Inaugural Fellowship member Abigail Morris is based in London and first heard about last year's AdR Fellowship via her brother. Her background of many years in charge of the succesful, cutting edge Soho Theatre and her year-old new venture of running ResponseAbility qualified her as the kind of social entrepreneur the AdR Fellowship is looking for.
ResponseAbility is a new cross communal organisation which provides a contemporary Jewish commentary on cutting edge issues. ResponseAbility in its first year is successfully bridging the two worlds of the Jewish and the secular, speaking to both and enabling the two worlds to meet and speak to each other. It is the only Jewish organisation that engages with the issues that all Jews face living in modern, complicated multi-cultural Britain. One of Abigail's most memorable moments of many during her two weeks in New York is going to Shabbat to the Synagoge with the group after a challenging day exploring identity and discussing Israel. The group made it through an emotional day, and everyone joined the visit to the Synagoge afterwards.
Abigail said while in New York, she enjoyed the academic side enormously, and then benefited profoundly from working on her business plan at a later meeting in Paris where the fellows were reunited. Abigail said how great it was to see people again after their intense experience in New York, that she is regularly in touch with a good number of her year's Fellows and that the connections in the group are still strong a year later.
One thing the unique make-up of the group gave Abigail was the acute awareness that identity is always shifting - at some moments of lecture or debate, she felt more at home with the British Fellows, Muslim or Jewish, sometimes she felt distinctly Jewish, at other times European as opposed to American, sometimes very female - so she lived the experience that identity is not straight forward.
Her prediction for this year's Fellows is:"You'll have two brilliant weeks!", her advice: "try and get as much sleep as you can beforehand, you won't sleep much in New York."