The Mandel Program for Youth Movements Leadership, designed for youth movement leaders to focus on key socio-educational issues in Israeli society, held its opening session on May 15 at the Mandel Leadership Institute. The program is the product of collaboration between the Mandel Leadership Institute and the Ministry of Education’s society and youth administration and the Youth Movements Council.
“After years of studying topics relating to moral development and function, I still don’t have a good answer to the question: how does one teach values?,” said Prof. Mordecai Nisan, the head of the Mandel Foundation-Israel’s academic faculty and the program’s director. “But I can point to a social framework that has and continues to profoundly influence human values - and it is the youth movements in Israel.”
The program has several objectives: to build a common language for discussing fundamental questions confronting youth movements today; expand the horizons of the youth movements and the collaboration between them; and foster discussion of the youth movements’ role in Israeli society. As a pilot program, another objective is for the Mandel Institute and the youth movements to become acquainted with each other ahead of the launch of the program for youth movement coordinators.
“If there is one thing typical of the youth movements, it is to lead, innovate and be at the forefront. True leaders don’t just preach, they act,” said Dr. Eli Gottlieb, the director of the Mandel Leadership Institute and the vice president of the Mandel Foundation-Israel. “Some are involved in education and others in leadership, but the combination of education and leadership is much rarer. Engaging in this combination means constantly dealing with the balance between vision and action.”
The opening session focused on the nature of the good person and the good society. Prof. Moshe Halbertal, a member of the Institute’s faculty, discussed with the group the meaning of humility in the teachings of Aristotle and Maimonides. Dr. Assaf Inbari, a writer and member of the Mandel Institute’s academic advisory committee, talked about the main sources of culture in Israel – Judaism, Hebrew-ness and Israeli-ness, pointing to the need to integrate all these components into a moral, social and artistic cultural being.
The program will have another nine weekly sessions from October through December 2014. They will focus on reviewing the philosophical, sociological and psychological aspects of the youth movements’ educational objectives and methods and of social and educational issues in Israel and in the lives of young people in the 21st century.