The René Cassin Fellowship Program

NEW! Meet the 2014 RCFP Fellows

The René Cassin Fellowship Program (RCFP) is a one year educational programme on Judaism and human rights for young professionals (ages 25-35).  It has hubs in New York, London and Jerusalem, with 12 Fellows in each hub. Over the course of a year Fellows will gather for monthly study sessions (evenings) that explore human rights through the lens of Jewish values and the Jewish historical experience.  The program also involves intensive interaction between the three centres of Jewish life, a 9-day study tour to Israel in June and hands-on internships in institutions working on human rights and social justice issues. 

2014 Additional information and Examples of Impact Projects

Recruitment for the 2014 RCFP has now closed.  However, If you are a young professional aged 25-35 with a demonstrated interest in social justice work, who is based in London, New York or Jerusalem, please check back in the autumn of 2014 for application information. 

RCFP Program Objectives

1) To deepen and broaden participants' knowledge, understanding and engagement of Jewish visions of a just society through the study of Jewish classical and modern sources and contemporary international human rights law.

2) To wrestle with the dilemmas and value-conflicts raised by the interplay of international human rights law, Jewish tradition and the contemporary social and political reality of the Jewish People and the State of Israel. This will be achieved through the examination of examples from Israel, diaspora Jewish communities and other societies.

3) To strengthen the social capital of the Jewish people by engaging socially/politically active young Jews (ages 25-35) from three continents in a program of study, cross-cultural dialogue, travel and internships. 

4) To galvanize a movement of young Jewish social activists who will be equipped with the skills and passion to promote social justice and human rights locally and globally.

With lead funding from the New York UJA/Federation, the RCFP is designed to reach the increasing numbers of young Jews that are distancing themselves from their relationship with Israel and the organized Jewish community. In many cases, these young Jews find their values more aligned with human rights organizations than they do with the Jewish establishment. The RCFP’s deep commitment to human rights as well as to an affirmative identification with the Jewish people and the State of Israel means that it is capable of reaching a constituency that is often beyond the reach of the Jewish community. 

Sponsoring organisations and professional staff

René Cassin is a London-based non-profit organization, founded in 2000, that uses the historical Jewish experience and positive Jewish values to campaign and educate on universal human rights issues such as discrimination, asylum and genocide. With special consultative status at the United Nations, René Cassin uses that forum to give voice to Jewish values within the international human rights community. The organization is named in honour of René Cassin, a French Jew and Nobel Laureate, who was one of the principal co-drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with Eleanor Roosevelt. The organization's executive Director is Shauna Leven, an attorney with expertise in the area of human rights. Shauna will serve as faculty for the RCFP London hub.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz is the international director for RCFP and is also be the lead faculty member in New York. Sid is a nationally prominent leader in the fields of Jewish education, Jewish identity and social activism. As the founder of PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, Sid was one of the pioneers in the integration of Jewish learning, values and social responsibility and he edited several of the earliest curricula in the field. His book, Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (2006), is one of the seminal works on Jewish social justice. He is currently a senior fellow at Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

Cooperating Sponsors

We are pleased to announce the following organisations as Cooperating Sponsors of the RCFP:

UK/European Cooperating Sponsors

US Cooperating Sponsors

Israel Cooperating Sponsors

Israel Cooperating Sponsors


Liberal Judaism UK

City Year


Ma'agalei Tzedek



Siach Israel

Beit Hillel

Jewish Volunteering Network

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

Dorot Fellowship Program

Forum Yod Bet Be'Heshvan


Emerging Leaders & Philanthropists (ELP) of the UJA-Federation of New York



Board of Deputies of British Jews

Repair the World

Friends of the Earth Middle East



ROI Community


The Jerusalemites Movement

Keshet UK

New Israel Fund


The Masorti Movement in Israel

Israeli Cultural Institute

Uri L’Tzedek





The Jerusalem Open House

The Jerusalem Secular Yeshiva

Siach UK/Europe

Siach US

Kol-HaNashema Community

Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism

Moishe House

Moishe House



European Union of Jewish Students

Peace Corps

Mimizrach Shemesh

Ne'Emanei Torah Avodah

Awakening Israel

T'ruah - The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights 



ROI Community

American Jewish Committee's Global Access Program



New Israel Fund

B'nai Jeshurun-Tzeirim

Center for Women's Justice


The UK Task Force 

Pursue Network

Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli-Arab Issues


The David Projcct

Center for Jewish Peoplehood



The New Israel Fund

Atid Bar-Midbar


Limmud FSU

If your organisation would like to become a Cooperating Sponsor, please email us to learn more.