Tisch Summer Fellows: Israel
Tisch College is excited to offer a unique Tisch Summer Fellows (TSF) experience in Israel, where students will be able to spend their summer working at The Beit Ruth Village, a therapeutic residence and school that serves vulnerable and at-risk girls. Modeled on our TSF programs in Greater Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and India, TSF: Israel will provide Tufts students with a full-time social impact placement as well as programmatic elements and support from a dedicated staff member.
The TSF: Israel fellowship will run from early June to mid-August for 9 weeks. Two Tufts students will be selected for this experience. Each fellow will each receive a $4,000 stipend and Tisch College will purchase roundtrip airfare. Accommodations and meals will be provided in the Beit Ruth Village.
The program aims to balance student learning with organizational capacity-building, fostering individual growth and strengthening cultural humility and global citizenship. The fellowship is open to undergraduate or graduate students from any Tufts school and any field of study. Activities beyond the required service can be tailored to a Fellow’s skills and background. This is an extraordinary opportunity for students to work alongside the staff at a vital community organization, have an impact on the lives of young women, and enhance their global outlook and experience.
About Beit Ruth Village
The Beit Ruth Educational & Therapeutic Village is an innovative, long-term therapeutic residence and school for vulnerable and at-risk girls aged 13-18 who have been removed from their family homes as a result of severe neglect and/or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. The Village, located in Afula, Israel (approximately 75 minutes from Tel Aviv), provides a safe and loving home, intensive education, and a diverse range of therapeutic and enrichment programming to help girls heal from their trauma, get an education, and emerge as healthy and empowered young women. Beit Ruth is non-denominational, serving girls of various religious traditions, faiths and backgrounds. It provides them with the opportunity to thrive emotionally, socially, and academically, thereby breaking the cycle of violence for themselves and allowing them to be role models for other women.
Fellowship Description and Work Environment
The two Tisch Summer Fellows will be a part of the Village staff, living among the girls and working closely with other employees. Both Fellows will be assisting the managing director, program director, teachers, and/or counselors, and will be working directly with the girls. Each Fellow will also have specific responsibilities, depending on their strengths and interests, in order to help meet the organization's needs. Students can take on one—or a combination—of these roles:
ESL Fellow - One of the most pressing needs at Beit Ruth is English-language instruction. Tufts students may assist in structuring, designing, and teaching an English-as-a-second-language program. alongside Beit Ruth's academic staff. English is taught as a formal program and also used during everyday activities, such as dog therapy or a music program. Fellows may also lead the girls in producing positive messaging in English about a variety of issues, such as racism, violence, and democracy.
Communications Fellow - This Fellow would work closely with Beit Ruth's New York office updating existing written materials, writing for newsletters and briefs, and drafting grant reports. A student who wants to take on this role should have strong written and verbal communication skills.
Enrichment Fellow - Fellows may assist in organizing and leading day-to-day afterschool/summer activities and enrichment programs in the Village, including cooking, sports, music, art, animal (equine and canine) therapy, and other extracurriculars. Each activity should be designed to encourage and develop the girls’skills and abilities, including leadership, listening, self-esteem, teamwork, and communications, as well as trust in themselves and in others. As Fellows build relationships with the girls, they will also become positive role models and even mentors, a key part of Beit Ruth’s methodology.
Marketing/Visual Arts Fellow - A student with strong artistic and communication skills may take on this role, which would include working on social media, taking Village photographs and video, creating written and visual content, and leading workshops in related skills (e.g., photogaphy). Photography and videography skills are ideal for this position.
Health & Wellness Fellow - This Fellow will help create programming designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle, which is a key component of Beit Ruth’s holistic philosophy and approach. Any students with a background in nutrition, mindfulness, yoga, sports, or other positive lifestyle programs would be a good fit.
Additional possibilities - With the approval of and in collaboration with Village staff, students could be instrumental in helping to create new programming, such as:
- Practical engineering projects
- Various sports activities
- Additional art or music projects in English
As part of their regular activities, Fellows will be immersed in the day-to-day routine of the Village, spending time eating with the girls, getting to know the environment in which they live (Fellows will be assigned to a particular house), and participating in daily activities. This also includes participation in educational field trips that help girls gain an understanding of themselves and gain a connection to Israel and the world around them.
Fellows will be supervised by Iris Twerski, Managing Director responsible for managing all of Beit Ruth’s activities, including creating partnerships and collaborations, funding, and operations; and by Ronit Lev-Ari, Program Director.
Beit Ruth aims to create a fellowship experience that will last beyond the students’ time in the Village. Fellows will have daily contact with the Village Manager and Program Director as well as regular contact with other team members. This contact is intended as two-way communication that allows Fellows to learn about the Village and at-risk girls in Israel, while also giving them opportunities to share ideas and to be creative during their work.
Fellows will share a bedroom in the two-bedroom guest apartment located on the campus. The room is attached to the apartment of the “Shinshinyot,” young women who are doing their volunteer national service at Beit Ruth. Fellows will have the opportunity to spend time with them outside of the daily Village activities. The second bedroom in the apartment is reserved for graduates of Beit Ruth who may be visiting.
The Fellows will eat with the girls in the dining halls. Three meals a day are provided seven days per week.
The weekend in Israel is Friday and Saturday. Fellows will have free time, but if they choose to leave the Village they will be responsible for any expenses.
This Fellowship is not for the faint of heart. It requires grit, resilience, and openness to being immersed in a challenging environment. Compassion is a must, and patience and flexibility are essential. Demonstrated leadership (for example, in youth groups of after-school clubs, or other social activities), trust, flexibility, respect, emotional resiliency, sensitivity, optimism, a belief in change, and humor are all desired skills.
Experience with working with at-risk populations is a plus; knowledge of girls’ and women’s issues; interest in psychology; familiarity with and/or interest in the culture of Israel; and ability to cope with unexpected situations will also help a student succeed at this fellowhip.
Fluency in Hebrew is a plus, and at least basic Hebrew is preferred, but not required. Students must be willing to assist with English-as-a-second-language (ESL) classes, and Tisch College will be offering a mandatory ESL education training session for Fellows.
Skills and Experience Fellows Will Acquire
- Leadership skills
- Working across Israel’s diversity and cultures
- Understanding of the depth of services and approaches to address and overcome trauma
The Beit Ruth Educational and Therapeutic Village is a full-time residential community and school that provides personalized, educational, and therapeutic programs for girls, aged 13-18, who have been removed from their homes as a result of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. The mission of the Village is to ensure that vulnerable and at-risk girls are given the opportunity to thrive emotionally, socially, and academically, thereby breaking the cycle of violence for themselves and next generations. The work to heal and transform the lives of these girls involves creating a safe, structured, and loving environment that provides them with the support, hope, and opportunity for a better and brighter future. At Beit Ruth, these young girls can heal from their traumas and gain the academic, emotional, and social skills and resources every young person needs to succeed in the world.
Prior to applying for this fellowship, Tisch College and Beit Ruth ask that you consider this mission and the nature of the work. You will be a part of the daily life of the village and regularly engaged with girls who have survived trauma, physical and sexual abuse, and/or neglect. We understand this can be triggering for many people. Please reflect on your own history, self-care practices, coping skills and ability to create appropriate boundaries, and consider if you believe yourself able to provide for your own well-being while serving as a staff member in the ways described above. We hope that taking the time to reflect on this will allow you to consider your own best interests and those of the girls, either stepping back or being even more inspired to apply.
To apply for a TSF: Israel Fellowship, please complete the online application accessible at the top of this page. The application asks for basic student information and prompts you to answer short essay questions (all listed below) about your interest in the position, the skills and experiences you would bring to the work, and what you hope to gain from the experience. In addition, students will be asked to submit the following documents to TSFApplications@tufts.edu with their full name and TSF: Israel in the subject line:
- Current resume
- Tailored cover letter
- Unofficial transcript
- Letter of recommendation from a faculty/staff member or job supervisor. The recommender does not need to be associated with Tufts University but should be able to speak to your competencies and character.
Essay Questions for TSF Israel Application (300-500 words each)
- Please describe your reasons for applying for this fellowship at the Beit Ruth Educational and Therapeutic Village. Please address the mission to “ensure that vulnerable and at-risk girls are given the opportunity to thrive emotionally, socially and academically, thereby breaking the cycle of violence for themselves and future generations of children in Israel."
- What strengths, qualities, and experiences do you bring to the potential roles that have been described for this position? Please include ESL, since that will be a definite responsibility of both Fellows. Please detail any and all of the potential responsibilities you believe you are qualified to fulfill.
- This fellowship will entail being a part of the Beit Ruth community, with regular interaction with the girls in residence in the Village who have experienced severe trauma, including domestic and/or sexual violence. Please describe any strategies you have used (or can envision) for coping and taking care of yourself while addressing the needs of a highly vulnerable population.
- Living at the village in a shared living accommodation with other volunteers is a part of this fellowship. Please describe any experience you have living in group accommodations; living in a developing country, and working across cultural differences.
- What do you hope to gain and/or learn from this experience?
The Tisch Summer Fellows: Israel program is open to all Tufts undergraduate and graduate students. Fellows are selected based on their application materials, professional demeanor throughout the application process, recommendation letter, and a placement interview. Other eligibility details:
- Current Tufts students from all schools and majors are eligible to apply. Graduating students are not eligible.
- Female applicants only, please.
- Applicants currently studying abroad may apply and, if selected to move forward, will schedule WebEx interviews with Tisch staff and the fellowship organization supervisor at the appropriate time during the process.
- If you are an undocumented or DACA student who wishes to apply, please consult with Dean Mack regarding the Tisch Summer Fellows opportunities.
- Exchange students are, unfortunately, not eligible to apply for TSF.
- Accepted students must register their trip and be approved by the Tufts International Safety Office.
- Israel Applications are due at the end of the day on March 24. All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be in by the deadline—plan ahead and apply early!
- All applicants will be notified of next steps by late March
- First round interviews with Tisch College Staff will take place in late March/early April
- Finalists will interview with Beit Ruth staff via WebEx by early April
- Mandatory on-campus orientation will take place in late April (date to be announced soon)
- Fellowships begin in June (date TBD)
For more information, please contact Mindy Nierenberg, Senior Director of Tisch College Programs, at Mindy.Nierenberg@tufts.edu.