Research Training Intensive


What is the Ma’yan Research Training Intensive (RTI)?

The RTI is a two year research, activism, and leadership experience for self-identified high-school-age Jewish girls.

Applications are now closed for the fall. If you would like to be notified about the 2017 RTI, contact Beth Cooper Benjamin

What do the RTIs do?

Participants in the RTI discuss questions about Judaism, feminism, and mass culture. In year 1 they explore their experiences, learn about society and social justice, and bond as a group. In year 2 they generate an original research question based on the previous year’s learning, conduct a research project to investigate an issue of concern in their communities, and use creative approaches to present their findings to peers, educators, administrators, and other community leaders, using their knowledge to advocate for change.


What is the time commitment?

The cohort meets about twice a month on Thursday nights over the course of two school years (meetings are not held during the summer) at JCC Manhattan. The next program will begin this September 2016. There will also be one weekend sleepover per year, in the fall or early winter.


How much does it cost?

The subsidized RTI costs $500 for the first year. Second year pricing TBD. We will work with you so that cost is not a barrier to participation.


How can I get involved? Am I eligible to apply?

Applications are now closed for the 2016-2018 RTI cohort. If you would like to be notified about applications for 2017 RTI cohort, contact Beth Cooper Benjamin.

You belong in this group if you are:

  • A self-identified Jewish girl
  • Living in or around the NYC area
  • Entering 9th-12th grades in the fall of 2016
  • Excited about this program


Can high school seniors apply?

This is a two-year program, but high school seniors are invited to apply to Year 1 of the Intensive. All other applicants will be considered for the two-year program.


What is unique about the RTI?

The RTI is a fertile training ground for young thinkers, artists, and activists. Participants engage deeply, both intellectually and emotionally, through:

a) exploring core concepts like power, oppression, and privilege

b) building relationships with fellow participants, alumni youth leaders, and adult staff

c) considering the ways we are shaped by holding multiple identities (gender, race, class, religion, sexuality, etc.) in the same body at the same time.

When we talk about RTI, we refer to it equally as a “deep dive” — a sustained examination of an important and challenging topic — and a “come-as-you-are party” where every participant is invited to bring their full self and nobody has to prove their value because we already figured out you’re amazing.


Why is this program longer than it used to be?

Every RTI cohort has been awesome, and we take feedback from previous cohorts seriously. Often we hear from our alums that the program felt too short, and that somehow both the learning stage and the research project felt like they ran short on time. That’s why this year we are expanding our 1.5 year program to a fulltwo years to make it even stronger. Now there will be more time for both aspects of the program, but the basic idea is still the same: learn about how things work in society; research a specific problem, and use the research to advocate for change!


What do alumnae and parents say about RTI?

“RTI gives you the tools you need to look inside yourself and find your power!. Looking back, it was crucial for me to have supportive female friends and mentors to guide me through the trials of high school and beyond! I wish I could take the RTI with me for the rest of my life, but even if I can’t be in the RTI forever I can still take what I’ve learned to guide me and help me guide others.” – Maya Bernstein-Schalet, Cohort 4 and Alumni Youth Leader

“During the RTI I met a group of girls that were working on making a very powerful change in the world. You wouldn’t usually find a space like that– where you get to have power and have your voice heard. I recommend the RTI because it’s a place where you won’t be restricted from saying what you feel. The RTI is a powerful, inclusive, feminist place of girls who share passion for social justice.” – Abigail Rasol, Cohort 5

“I intentionally raised [my girls] with feminist values, but it didn’t occur to me that feminism would become a controversial word to young women who lived – or seemed to live – in ‘feminist friendly’ environments…there are very few programs that delve into the issues of womanhood and feminism like RTI. So thank you for keeping the flame burning!” – Rabbi Sarah Reines, Cohort 4 parent

“I still remember my excitement when we presented our findings at the conference, as I realized the tangible significance of our research. Ma’yan has inspired me to continue facilitating conversations surrounding societal gender norms, and has prepared me to take on leadership roles in contexts that address similar issues.” – Tamar Blanchard, Cohort 1

“RTI was a big reason why I’m now majoring in International Development and Social Change at college. My experience really shaped where I wanted my life to lead me and how I wanted to best serve my community.” – Alex Cohen, Cohort 3


Youth Leader Internship

The RTI is led by Ma’yan staff and a team of RTI alumnae. Graduates of the RTI who are still in high school will have the opportunity to take part in a paid internship where they will get to learn and practice facilitation and group leadership skills as they help to train the next RTI cohort.


To learn more about the RTI, get in touch with Ma’yan’s Director of Research, Beth Cooper Benjamin.


The Research Training Intensive Year 2 is based on the model of Participatory Action Research.