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Machon Kaplan: How to Apply

Important Information to Knew before You Apply 

General information about the Machon Kaplan Program can be found here.

The program will take place summer 2019.

Application Deadline:
February 1, 2019. 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 are also expected to serve as campus ambassadors for the Religious Action Center on their university campus during the 2018-19 academic year.  As a campus ambassador students will write two blog posts for the RAC blog, help with future recruitment, and support the work of the RAC.  In addition, there will be monthly check-ins to provide participants with mentoring and learning opportunities to support continued leadership development.

Provided by the program: 
Some evening meals each week (Friday evening and one other evening), 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. Housing is not provided, there are however several options.

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

Once accepted, participants are responsible for a $500 deposit. For students staying at GW, the $500 deposit will serve as the first housing payment. Students securing their own housing will provide a $500 fully refundable deposit. 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 the opportunity to participate and their deposit will not be refunded.

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 1st deadline.

Please mail a copy of your current 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.

Once a participant is accepted into the program, he or she must confirm their participation with a $500 refundable deposit. The deposit is refundable upon return home after successfully completing the program.
If you withdraw from the program, you prevent another person from the opportunity to participate in this program and your deposit will not be refunded

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 40 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 and cantorial ordination as well as advanced degrees in Judaic studies, Jewish education, Jewish Nonprofit management, and sacred music.

The Program receives generous funding from:
 Audre and Bernard Rapoport, the Gus and Barbara Kuhn Fund, the Bobroff family, the Oppenheim family, and Almuni of the Machon Kaplan Program. 

For More Information:
If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Michael Namath at 202.387.2800 or mnamath@rac.org or visit www.rac.org/mk

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 2018 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) It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. - Albus Dumbledore
      • c) Shammai taught: Say little and do much Pirkei Avot (1:15)
  • Select your top 5 public policy interest areas. Your internship in Washington, DC, will be based on your responses.

After you complete the online section of the application:

1. Request that a transcript is mailed!

2. Contact your references and ask them to complete this form by the February 1st deadline!

Machon Kaplan Fellowship Online Application