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Mandel Leadership Institute Graduation Ceremony 2014

The Mandel Leadership Institute held its annual graduation ceremony at the Bible Lands Musuem in Jerusalem on June 10, 2014

FIFTEEN fellows from the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, along with 20 senior IDF officers from the Mandel IDF Educational Leadership program and four advanced doctoral candidates from the Mandel Scholars in Education program all marked the completion of their studies at the Mandel Leadership Institute at a graduation ceremony held Tuesday, June 10 in Jerusalem.

Present at the ceremony and encouraging the graduates to use their experience at the Mandel Leadership Institute to impact Israeli society were Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron; IDF Chief Education and Youth Officer, Brigadier General Avner Paz Tzuk; Mandel Foundation chairman, Morton Mandel; Mandel Foundation president, Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, and Mandel Foundation-Israel director general Moshe Vigdor.

“Mandel Leadership Institute graduates are a gift the Mandel Foundation presents to the State of Israel each year – a gift of committed and visionary leaders,” Mandel Foundation President Jehuda Reinharz said in his opening remarks. Reinharz highlighted the diversity of the Mandel fellows – religious and secular, left-wingers and right-wingers, men and women, Jews and Muslims – all studying side-by-side and discussing and debating their personal mission and their vision for the future of the State of Israel openly and with respect.

Our Brother's Keeper
“We seek inclusive, communal responsibility, which is the fuel for creating a model society,” said Education Minister Shai Piron to the graduates. Piron pointed to the need Israel has for committed individuals to serve as leaders in the face of a hands-off, “am I my brother’s keeper?” attitude prevalent in contemporary society. “The completion of your studies is an opportunity to deepen this sense of responsibility" Piron said.


The fifteen graduates of the 21st cohort of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, a program jointly established by the Mandel Foundation and the Ministry of Education in 1991​​, completed a full-time, two-year course of intensive theoretical and practical studies, where they dealt with key elements of Israeli education, leadership and society. The 20 senior officers from all IDF branches completed their year-long studies in the Mandel IDF Educational Leadership program, a joint program of the Mandel Leadership Institute and the IDF Education and Youth Corps, as did four fellows in the Mandel Scholars in Education program, which trains outstanding doctoral students to be both educators and leaders. The graduation ceremony, which has become an annual Mandel Foundation tradition, took place at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum.

In his remarks congratulating the graduates, Mandel Foundation Chairman Morton Mandel declared that the Mandel Foundation would continue working in Israel and contributing toward the improvement of Israeli society, “forever – to the extent that such a promise can be made. The fact that the Institute and its programs bear my name is – outside my personal life – my greatest source of pride,” he added to a standing ovation from the audience.

“We came motivated by a dream: to be repairers of the world"
Tehila Friedman Nahalon, a fellow in the 21st cohort of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, spoke on behalf of the graduates. She compared the studies at the Mandel Institute to the daily Jewish prayer, the Amidah: “In both we begin by taking take a little step back, as if to make room.

“We came motivated by a dream and a goal we took upon ourselves: to be repairers of the world. We leave with a great commitment,” she said.

Education Minister ​Piron: “We seek inclusive, communal responsibility”

Foundation Chairman Morton Mandel: "My greatest source of pride"

Graduate Friedman Nahalon: "We came... to be repairers of the world"​

​“The common denominator of all the Institute’s programs is leadership for the sake of heaven, the aim of which aim is not to exert power over others, but to work together for the greater good. This stems directly from the worldview of the Institute’s founders,” Mandel Leadership Institute director and Mandel Foundation-Israel vice president Dr. Eli Gottlieb said at the ceremony. “At the Mandel Institute, the questions that occupy us are not ‘how to accumulate power’ or ‘how to move ahead in the rat race to this or that senior position,” but rather ‘toward what good am I striving and how can this vision be transformed into reality,’” he continued.

IDF Education and Youth Corps commander, Brigadier General Avner Paz Tzuk congratulated the IDF officers who completed the Mandel IDF Educational Leadership program, noting that as “the people’s army” the IDF needs officers who are educators.

Prof. Anita Shapira, professor emerita of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, and an Israel Prize laureate in history, delivered the graduation ceremony’s lecture on “The right to the land – changes in ideology and leadership.” Prof. Shapira surveyed how the Zionist movement justified the Jews’ right to the land of Israel throughout the history of Zionism, and the changes that have occurred therein. She stressed the importance of rational and realistic leadership and noted that “such leadership, which is able to make decisions in the spirit of Ben-Gurion, has not existed in Israel since his time. Perhaps such a leader will be found a​​mong the Mandel graduates.”

To view a picture album from the graduation ceremony, click here.