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FEREP Frequently Asked Questions

The FEREP Program

What is the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence at the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)?
The Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence provides resources and expertise to identify, recruit, develop and retain the highest quality professional and volunteer leadership for the Federation system. For more information, visit here.

What does the FEREP Program offer?
FEREP aims to: 1) prepare its students for the transition to professional excellence in Federation; 2) to create strong cohorts of students who see each other as valued colleagues and resources as they proceed through their careers and 3) to ensure the Federation system has passionate and committed leaders for the future. In addition to funding that students receive for graduate study, students are convened annually at conferences and participate in conference calls. FEREP alumni and other JFNA professionals are available to students for career counseling and development.

How are FEREPs prepared for work in a Jewish Federation?
In addition to the knowledge students acquire in their professional and Jewish studies programs, FEREP students learn about topics of specific concern to the Federation system, make contacts with accomplished professionals in the field, and gain skills and direct experience through their Federation internships.


What type of person is a good candidate for FEREP?
There is no one type that we seek; rather, we look for many qualities and experiences in a candidate including: intelligence, maturity, passion and drive to work in the Jewish community, relevant experience and education, strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills, and excellent verbal and written communication skills.

What is the minimum GPA?
An applicant to the FEREP program must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in order to qualify.  While in graduate school, FEREP students must maintain a minimum of a 3.0.

Can current graduate students apply?
Yes. Students already enrolled in eligible graduate programs may be considered for a FEREP scholarship as long as they agree to the terms of the award.

Application Process

Is the FEREP application separate from a graduate school application?
Yes. You must complete a FEREP Scholarship application in addition to your graduate school application(s). The FEREP Program is not part of any graduate program; it is awarded through the Jewish Federations of North America.

Can I apply for a FEREP scholarship if I don’t yet know if I’ve been accepted to my graduate program?
Yes! We understand that application deadlines overlap and that you may not know whether you’ve been accepted to your school program before the FEREP application deadline. You will inform us at a later date. Keep in mind, however, that no FEREP award will be made without verification of your acceptance to your intended graduate program. 

Graduate School

Does it matter what I study?
Yes. FEREP Scholarships are given primarily for certain areas of graduate study. These areas are: non-clinical social work; public administration, and business administration or nonprofit management. These three degrees must be combined with either a Masters or Certificate in Jewish studies or Jewish Communal Service, or an individualized Jewish study plan.

Does it matter where I study?
You may complete eligible full-time graduate studies at any accredited university in the U.S. or Canada.

Can I complete my studies online?
Students may fulfill the Jewish study requirement (i.e., Masters, Certificate or individualized study plan) in a virtual study environment if they choose. Online programs and courses in Jewish studies must be offered by accredited universities in the U.S. and Canada, be graduate-level and approved by the FEREP professional staff.


How many awards are given each year?
The number of awards varies from year to year depending on the quality of the candidates and the funds available to award. There is no set number. 

How much is a FEREP scholarship?
FEREP awards up to $20,000 per year for up to two years of graduate school, or up to $40,000 total.

What are the terms of the award?
FEREP students receive up to $20,000 per year for up to two years. The awardee must maintain a 3.0 GPA in his/her graduate studies; must fulfill a Federation internship requirement, and participate in FEREP student activities. In return for the scholarship, the awardee must commit to a two-year minimum paid work commitment in a North American Jewish Federation.

What happens if I do not fulfill the work commitment?
While we hope that recipients of FEREP scholarships accept them in good faith with the intention to fulfill the conditions of the scholarship, occasionally, personal circumstances make this impossible. In that case, individuals are required to pay back the full amount of their scholarship within one year. If a professional leaves the field at any point during his/her commitment, s/he will be obligated to pay a pro-rated amount.

Working in a Federation

What is the Federation system?
Federations are the central fundraising and community planning organization for each local Jewish community in the U.S. and Canada.  There are over 153 Federations across North America, all of which are members of the Jewish Federations of North America, the national umbrella organization that provides services to the local Federations. For more information about the Federation system, visit

How are Federations and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) related?
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) represents 153 Jewish Federations and over 300 Network communities, which raise and distribute more than $3 billion annually for social welfare, social services and educational needs. The Federation movement, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).  For more information, visit

Does receiving a FEREP scholarship mean that once I am done with school that my first years in the field are unpaid?
No. You will be a paid employee of the Jewish Federation at which you choose to fulfill your work commitment.

Will the FEREP Program help me find a job?
Yes. FEREP students work closely with recruitment professionals at JFNA to help place you in your first professional position. Students receive help with resume writing, interview skills and are counseled throughout their work commitments.

How mobile do I need to be?
There are 153 Federations in communities across North America. Each provides a unique experience for its professionals. While positions may be available in a preferred community, we encourage FEREP recipients to be open to considering opportunities in a diversity of geographical locations and Federation sizes. Having professional experience in a variety of communities only enhances your professional knowledge and skills.

What kind of work will I do?
Past FEREP recipients currently serve at every level in Federations across the U.S. and Canada, as well as in prominent leadership positions. In the early stages of their careers, many FEREP alumni have quickly risen to become Young Leadership Directors, Israel/Overseas Coordinators and Campaign Directors. The combination of the FEREP Scholarship and an excellent graduate school education will position you to make enormous contributions to the field. For an illustration of the kinds of positions for which Federations seek qualified personnel, see




Looking for a job in The Jewish Federation system? Check out HotJobs for a list of exciting, open positions.



Interested in completing your graduate education and becoming a top-notch professional in the Jewish Federation system? Apply for FEREP (The Federation Executive Recruitment and Education Program).



Interested in internship opportunities at The Jewish Federations of North America? Please email Laura Cyrus.

For more information about careers in the Jewish Federation movement, contact us at 212.284.6910.