Sinai and Synapses Fellowship

Sinai and Synapses Fellowship

Do you want to learn from some of the top scientists, theologians and thinkers in the world?
Do you want to meet and network with a diverse and yet intimate group of scientists, clergy and writers who will inspire you and challenge you?
Are you frustrated that the public discourse promotes an “either / or” mentality when we need a “both / and” mindset?
Do you want to explore some of the most interesting and important topics facing our world today, and where both religion and science can bring wisdom to the conversation?
Then apply for the Sinai and Synapses Fellowship!

What is it?

The Sinai and Synapses Fellowship is a select interfaith group of clergy, scientists and writers who are committed to elevating the discourse surrounding religion and science. It is supported by grant funding secured with the help of The Issachar Fund, as well as generous individual donors.
The Fellows aim to personalize the relationship between religion and science, and are models for a productive conversation surrounding religion and science. They are dedicated to exploring their own stories, their own commitments and their own doubts — and learning about and from other people’s journeys, as well. Indeed, our previous Fellows have ranged from Episcopal priests to science bloggers, psychology doctoral students to rabbis, UCC ministers to geneticists, and beyond.
The Fellowship is designed to encourage curiosity, cross-pollination, and the creation of new questions to explore. Every Fellow has an interest in both science and religion, as well as a professional / academic background in one or the other. The Fellows engage their communities and create meaningful content (such as the podcasts “Down the Wormhole,” Discussion Forum or our “More Light, Less Heat” series) and programs, helping people discover that science and religion are not simply ideas, but involve real concerns that affect real people’s lives.

What do Fellows get out of it?

The most recent Sinai and Synapses Fellows reached over 5500 people in person, and over 500,000 online. 92% of the Fellows felt like the experience impacted them professionally, and 100% said it impacted them personally.
How? Because Sinai and Synapses Fellows get to:

  • Come together in person to New York City six times over two years (three times in a given year) for learning, connections and content creation. There are significant subsidies available to help cover travel costs, so do not let finances impact whether or not you apply!
  • Join a dynamic and robust network of scholars, clergy, doctoral students and writers who are committed to elevating the discourse surrounding religion and science.
  • Learn with some of the most interesting and dynamic thought leaders on topics like “The Cost of Being Right and the Benefit of Being Wrong in Both Science and Religion,” “Technology and Religion: Remaining Human in a Co-Created World,” and “When Science Heals, When Religion Heals.”
  • Gain new skills for communicating with audiences on challenging, controversial and important subjects.
  • Discover opportunities to work with people in different areas of expertise and different backgrounds, yet who share a common set of values and sense of purpose.

Previous speakers have included:

Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Director of the American Association for Advancement of Science Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion and Senior Astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Center

Professor Stuart Firestein, former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, author of Ignorance: How It Drives Science, and speaker at TED 2013

Professor Karl Giberson, Scholar-in-Residence in science and religion at Stonehill College and former vice-president of the BioLogos Foundation

Professor Tania Lombrozo, Professor of Psychology at Princeton University

Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, President of Interfaith Power and Light

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and author of You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism

Previous Fellows have remarked:

“This has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and certainly the most fulfilling of my professional life.”

“I have the confidence now to speak about science more broadly than I did, having been affirmed in my understanding of basic concepts. My understanding of religion as a social phenomenon has been enriched and my philosophical well been dug more deeply as a result of online, in person and formal conversations with the Fellows.”

“I leave the Fellowship meetings feeling intellectually challenged in productive and exciting ways, and personally recharged and uplifted, ready to return to my research with new energy. Importantly, I also consistently leave our meetings with concrete action items that will further my work, such as a new book to read, a scholar to look up, or a blog post to write.”

“In this group, we are true to our faith traditions, open to those of others, and meaningfully integrating this all with science. We truly hear each other, respect each other, and grow together.”

“The connections I made in this Fellowship have provided me some of the richest and most deep conversations.”

What are the commitments?

If you elect to participate in the Sinai and Synapses Fellowship, you are committing to:

  • Six one-day all-day seminars in New York City in 2020 and 2021 (three times per year for two years) for learning, networking and program / content development, as well an additional day in the fall of 2021 for an alumni meeting. The first meeting is Thursday, February 27th, 2020, the second meeting is Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, and the third meeting is Monday, October 26th, 2020. There are significant subsidies available to help cover travel costs, so do not let finances impact whether or not you apply!
  • Creating content (blog posts, videos, podcasts through “Down the Wormhole” or articles) and/or running programs in your community.
  • Approximately four to six video chats and/or Slack chats (of about one hour) per year for check-ins and deeper conversations.
  • Bringing both your head and your heart to stimulating and challenging discussions.

Who are we looking for?

The ideal Fellow is someone who is:

  • A professional in either religion or science (e.g. clergy person, working scientist, educator, professor, doctoral student, medical professional, journalist)
  • Passionate about elevating the discourse surrounding religion and science
  • A believer that both religion and science can have great value in our society
  • Deeply curious about new ideas and new perspectives
  • Excited about learning from both experts and peers
  • Respectful when challenging others, and willing to be challenged themselves
  • Searching for new questions, rather than trying to find answers
  • Aware that there are often multiple truths on any subject
  • Able to create content and run programs in his/her field
  • Active on Social Media

Applications were due by Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 11:59 PM Eastern time, and are now closed. Finalists will be notified for interviews by Friday, December 13th. Finalists will have a one-hour interview, scheduled between Monday, December 16th and Tuesday, January 7th, and notified by Friday, January 17th.
For more information about the Fellowship, please contact us.