I will pour out My spirit on all flesh
Your children shall prophesy
Your old shall dream dreams
And your youth shall see visions.

These words from the prophet Joel (made even more famous by Debbie Friedman) are a perfect introduction to the essays in the enclosed booklet, which are the product of the Resilient Writers Fellowship, a joint project of IJS and New Voices Magazine. Over the course of eight weeks in the winter and spring of 2021, this group of college students and recent graduates gathered online to explore the intersection of Torah, spiritual practice, creativity, and embodiment. These incredible essays are the fruits of their labor.

At a time when many young people were and are struggling — wrestling with social isolation, anxiety, depression, a global pandemic, political turmoil, and an uncertain future — this fellowship offered these outstanding young Jewish writers an opportunity to develop a personal set of practices to both navigate the emotions and spiritual challenges of an ailing world and maintain their creative work in a way that is sustainable and Jewishly rooted.

Co-facilitated by IJS Senior Program Director Rabbi Myriam Klotz and New Voices Editor Rena Yehuda Newman, the fellowship began with a three-hour opening online retreat, fostering a sense of community and connection between fellows, and gathered via Zoom each subsequent week on Thursday evenings for themed, 90-minute sessions where fellows learned, shared, and created Torah together. Throughout the fellowship, each fellow was responsible for writing a feature article on a topic of their choosing. Between sessions, fellows were encouraged to try an assortment of embodied and mindfulness practices, keyed to the weekly themes, to support their creative process.

As you will see in the essays in this booklet, these fellows come from an extraordinarily diverse, thoughtful, and provocative range of perspectives. They touch on issues ranging from Shabbat and time to body image and living through this extraordinary time of pandemic.