Explore the DFI

The Fellowship year is composed of three distinct components: the DFI Leadership Development Curriculum, the DFI Learning Community, and the DFI Personal Learning Program (PLP). Within these frameworks, Fellows are urged to revisit the following "Guiding Questions," which will shape their year, and (we hope!) the years to follow.

What contributions do you wish to make in life?

In what ways do you hope to influence your community or communities?

In what ways do you wish to see society change?

How might you be part of that change?

The DFI Leadership Development Curriculum has been developed by the Dorot Staff over the course of several years and reflects the particular approach of the Fellowship. The curriculum focuses on three primary components -- Emotional Intelligence, Skillful Communication, and Change Management -- through group activities as well as individualized coaching. Learn more  about the DFI Leadership Development Curriculum here.

The DFI Learning Community is the dynamic group of DFI Staff and Fellows who, together, dive deeply into Judaism, Israel, Diaspora Jewry, traditional and contemporary Jewish texts, and more. We do so through a series of weekly seminars, a beit midrash (house of study), a multi-day seminar in Budapest, Hungary, and periodic trips throughout Israel. Learn more about the DFI Learning Community here.

The DFI Personal Learning Program (PLP) is a self-directed curriculum that each Fellow develops meant to allign with their specific interests and growth areas, in partnership with the DFI Staff. The PLP covers the following five areas:

  • Language Acquisition

  • Jewish Studies

  • Israel Experience

  • Volunteering

  • Personal Development 

 Learn more about the DFI Personal Learning Program here.


I came to Dorot straight from journalism school, where I had dreamed of a career as a full-time international journalist, finding and telling stories that connect people across divides. While I was prepared to start my career working menial jobs, Dorot gave me the opportunity to pursue my far-out dream immediately. I invested time in stories, mentorship, and friendship that propelled my career far beyond what I ever imagined. During the year, I lived with a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem, launched a cooking school, took Arabic lessons and worked with mentors who I’d admired since the start of my career. Two stories I reported during my year landed me a full-time job at Snap Judgment, a national public radio show that airs on over 400 public radio stations to some 2 million listeners.  

Since my Dorot year, I’ve returned to the region several times, drawing on my experiences as a Dorot Fellow to bring a range of Israeli and Palestinian voices to American radio, including an Eritrean asylum seeker in Tel Aviv, mushroom farmers in Jericho, an Israeli veteran who reckons with his past, a Druze boy who experiences reincarnation and more. The DFI community has been crucial in supporting my pursuit of my wildest storytelling dreams. I’ve continued to lean on the mentors and life-long friendships I built during the Fellowship.

-Shaina Shealy, DFI 2016-17

Producer, Snap Judgment