The annual Mandel graduation ceremony was held on October 19 at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, marking the culmination of studies for fellows of the various Mandel Leadership Institute programs. The ceremony was attended by the IDF chief education officer, Brig. Gen. Avner Paz-Tzuk, the chairman of the Mandel Foundation, Mr. Morton Mandel, the president of the Mandel Foundation, Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, and the director-general of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, Mr. Moshe Vigdor.
To view a video clip from the graduation ceremony
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett thanked the Mandel Foundation and Mr. Mandel for many years of successful cooperation with the ministry. “The education system expects Mandel graduates to take the initiative and lead change,” he said, in a recorded address shown at the ceremony. “You are a tremendous blessing for the State of Israel and for the future of education in the country.”
Twenty graduates of cohort 22 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership—a program founded jointly by the Mandel Foundation and the Ministry of Education in 1991—completed two years of study, during which they grappled with the key issues at the heart of education, leadership, and society in Israel. Also completing their studies were the 20 participants in the Mandel IDF Educational Leadership Program, senior IDF officers drawn from all branches of the armed forces. Brig. Gen. Paz-Tzuk congratulated the graduates of the program and thanked Mr. Mandel “for setting such a high bar, and for the support you give to strengthening the IDF.” Also among those graduating were four fellows of the Mandel Scholars in Education program.
In his remarks, Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, president of the Mandel Foundation, wished the graduates much success in coping with the increasing challenges facing Israeli society, and the great changes it is undergoing. Reinharz reviewed the achievements of Mandel graduates over the years. “The driving force behind all these accomplishments is the commitment and vision, over many years, of the founder, leader, and chairman of the Mandel Foundation—Morton Mandel. Thanks to him, this annual contribution to leadership in Israel, the latest of which we are celebrating here today, will continue for many generations.”The ceremony also marked the conclusion of the first cohort of theMandel Programs for Leadership Development in the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Community, a unique set of leadership programs based on the principle that Haredi public leadership must grow and emerge from within the community, and must reflect its values and essence. Eight fellows completed the program: heads of social and educational organizations, activists, and entrepreneurs in the fields of education, society, and community.
>Speaking on behalf of the new graduates, Dr. Gish Amit related some of his experiences during two years at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership: “What did it mean for me, for us, to be a Mandel fellow? First and foremost, perhaps, the possibility to change, to shed beliefs I had held for such a long time. I learned to listen without judging; I learned the extent to which tolerance is the hallmark of the educator.”
Dr. Eli Gottlieb, director of the Mandel Leadership Institute, and vice-president of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, referred to the weekly Torah portion, and compared the journey of the graduating fellows to the journey Abram made to Canaan. “You too are setting off into the unknown, leaving behind the familiar and the obvious, and moving away from your comfort zones,” he said. “My wish for all of you is that your own journeys bring you, as the Torah commentator Rashi comments, 'personal pleasure and benefit', but also that these journeys will, as the Torah continues, ‘bring blessings to all the families of the world.’”
The final speaker was Mr. Mandel himself. “Imagine how I feel standing here, with my name up there, part of the name of this Institute,” he said. “It’s a great honor for me to work in partnership with people like you, and I’ll be proud of doing so for the rest of my life.”