Marla Bennett (z”l) Fellowship
Marla Bennett, a native of San Diego, graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2000 and was in her second year of her master’s in Judaic Studies in Jerusalem. She was killed July 31, 2002 when a terrorist attack ripped apart Hebrew University’s cafeteria.
Marla was a special person whose warmth and enthusiasm deeply touched the lives of everyone she
came in contact with. She was the first recipient of the Berkeley Hillel award, Hineni . The award goes to a student who, “whenever there was something that needed to be done, their response was ‘here I am.’”
Inspired by Marla’s love of Jewish learning and Israel, friends and family started the Marla Bennett Scholarship Fund, which supports the Marla Bennett Fellowship. The Marla Bennett Fellowship is given to one Berkeley student each year to spend the summer learning at the Pardes Institute. The Fellowship allows students to advance their own Jewish learning and develop their relationship with Israel. Upon their return the fellows organize ways to bring Marla’s memory and their experience back to campus.
Last year’s fellow, Gaby Ostrove, shares some thoughts in the Missing Marla Facebook group.
As part of the fellowship, the Fellows are encouraged to learn about Marla Bennett from faculty and friends in Israel. Each year a short biography, personal statement and journaling by each Fellow is put in a binder. This binder will be an ongoing legacy of Marla. Upon their return the fellows plan a day of Jewish learning in Marla’s memory. They are given an opportunity to teach texts they learned at Pardes and share their personal experiences being part of the fellowship.