Our former scholarship holders are today’s leaders in the sciences, the economy, culture and, of course, within Jewish communities. The aims and goals of the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk will thus continue to spread into society thanks to the growing number of alumni who are establishing themselves professionally and academically.
Our alumni form, as the Alumni-Initiative, a self-organised network of that promotes and embodies friendships, engagement and a willingness to take responsibility for the future of the Scholarship Fund. We are proud of their dedication to the Scholarship Fund and its values.
The self-managed work of former scholarship holders is supported by the work of the ELES office. ELES opens up a space for discussion amongst the alumni, and supports them in the development and expansion of their networks. The ELES Alumni Office also offers the former scholarship holders the opportunity to actively help to shape the educational support of the study program. Current scholarship holders benefit from the experiences and knowledge of the alumni who, in turn, can sharpen their profile as aspiring leaders. Such a transfer of knowledge between alumni and the scholarship holders takes place often, for example during the annual welcome days for the new scholarship holders.
I did my doctorate in Education, and was able to concentrate completely on the writing of my disseration with the ELES scholarship.
The fact that ELES offers age-independent financial support gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in science, to spend time in the library and at my desk. For me it was really crucial that the financial support gave me time to think and that I could pursue my desire to devote myself fully to a specific topic. ELES has sparked my curiosity and made me want to ask new questions and continue my research.
In addition to the encountering many young Jews, the contact with my Counsellor made a lasting mark on me and strengthened me. It is invaluable to be able to discuss one’s own work with a seasoned scientist and receive support and validation.
ELES is an important voice in reflecting Jewish perspectives on societal challenges. The scholarship programme creates an awareness of one’s own Jewishness through its anchoring in a Jewish environment and context, and also for those scholarship holders in whose life Judaism has hitherto taken a less prominent place. But the mere fact of living in this support framework, getting to know young Jewish people of various stripes, and having enjoyed numerous workshops, conferences, excursions, and lectures about Jewish issues, puts Judaism in the center of thought. This will continue to be present long after the scholarship funding period ends.
I see my future with ELES as the continuing development of the discussions that we have been having since 2010. I am very curious to see what the main topics will be in the next few years. Because for me they were the centerpiece of the support I received from the ELES. I wish that many more young Jews find space with ELES where they can practice critical reflection. From the alumni network, which I am currently involved in building, I hope to be able to continue to support ELES, above all in its content-related work
ELES funded me during my bioengineering studies. My two industrial internships (one each during my bachelor’s and master’s programs) were also funded by ELES. First I worked on a cooperation project between the industry and a university in Brazil – it was about the utilisation of by-products, which arise in the production of biodiesel. With the insights I gained, my desire grew to produce fuels in a more sustainable way. My second internship was then with a start-up company in Tokyo, which specialised in fuels from microalgae.
None of these international experiences would have been possible without the support of ELES. Of course, I have greatly expanded my expertise as a result, but what was also unqiue for me was the opportunity to get in touch with the language and culture of the respective countries and I found this intensely valuable. The longer stays in the countries, which seemed quite remote to me coming from a European mentality, have influenced, enriched and changed me as a person. I am convinced that without these experiences, I probably would not have received the job offers that I did and thus my professional career would be different. ELES has enabled me to focus holistically on studying and volunteering without relying on extra part-time jobs. Now I have completed my studies and work as a bioengineer, researching into drugs against cancer.
ELES is for me a very important „place“, where I feel comfortable as a Jew in Germany and at home. At ELES, I have met people who are moved by the same topics as me and who deal with similar issues about history, ethics and their identity as Jews (whether religious or secular). Such encounters, as well as the numerous offered seminars, have helped me a lot to work with the questions that are not always easy for me and to develop myself further.
It would be very nice to stay in touch with the fellow scholarship holders, and possibly for them to feel that they belong to ELES even after the funding period has ended; through a lively exchange, joint events or trips, mutual support among the alumni, as well as assistance with questions from new scholarship holders – to get many more years.
ELES supported me throughout my studies from 2010 to 2016. I completed my Bachelor of Philosophy at Philipps University in Marburg, then completed a master’s in Philosophy of the Social Sciences at the London School of Economics and a second master’s degree in Philosophy at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
Immediately after completing my studies, I took up my position as a research assistant at the Max Weber College at the University of Erfurt in April 2016. I am doing my PhD in Jewish Political Philosophy at the Research Center: „Dynamics of Ritual Practices in Judaism in Pluralistic Contexts from Antiquity to the Present“. The content-oriented seminars of ELES decisively influenced my interest in Jewish Political Philosophy and enabled me to access Jewish Studies beyond my studies. In addition, I met many (Jewish) critical thinkers at ELES. With some of them in 2016 I created the magazine “Yalta. Positions on the Jewish Present“. The dialogue using Jewish perspectives to discuss the post-migration society has just begun – the discussions that I had in whilst in the scholarship programme, and will hopefully continue to do, shape me very much in this debate.
For me, ELES was the first space in Germany that I met Jews of the same age who had great interest in (Jewish) history, philosophy and politics, and I was pushed to realise that I had become attached to the rigid structures of Judaism and that is was time to adjust this. The friendships that have emerged through ELES, the debates that we have had and hopefully carry on – all of this has shaped my self-image as a Jew in Germany as well as my thinking – that is crucial as a philosopher.
Hannah Peaceman at stipendiumplus.de gives a more detailed insight into her time at ELES.
ELES supported my doctoral project at the University of Heidelberg on the topic of antibody internalisation and organ targeting by means of specific peptide motifs.
Shortly after the end of the scholarship funding period I was able to bring my dissertation to paper and submit it. At the moment I am still working on the project from my dissertation and am employed as a research assistant at the University of Heidelberg. By being funded ELES, I was able to work on a very innovative project for over three years, concentrating entirely on my doctoral thesis, without having to rely on third-party funds. Financial security has also enabled me to become more socially involved. But above all the idealistic support programme made it possible for me to meet many very interesting people and to further strengthen my social skills.
ELES has become a second family for me. And as is the case with family, much has been discussed, criticised, supported and laughed about. The forums for doctoral students have always been a very special event. They not only enabled exchange between doctoral students from very different areas, but also some distance from the laboratory routine and reflection on their own work, as well as new approaches.
In my view, ELES adds a great deal to the vibrant Jewish life in Germany, for which I particularly appreciate the scholarship programme. In my opinion, ELES has become an integral part of the lives of Jewish students and doctoral students in Germany. The alumni network will hopefully contribute greatly to networking between the alumni scholarship holders and those who are still being financially supported. You never know what new collaborations and contacts may arise from it.
ELES bot schon zu meiner Zeit so viele Möglichkeiten, von denen man viele gar nicht auf den ersten Blick sah, und seitdem ist es noch vielfältiger geworden. Die Zeit im Studienwerk ist kurz, aber man zehrt ein Leben lang davon.
Alexander Rasumny, ELES-Alumnus