December 22, 2014 · 30 Kislev

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Please read the following before beginning your registration.

The program will begin June 7 and will conclude July 19, 2015.

Application Deadline:
February 2, 2015. This includes all supporting material, letters of recommendation, resume, and essay.

The Machon Kaplan program is open to students currently enrolled in and attending college.  Prior to the start of the program, students must have completed one year of college.

There is no program fee:
The costs of the program are covered by generous donors and alumni of the program.

Participants will serve as campus ambassadors for the Religious Action Center on their University campus. During the 2015-16 academic year, participants help as a campus ambassador, write two blog posts for the RAC blog, help with future recruitment, and support the work of the RAC.

Provided by the program: three evening meals per week (Friday evening and two other evenings), program supervision, placement at an internship with the Religious Action Center or one of its partner organizations, and several DC experiences in which the group will participate as a whole.

Not provided by the program: meals (other than those specified), personal laundry, transportation to and within Washington, D.C., and incidental expenses not mentioned above.

Accommodations: Particpants have two options for summer housing. Participants can live in air-conditioned apartments on the campus of George Washington University (GW) in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The RAC is able to subsidize the housing and students will only be responsible for a $1,500 to cover a portion of the housing cost. Alternatively, particpants can secure their own housing through friends, relatives or one using these resources here.

Participants are responsible for a $500 deposit. Students staying at GW, the $500 deposit will serve as the first housing payment. Students securing their own housing will pay a $500 fully refundable deposit. for these students, the deposit will be returned upon their return home after successfully completing the program. If a participant withdraws from the program, they prevent another person from benefiting from the opportunity to participate in this program and their deposit will not be refunded.

Please mail a sealed copy of your current official academic transcript.  College freshman should wait to send a copy of their transcript at the end of the fall semester. Please send to Machon Kaplan, 2027 Massachusets Ave, NW Washington, DC 20036


Two references are required. They should be provided by someone (other than relatives) who knows you personally. One must be an academic reference such as a teacher or professor, and the other should be someone who has been involved with your Jewish growth and development. The form for References can be found here and should be submitted by the February 2nd deadline.

Once a participant is accepted into the program, he or she must confirm their participation with a $400 refundable deposit. The deposit is refundable upon return home after successfully completing the program.

Health Forms:
After acceptance into the program each member of the group will be asked to submit health forms signed by a physician indicating that he/she is in general good health and showing any limitations to activities. Each participant must be up to date with proper vaccines. Consult your physician concerning these and other immunizations. 

Participants must provide an accurate and full report of his/her past, current, and potential health problems, in order to protect him/her from unnecessary medical complications.  Proof of health insurance coverage is required for participation in the program.

History of the Program:
The Machon Kaplan program started 38 years ago. Machon is Hebrew for “program” or “institute,” and Kivie Kaplan served as a vice-Chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism and, for the last eight years of his life, the national president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Kivie and his wife, Emily, provided funds for the purchase of the building that houses the Religious Action Center. Kivie Kaplan was the embodiment of the spirit and idealism upon which the Religious Action Center was founded. Summer pariticiapnts are Kaplan fellows both the summer and follwoing academic year.

Program Sponsors:

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) has been the hub of Jewish social justice and legislative activity in the nation's capital for over 50 years. It has educated and mobilized the American Jewish community on legislative and social concerns as an advocate in the Congress of the United States on issues ranging from Israel and World Jewry, to economic justice and civil rights, to international peace and religious liberty.

The RAC is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), encompassing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in more than 900 congregations throughout North America. 

The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) is the institution of higher learning for Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR, with campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem, offers rabbinic ordination as well as advanced degrees in Judaic studies, Jewish education, Jewish Nonprofit management, and sacred music.

The Program receives generous funding from:
The Crown Family, Audre and Bernard Rapoport, the Gus and Barbara Kuhn Fund, the Bobroff family, the Oppenheim family, Almuni of the Machon Kaplan Program; and the Sisterhood of Central Synagogue, NY, NY

For More Information:

If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Michael Namath at 202.387.2800 or or visit

Once you begin your application you MUST fully complete the process.
It is not possible to save a partial registration and return to complete it at a later time.

In order to complete your application you will need the following information:

  • Your GPA
  • The date of your last class for the Spring 2015 semester
  • Names, addresses, and email address of 2 References (one must be a Jewish professional, the other should be an academic professional)
  • Your Resume
  • 2 Essay responses (500 words or fewer per answer) to the following questions:
    1. How have Judaism and social justice been important in your life?
    2. Explain how your experiences and your understanding of Jewish social justice relate to ONE of these quotes:
    a) "If you want to change the world, who do you begin with, yourself or others?" Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    b) Q: "When will then be now? A: Soon..." Spaceballs: The Movie
    c) Shammai taught: "Say little and do much" Pirkei Avot (1:15)


After you complete the online section of the application:

1. Request that an official transcript is mailed!
2. Contact your references and ask them to complete this form by the February 2nd deadline!

Machon Kaplan Fellowship Online Application

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