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Welcome to the JewishGen “Future Scholars Fellowship” Trip to Poland!

This exploration of Jewish Poland has been developed by JewishGen.org, Friends of Jewish Heritage in Poland, and The Matzevah Foundation. It is done in cooperation with our partners at FODŻ (the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland), the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, and the Institute of History at the University of Szczecin.

The full itinerary is available <here>.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still providing an extra element of uncertainly in our lives, all plans are subject to review and change if necessary for safety. We require that all participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and comply with all applicable testing protocols required at the time of international travel.

Note: We reserve the right at any time to exclude from the trip any participant whose conduct is deemed incompatible with the interests of the larger group.

Travel FAQ's

What is the application process to apply to be part of this group?

The first step is to complete our online application form.  Once received and reviewed, we will contact you with further steps.  We will also set up a phone or Zoom interview time with you. This call would be 30-60 minutes in length and is meant to provide us a chance to get to know you better.  It’s also a great opportunity for you to ask more about the project, about JewishGen, Friends of Jewish Heritage in Poland, The Matzevah Foundation, and our work in Poland. The call will be conducted by a project leader and may include additional travel leaders.

After the interview process, the trip organizers will then determine whether the volunteer is a good fit for the project.

What is the cost of the trip?

The cost of the trip for fellows is $350, to be paid upon acceptance and commitment to the program. This is non-refundable. All other expenses will be completely covered by JewishGen.org (including r/t travel from NY, transportation in Poland, meals, lodging, materials, etc.). 

Is there travel insurance available?

We do not offer travel insurance.  For US participants we require travel insurance to be purchased and for others we highly recommend it.  Some popular insurance companies to purchase from are:

  • AIG Travel Guard
  • Allianz Global Assistance
  • Travelex

 

Who makes the travel arrangements for flights and in-country transportation?

JewishGen will arrange and pay the costs of all round-trip flights between New York and Warsaw. For those accepted fellows travelling from other cities or wishing to travel to Poland from another country (e.g., Israel), we will discuss details of specific flight arrangements. We will arrange in-Poland transportation and lodging during the time of the project.

Who makes the travel arrangements for flights and in-country transportation?

Kosher food will be provided through caterers under authoritative rabbinical supervision, with supplementary snacks and drinks provided during the trip.

 

What are the expectations for work in the cemetery?

Tasks in the cemetery often consist of clearing brush, grass, small trees, and other vegetation. Heavy lifting is sometimes involved, though not required for all participants. Each participant is encouraged to work to their maximum personal capacity, but not to exceed that. Our goal is to clean the cemeteries, not to add to their occupancy! There may also be opportunities for the use of equipment such as loppers, weed eaters, and hedge trimmers. 

All levels of strength and expertise are needed.  Our best teams consist of people who arrive with a willing heart and flexible spirit to help accomplish whatever task we might have to do.  Some of our most effective work comes from visiting with local citizens as well as using equipment to clear brush or collecting broken matzevah (headstone) fragments.

Scroll through <these> pictures to get a look at the different type of work we do during a cemetery restoration project. 

 

Who is an ideal candidate to be a JewishGen Future Fellow?

We seek to inspire and begin the training of future generations of leaders in Jewish genealogical involvement. Those who are best able to appreciate and make use of this opportunity are especially encouraged to apply. Candidates must be enrolled full-time as third- or fourth-year undergraduates or as graduate students in accredited colleges or universities.

What type of lodging is there during a project?

We plan to stay in dormitories and 3- and 4- star hotels throughout. Fellows will typically share a room with at least one other member of the trip.

 

What skills are required to participate?

A willing heart and a flexible spirit are a must!  We do require participant-volunteers to be in good health.

Cemetery restoration projects include physical tasks such as a lot of walking, dragging and carrying cut branches, brush, and small trees, using equipment such as hand shears, loppers, rakes.  Those who are able and have experience with, can use heavier tools such as bush hogs and string trimmers.

This work is hard at times and you will be tired at the end of each day, but you will feel a gratifying sense of accomplishment, too!

What vaccinations are required for this travel to Poland?

​All participants are expected to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 at least meeting current US CDC guidelines. At this time, that means at least one J&J shot or two of the Moderna or Pfizer injections plus a booster injection. We do request that your tetanus shot be up to date.

Is a passport or visa required?

A passport is required for travel to Poland.  Please check with your home country to see if any additional documentation is needed.  For US residents, only a passport is required.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

Adults over the age of 18 are welcomed.

 

What about other questions?

These FAQ's apply to individual volunteer applicants.  For more information, please email <trip@jewishgen.org>.

 

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