service and dedication to Yaffed’s mission, possess excellent oral and written communication skills, and have a strong social media presence. In gratitude for their work, each Fellow will receive a $500 stipend. Interested candidates should apply here by October 12th.
Applicants do not need to have any personal connection or affiliation with Haredi Judasim to participate in the Fellowship program, but should possess a genuine commitment to educational equality and to helping to make a meaningful difference within the lives of ultra-Orthodox schoolchildren.
The ultimate goal of the Fellowship is to spread awareness of our issue, beyond our pool of vocal former yeshiva attendees. We look forward to establishing meaningful partnerships with passionate young advocates, where Yaffed will serve as an entryway to their social justice pursuits, and where they in turn will lend their distinctive voice to our initiatives.