Are you the next ELI Speaker?



As Jews, we come from the tradition of Oral Torah. ELI's Speaker Fellowship is our hallmark program which aims to elevate the Jewish story tellers, tradition makers, and paradigm shifters of our generation who are continuing to be transmitters of Jewish tradition.

Each ELI speaker fellow commits to 3-4 hours per week over the course of twelve weeks. Through ELI’s unique coaching process, ELI fellows are partnered with talented coaches and each other to learn Jewish text, storytelling, and stage presence skills to help them refine their idea, Jewishly source that idea, and compellingly deliver their talk unaided on a stage in front of a live studio audience. ELI uses the latest in technology to film, stream, and edit these events into individual talks. These talks are designed to be easily shared on social media platforms, presented in schools and educational curricula, and used by organizations, making these inspired Jewish ideas accessible to more people in more places than ever before. Each speaker receives $8,000 worth of resources and professional development coaching over the 6-month fellowship ranging from idea development and public speaking to text and social media skills. In the end, each speaker has a professionally filmed, edited, and promoted video to showcase their skills (along with those warm and fuzzy feelings caused by success and comradery).
Is this speaker fellowship for everyone? While the speaker fellowship is open to the full spectrum of the Jewish experience, like most organizations, we aim to make the most impact possible with our work. This isn't the place to give your stump speech or advertise your organization. If your speaker routine is pretty fixed, this is a great chance to try something new or refer an up-and-coming colleague who--with a little honing--is about to explode onto the scene. Finally, ELI prioritizes first-person Torah. What does this mean? Your story isn't about someone else; it is about real, unique, lived experiences that have created a sensitivity in you that we could all learn and benefit from.
What makes an inspired Jewish idea at ELI? Here are some things to check off before applying:
  • You have an idea. It is not simply a story nor simply a question, rather it is a "thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action."
  • That idea emerges out of a pattern of Jewish text, tradition, or thought. Rabbi Benay Lappe in her ELI Talk suggests that "every tradition seeks to create a certain kind of person." An ELI talk, then, examines a) what is a "Jewish kind of person" in your view and/or b) how is your idea a technology for creating a Jewish kind of person?
  • You're clear on your why. This means you have a good sense as to why this idea--out of all the ideas we could be talking about--is important to yourself, to other people, to the Jewish community, and/or to the world.
  • Your idea fits within our catalog--this means it is either a) a new topic for the ELI catalog OR b) a new perspective on the same topic.

After the written form, applicants will be asked to submit a 1-minute video through our app of yourself presenting the core of your idea. This will help us get a sense of who you are as a speaker, how you present yourself, and your ability to convey an idea in a limited time frame. Your application is not complete until you submit the video through our Gather Voices app. (Please do not send us videos of previous speaking engagements or any examples not produced through the app.)

We are currently accepting applications through June 11 (JUNE 16 FOR ATLANTA SPEAKERS) for the Fall 2017 Production (meetings with coaches will span from June until August 2017) which will be filmed in early September 2017. We love workshopping ideas with potential ELI speakers so they can submit the most effective application possible. Please schedule time with ELI Talks Program Coordinator, Mary Rubenstein, to talk about your idea or answer any questions about the speaker process you might have today. You can also email her here.

Have an inspired Jewish idea to share with the world? Apply now below (or come back to it later).

Or maybe you know just the right person to speak and you'd like to tell us about them. Tell us here!