JewishGen 2020 Future Scholars Fellowship Program

The 2020 JewishGen Future Scholars Fellowship application is now available

Important Update: Due to COVID-19, we have unfortunately cancelled the program for this year. We are looking forward to coordinating this meaningful program again next year (2021).If you have any questions, please email: 

About the  JewishGen Future Scholars Fellowship is pleased to invite applications for its second annual JewishGen Future Scholars Fellowship program to take place from July 14, 2020 – July 23, 2020. Graduate students, along with third and fourth-year undergraduate students, are invited to apply.

This immersive program, created in partnership with The Matzevah Foundation, and the Friends of Jewish Heritage in Poland, focuses on the role of Jewish cemeteries today in preserving the memory and legacy of former Jewish communities. Participants will help clean-up a cemetery, learn about symbols on tombstones, the general state of Jewish cemeteries in Poland after the Holocaust, efforts to preserve them from both a communal, political, and Halachik perspective,  and what lessons can be gleaned to inform our own life choices today. 

On this 10-day journey, participants will tour many Jewish heritage sites including Warsaw and Lublin, Visit Majdanek, spend an inspirational Shabbat in Krakow, visit Auschwitz/Birkenau, and then travel to Przysucha, Poland, where the group will participate in the clean-up and preservation of the Jewish cemetery in partnership with local residents. 

The trip will be led by highly experienced staff, and participants will have an opportunity to learn from rabbis, scholars, dignitaries, and community leaders, who will offer first-hand insights regarding the imperative (and challenges) of cleaning-up cemeteries in accordance with Jewish law. They will address how local Polish communities view Jewish cemeteries in their towns, the need to preserve Jewish memory, and more. 

Upon returning home, each Fellow will write an essay reflecting on his or her experience. These essays will be made available on the JewishGen website.

This program is nearly fully subsidized, save for a $350 non-refundable registration fee. All other expenses will be completely covered by (including r/t travel from NY, transportation in Poland, meals, lodging, materials, etc). Dietary laws will be observed. 

To apply for the 2020 program, please visit by February 28, 2020 

How to apply

The application period has been extended to April 1, 2020. If you have questions or concerns, please email program is nearly fully subsidized, save for a $350 fee. All other expenses will be completely covered by (including r/t travel from NY, transportation in Poland, meals, lodging, materials, etc). Dietary laws will be observed. If participants do not wish to partake in travel arrangements to/from NYC, please contact upon applying to see if an accommodation can be made.To get started, please click the “Apply” button below. (Please note that you need to be logged into your gmail account to complete this form).

2020 Trip Itinerary & Syllabus Tuesday, July 14 – Thursday, July 23, 2020

  • Tuesday, July 14 – NYC

    • Tour of Museum of Jewish Heritage NYC, including the “Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away” exhibit.
    • Orientation: Avraham Groll
    • Dinner at the Museum
    • Fly from JFK to Warsaw
  • Wednesday, July 15 – Warsaw

    • Arrive in Warsaw
    • Walking Tour of Jewish Warsaw and Okopowa Cemetery
    • Evening session at the Nozyk Synagogue with Guest Speaker
  • Thursday, July 16 – Warsaw/Lublin

    • Tour POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
    • Departure for Lublin via coach bus. 
    • Evening Session with Teresa Klimowitz: Polish Care of Jewish Historical Sites
    • Optional: Old City of Lublin Night life
  • Friday, July 17 – Lublin /Kraków

    • Tour Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin Synagogue and Museum
    • Visit to Majdanek 
    • Coach bus to Kraków
    • Optional visit to Old City, Kraków
      Shabbat Dinner at Kraków JCC
  • Shabbat/Saturday, July 18 – Kraków

    • Optional Morning Services at the Izak Synagogue (optional)
    • Meet with Kraków Jewish community official
    • Walking tour of Kazimierz (Jewish) District Kraków
    • Free time (Optional walk to and from Old Town Kraków)
    • Evening session with Steven Reece, Avraham Groll and Dan Oren:
    • Getting to know each other
      Why did you apply for this fellowship, and what are your expectations?
  • Sunday, July 19 – Kraków/Auschwitz-Birkenau/Oświęcim/Przysucha

    • Departure for Auschwitz-Birkenau
    • Tour Oświeçim Jewish Center, Pl. Ks. J. Skarbka 5, Oświęcim
    • Departure for the town of Przysucha
    • Evening meet and greet session with Radek Ptaszynski and Polish University students
  • Monday, July 20 – Przysucha area

    • Orientation to Jewish cemeteries from Alek Schwartz, representative of the Chief Rabbinate of Poland
    • Przysucha Jewish Cemetery work
    • Walk to Przysucha synagogue
    • Debrief with Steven Reece, Radek Ptaszynski What did you experience on your first day in the cemetery?
    • Fellows: Evening Session with Dan Oren: Deciphering Tombstones
  • Tuesday, July 21 – Przysucha area

    • Przysucha Jewish Cemetery work
    • Debrief: What did you experience on your first day in the cemetery?
    • Fellows: Evening Session with Avraham Groll: The History of Jews and Przysucha
  • Wednesday, July 22 (1 Av)– Przysucha

    • Przysucha Jewish Cemetery work
    • Fellows: Evening Session with Avraham Groll:
         Legacy & Memory: Practical applications of Jewish Genealogy
    • Fellows’ debrief with Steven Reece, Dan Oren, and Avraham Groll
    • All group debrief with Radek Ptaszynski, Steven Reece, Dan Oren, and Avraham Groll
  • Thursday, July 23 – Przysucha/Warsaw/New York

    • Departure for Warsaw via coach bus
    • Arrive at Chopin Airport, Warsaw
    • Fly from Warsaw to JFK
    • Arrive at JFK Airport, New York


AVRAHAM GROLL | Executive Director,

Avraham Groll, Executive Director of, is passionate about connecting people with their Jewish roots, and helping them experience what it means to be part of the Jewish people.
He holds an MBA from Montclair State University, an MA in Judaic Studies from Touro College, a certificate in Jewish Executive Leadership from Columbia University, and a BS in Business Administration from Ramapo College. Avraham spent two years studying at Yeshiva Ohr Yerushalayim in Israel and is a frequent lecturer on a variety of Jewish genealogical and historical topics.
He is married to Dina, and has four children.

DR. DAN OREN | President, Friends of Jewish Heritage in Poland

Dan A. Oren, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry (adjunct) at Yale University has worked for thirty years as a psychiatrist and faculty member at Yale and has been Visiting Professor of Physiology at the University of Rzeszów, Poland. Oren is author of the new book on Jewish genealogy and family history “The Wedding Photo". He is author or co-author of numerous scientific articles. He is married to artist Jeanette Kuvin Oren, and has two children and one grandchild. He has been tracing his genealogy for more than forty years and has led multiple groups in Poland.

DR. STEVEN REECE | Founder & CEO, The Matzevah Foundation

Steven D. Reece worked as a photojournalist before entering religious and charitable work.
He leads The Matzevah Foundation to care for and restore Jewish cemeteries in Poland, commemorate mass grave sites, and educate the public about the Holocaust.
Steven is an ordained Baptist minister and is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Steven is certified to teach about the Holocaust through Yad Vashem and Tel Aviv University. He received his Ph.D. in Leadership from Andrews University in 2019.

Read About the Experiences of Past Fellows