Marla Bennett (z”l) Fellowship Fund

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.

“Being chosen as the 2022 Marla Bennett Fellow has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.
The three weeks I spent at Pardes have been inspiring, joyful, difficult, and unforgettable. For me, Judaism will always be a question, but I now see it as one with a beautiful and never-ending answer. While I never met Marla (z”l), she will always be a part of me. Every single person I talked to told me about her brilliant smile. Learning in her name gifted me with chances to talk to so many kind and thoughtful individuals, and I will always be grateful that my first time in Israel was on the wings of someone with a legacy as loving and vibrant as Marla Bennett.”

Rae BlackbirdPardes Summer Program Participant 2022

Click here to see a list of previous year’s fellows.

Thank you for supporting the Marla Bennett Fellowship Fund. Your contribution ensures that we can continue sending new Marla Bennett Memorial Fellows to Israel each summer to study in Marla’s memory.