In an effort to encourage a more diverse student body at Yeshiva University, the Kohelet Foundation, a local non-profit organization, is providing $720,000 in scholarships over the next five years to students who attended Jewish community day schools.
The organization, which supports Jewish education in the Philadelphia area, provided scholarships to five students to attend the university in New York this past fall but did not publicize the program until recently.
“We felt that one of the ways to make Yeshiva University have access and showcase itself to kids who are not on the traditional trajectory to attend the school would be to provide scholarships earmarked for kids coming out of non-Orthodox Jewish day schools,” said Holly Cohen, executive director of the Foundation.
David Magerman, the philanthropist behind Kohelet, is a member of the Yeshiva University Board of Trustees and started creating programs with the school back in 2010.
Till now, the Kohelet Foundation has focused most of its attention and funding on Jewish day schools in the Philadelphia area. The first five students to receive scholarships last fall to attend Yeshiva University were not local.
Ari Rockoff, director of community partnerships at the university, said the number of students applying to the school has increased significantly since Kohelet started offering the scholarships last year. The university manages the recruiting and administration of the scholarships, which will help between two and five students each year.
Rockoff said recipients sign a “moral contract” stating that they will return to their day schools to share their experiences at Yeshiva University.
“No one is going to be taken to court if they don’t go back,” Rockoff said. “But we do think it’s important for students to have that give back component to it as well.”