Rachel Harris, recent Georgetown University graduate majoring in Government, Women & Gender Studies and Brawerman Fellowship* recipient, shares the impact of the Brawerman Fellowship and how she plans to put her leadership experience to use in the Jewish community.
My most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship has been the countless learning encounters with my peers. With each retreat and each Fellowship check-in, I gain so many insights and so much perspective from those around me. Of course, the speakers we had at the retreat are all so engaging, but what truly has lasted with me is the extremely inquisitive and passionate nature of my peers fostered by our sessions on leadership, professional aspirations, and Jewish values.
I could not imagine my college experience without the Brawerman Fellowship. Attending college at a Catholic university across the country meant immediate isolation for me in various regards. Whenever I felt homesick, needed Jewish community in the area, or even just wanted to share pictures of my Rosh Hashanah brisket, the Brawerman Fellows were there. It is really a unique experience to have such a tight-knit community and consistent support dispersed across the country. Knowing that I had this close network just a WhatsApp message away really helped me during my time at Georgetown.
More than anything, the Fellowship has taught me how to be a Jewish leader in non-Jewish spaces. It was great to have the Fellows always virtually there with me, but more than anything, the constant support, encouragement, and various learning experiences allowed me to enact tikkun olam on my Catholic campus and grow with those around me. I am forever indebted to Geri Brawerman, The Jewish Federation, Orly Frank, and my brilliant peers for providing me with the resources to propel myself into my post-collegiate life as a confident, perceptive, and community-minded Jewish leader. Thank you for everything.
*Through the Brawerman Fellowship, our Federation develops and sustains a talent pool of Jewish young leaders for our community in perpetuity. The Fellowship provides an annual $10,000 college scholarship — a total of $40,000 over four years — and participation in a larger program that builds leadership skills and further strengthens Fellows’ connection to Jewish life through retreats, a trip to Israel, and other overseas opportunities.