Faces of Federation

My Brawerman Experience

I cannot truly express how The Jewish Federation’s Brawerman Fellowship has impacted my life. From the beginning, the Brawerman Fellowship has allowed me to attend the college of my dreams and focus on my studies and activities that will one day lead me to become a Neonatologist.

I am a Junior double majoring in Biochemistry and Public Health Studies at Roanoke College. Since my freshman year, I have been able to dedicate over 1,000 volunteer hours as an Emergency Medical Technician at the Salem Rescue Squad. As a Research Fellow working alongside a Biology professor on campus, I conduct experiments on Zebrafish, as they act as a stand-in for understanding the potential dangers that environmental toxins have on humans. I have also recently joined another lab group that conducts Public Health research in the communities around our school and focuses on the health of elementary school-aged children as a predictor for adult health and life expectancy.

Because of the Brawerman Fellowship’s generosity, this past summer I spent two months in India volunteering with a JDC-Entwine partner NGO, Gabriel Project Mumbai, teaching English to young children in both an urban slum as well as a rural village. Not only does the NGO provide access to enhanced education, but also it provides food to their students, jobs to women in the regions they are serving, and much-needed medical care. Because of my experiences in India this summer, I now plan to not only pursue a medical degree, but also a Master’s in Public Health.

In addition to connecting with the students I was so fortunate to teach, I also explored the wonderful Jewish communities in India. I celebrated Shabbat with my fellow volunteers at the Chabad in Colaba and reflected on the horrific terrorist attack that not only affected the Jewish community but the city of Mumbai as a whole, and I visited the historic Jewish temples along the coast of Maharashtra, learning about the origins of Jews in India. When I ventured up to Delhi to do some independent travel after the program was over, the Chabad in New Delhi became my hub; I connected with many Israelis and even planned out my future trips to India based on their recommendations.

The Brawerman Fellowship has allowed me to travel to India and dive deeper into my passions but has also had a profound impact on my life as an American Jew. As someone who attended Jewish day school and was constantly surrounded by a Jewish community, the idea of attending a college in southwest Virginia was a little daunting. The other Fellows act as my satellite community while I am away, and our semester retreats have allowed me to reflect on my experiences in college and reconnect with my Jewish roots. I am so fortunate to be a part of this incredible fellowship. I am so thankful for the opportunities it has given me and how those opportunities have impacted my plans for the future.

Zoe Krut is currently a Junior at Roanoke College in Virginia.

Through the Brawerman Fellowship, The Jewish 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.

Each year, The Jewish Federation selects high school seniors who demonstrate academic strength, financial need, and a deep commitment to leadership, community service, and Jewish engagement to become Brawerman Fellows. Applications are now open and due on February 19, 2019. Visit www.JewishLA.org/Brawerman to apply. To learn more about the Brawerman Fellowship, email Brawerman@JewishLA.org.