When Simone Abel of Rene Cassin and Rabbi Sid Schwartz of CLAL first ran into each other at Limmud, they had the sense that they might enjoy working together. But it wasn’t until the Siach Conference that they found the time to meet, get to know each other, sit down and start seriously discussing ideas for trans-Atlantic collaboration. The idea for the René Cassin Fellows Program (RCFP) was born out of that conversation.
RCFP will be a unique educational experience for Jews in their 20s and 30s from North America, Israel, Europe and the U.K. with an interest in social justice. The program will offer participants a year-long course on human rights, social justice and international relations which will be presented by experts in these fields. The program will culminate in a two-week educational trip to visit courts, legal systems and human rights organizations in Strasbourg, the Hague, New York, Washington DC and Jerusalem, where participants will have the opportunity to meet their cohorts from other regions of the world and to visit key international social justice and Jewish institutions.
The RCFP would capitalize on the large number of Jews who are pursuing careers in the fields of law, politics, international relations, social justice and human rights and create a context in which they can study such issues with Jewish counterparts from across the world through a Jewish lens. Even at this early date, the organizers say they are already learning from the challenges and delights of cross-cultural, trans-Atlantic interaction! The timing for the launch of this project will be determined in part by how quickly that can form funding partnerships. Sid and Simone would be interested to hear from anyone in the Siach community who could share ideas in that regard.