Overview

The Makom Fellowship Program provides outstanding training, mentorship, and peer support to emerging professionals who serve select small Jewish communities. We seek talented leaders to cultivate vibrant, inclusive Jewish life rooted in their community’s sense of place (makom).

The ideal fellow is an innovative and entrepreneurial rabbi, cantor, or executive director who completed professional training at an accredited institution within the past five years. Fellows must be eager to serve as the transformational leader of a participating community and excited to benefit from and contribute to our cohort-based learning experience.

Center for Small Town Jewish Life staff help lay leaders of organizations outside of major population centers recruit and select professionals to serve in Jewish leadership positions. The leaders they hire, if qualified and eager to benefit from the program, become Makom Fellows and receive three years of cohort-based training coupled with one-on-one mentoring. Fellows meet via Zoom on a weekly basis (excepting vacation periods) and gather in person twice a year. Lay leaders participate in Zoom-based training roughly three times a year during the fellowship period and attend the Maine Conference for Jewish Life each June alongside their professionals.

We train fellows to:

  1. Create engaging, financially sustainable Jewish communal activities and learn from their experiences to improve the quality and impact of subsequent activities.
  2. Foster inclusiveness by providing dignified access to Jewish communal activities regardless of socioeconomic status, racial identity, family composition, or other factors.
  3. Cultivate meaningful relationships with and among community members through communal activities and one-on-one engagement. 
  4. Empower community members to deepen and express their Jewishness by rooting it in their strong sense of place.

How to apply:

Only leaders hired by Makom Fellowship Program communities are eligible to become fellows. Candidates may apply to as many or as few Makom congregations as they wish (through their movement’s placement process when applying to a congregation within their own movement). See below for further information about these communities. 

Student

Prospective Makom Communities (2022-24)

Bangor, Maine:

Temple Beth El (Reform)

We are Congregation Beth El, located in Bangor, Maine. We are a welcoming community rooted in progressive Judaism, providing a sense of belonging and connection to Jewish practices, traditions, and culture. We are a hands-on congregation with passionate volunteers who work to bring a strong sense of Jewish community, spiritual experience, art, music, and learning to our synagogue. Our synagogue is just a block from downtown Bangor, providing easy access to local shops, businesses, restaurants, and endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors.  Be prepared to enjoy children’s laughter during a religious school hike or bundle up for our annual sunrise service at Acadia National Park. Life is slower in this part of the world. There is less stress with lower housing costs, low crime rates, strong public schools, and active government and civic organizations continuously working to improve Bangor. We are a community committed to the ideals of Tikkun Olam—working together to improve our community and the world around us.

Bennington, Vermont:

Congregation Beth El (Reconstructionist)

Congregation Beth El of Bennington, Vermont is a diverse and welcoming Jewish community, balancing traditional Jewish core strengths and values with a forward-looking vision that respects our ever-evolving culture. Based in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont, our community has been an anchor for Jewish life in the region for more than a century. Our congregation is a vibrant and tolerant group that includes artists, craftspeople, and activists of all types and ages, as well as many professionals and businesspeople. We are environmentally and socially aware and favor a relaxed and casual lifestyle. Here in southwestern Vermont we are fortunate to live amid great natural beauty across all seasons. We have been voted the best, safest, and healthiest state, and our educational system is superior. This is a good place to live, with wonderful outdoor activities and a strong arts culture. We are within driving distance of Albany, New York, and Boston. Our beloved synagogue has been home to generations of families since 1909. We have grown together, celebrated each other’s joys, and cried at each other’s sorrows. We are sustained by our shared interests, culture, faith, and history.

Bristol, Tennessee:

B’nai Sholom Congregation (Reform)

For over 110 years, B’nai Sholom has served the Jewish residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.  Located in the lower Blue Ridge mountains with the Smokies on the horizon, we pride ourselves on Southern hospitality and being a family of families regardless of what those families look like, traditional, non-traditional, interfaith, or intercultural. While we identify with the Reform movement, we also embrace ideas from other sects of Jewish observance to create a welcoming environment for the many levels of observance among our members. We recently worked through a visioning process renewing our commitment to being a vibrant leader in the area, both for our Jewish population and our overall community. We want to renew our commitment to Tikkun Olam through community involvement as an underpinning to our goals.
Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina:

Congregation Beth Israel (Conservative)

We are Congregation Beth Israel, serving the Greenville Jewish community for 100+ years. We embrace the idea of meeting people “where they are and who they are,” offering a safe and encouraging environment regardless of age, gender identity, socio-economic status, race, level of education, family structure, or interfaith union. We are here to meet the spiritual, social, cultural, and educational needs of modern Jews, while remaining true to the traditional roots of our faith. We practice a robust and authentic Judaism emphasizing music, food, spirit, Jewish ethics, education, and egalitarianism; respecting tradition but remaining open to new thoughts and ideas. We strive to provide for our congregational family at every stage of the Jewish lifecycle. We stand in solidarity with the State of Israel and the people of Israel. We are committed to the ideals of Tikkun Olam—working together to improve our community and the world around us.
Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii:

Temple Emanu-El (Reform)

Temple Emanu-El is a unique congregation in a unique environment. Located on Oahu, the most populous of the Hawaiian islands, Temple Emanu-El is the largest Jewish congregation in Hawaii. Life on Oahu includes many of the benefits of city life (the city and county of Honolulu’s population is almost one million) while also having a slower pace of life and access to incredible natural beauty and resources. A group of 35 Jewish families formed Temple Emanu-El 1938, and the congregation built its present sanctuary (the first synagogue built in Hawaii) in 1960. Temple Emanu-El’s congregation has a number of interfaith and multicultural families, and many of its practices and activities are influenced by the host Native Hawaiian culture and other Pacific Island and Asian communities. Aloha is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy; at Temple Emanu-El, we’ve added aloha to the treasured Jewish concept of shalom, to create our own greeting—shaloha. We strive to bring our warmest shaloha every time we enter or engage with our special Jewish place in Hawaii.