The Witness Institute, founded by Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger and Elisha Wiesel, is a project dedicated to continuing the work of Elie Wiesel. Its flagship program is a two-year fellowship for emerging leaders. By studying Elie Wiesel’s life and legacy, and the important themes and methods to which he returned again and again, in a nurturing and supportive environment, leaders with high potential to influence society will become morally empowered people who will influence their communities. Consisting of semi-annual retreats, ongoing online learning, weekly 1-1 study, and summative projects, the Witness Institute will create an ever-expanding community of leaders to build a more moral world.

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From Elisha Wiesel

I am proud to be embarking on a new path with my friend, Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger. We are a son AND a disciple of my father, Elie Wiesel z”l. We believe that all of us who live in this fractured world that my father left three years ago so desperately need his understanding – of ethics, activism, and how to battle hatred and indifference – in order to respond to the challenges we face.

Together we are launching The Witness Institute, a two-year fellowship for emerging leaders. Through in-person retreats, online learning, and applied projects, Fellows will explore my father’s life and legacy, his ideas and methods, in order to apply them to their own leadership and activism, deepen their impact, and illuminate the world.

Will you join a son and a disciple in our goal to increase my father’s presence in this world?

If you would like to make a donation

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The Witness Institute
11701 Fulham Street
Silver Spring, MD 20902


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Imagine a world in which

  • Learning and teaching are valued as primary paths to moral transformation, and educational experiences are designed to produce morally responsible, sensitive, justice-seeking humanists;
  • All people have the opportunity to make use of great wisdom traditions, and to learn from one another, using a broad and deep set of tools and modalities;
  • People of differing views can disagree well, in order to sharpen both sides’ perspectives in search of deeper levels of truth and effective decision making;
  • People learn to see their particular identities as complementary to their universal commitment to all humanity;
  • Activism is accompanied by courage, self-reflection, and humility;
  • Leaders learn to balance nuanced and compassionate political discourse with immediate and effective responses to all forms of hatred and indifference.

The Witness Institute develops programs to train and empower individuals to learn, create, and positively influence their communities, and our societies. The Institute convenes and hosts conversations, nurtures cohorts of influencers, builds community, and supports individual creative projects.

The flagship program of the Institute is the Witness Fellows Program, a two-year, cohort-based program for emerging leaders, the goal of which is to activate and empower them to act with humility, reflection, and sensitivity, and, in turn, to influence their communities towards moral action. Consisting of semi-annual retreats, ongoing online learning, weekly 1-1 study, and summative projects, the Witness Fellows Program will create an ever-expanding community of leaders to build a more moral world.