Maven: a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. The word maven comes from the Hebrew, via Yiddish, and means one who understands, based on an accumulation of knowledge.
This venture is an expansion of our current pilot program which features a solo ‘Maven’ Intern working on three campuses. The project aims to place informal Jewish peer educators on university campuses with Jewish populations comprised largely of Toronto natives. Each Maven will be hired to work on the campus where he or she currently studies with the primary objectives of lending accessible Jewish content and depth to initiatives already existing on campus (such as Shabbat dinners, Birthright reunions, or tzedek projects), building relationships with unengaged Jewish students, and creating both formal and informal learning opportunities. Qualities we are seeking in interns are: a strong Jewish background, past participation in Jewish youth programming, gap year, yeshiva or as a camp counselor, ability to have in-depth conversations, emotional maturity, without a prior formal leadership role within the Jewish campus community, and able to attend a national training. When students complete their internship they will have gained and honed new skills in many areas, including teaching, communication, working with peers, strategy, marketing, and networking. They will also be well-trained informal Jewish educators.
The iLEAD Community Fellowship is an innovative approach to cultivating leadership and community building amongst graduate students and young professionals in their twenties and early thirties. Fifteen participants will be carefully selected to represent diverse networks and affiliations within the Toronto Jewish community; specifically, the program targets young adults in the Israeli, Russian and "unaffiliated" demographics. iLEAD consists of three components. Firstly, participants will attend several leadership development workshops that will enhance their communication, presentation and community organizing skills. Secondly, participants will experience a ten day leadership program in Israel where they will see how young people are re-shaping Israel's business, technological and socio-economic landscape as well how UJA Federation projects are making an impact. Lastly, upon their return, participants will be responsible for engaging their own peer networks through one on one meetings and creating their own impact projects. By engaging their own networks, participants will not only get to put their valuable leadership skills into practice, but will also multiply the numbers of young adults connecting with the Jewish community. Participants will also be exposed to the structure of the organized community and Federation, fostering greater awareness and developing future leadership.