The Mandel Program for Educational Leadership in Youth Movements was officially launched at the end of October, following a year in which it ran as a pilot project. The program brings together leaders who hold senior positions in Israel’s youth movements, each with its own ideology and its own social niche in Israel. It aims to help these leaders shape their educational identity, deepen their theoretical and practical knowledge in fields relevant to their work, increase their familiarity with social and educational realities in Israel and abroad, and improve their ability to translate educational ideas into practice.
“The Council is very proud that the Mandel Leadership Institute has chosen to partner with us on informal education,” said the general-secretary of the Council of Youth Movements in Israel, Naftali Dery. “This is a rich program, and represents an opportunity not given to many who work in education,” he said.
Moshe Vigdor, director-general of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, welcomed the participants, and recognized the important contribution of informal education and the youth movements to values-based education. He described the program as a response of the Mandel Leadership Institute to the challenge of creating a vision of the “worthy life” common to all communities in Israel, one based on shared values and goals.
In his remarks to the new participants, Dr. Eli Gottlieb, director of the Mandel Leadership Institute and vice president of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, spoke of the importance for the Institute of selecting people with different world views to participate in the program, in order to provide a heterogeneous and pluralist educational setting. “We work with people on their personal and collective identities, and on their professional identities … Based on the unique vision of each youth movement, as well as the vision they all share, we can accomplish great things together.”
“The truly important question is whether we are able to form a society with a common denominator that is not the lowest it can be. Not one based on ‘in every generation they seek to destroy us,’ nor based on common enemies; and not one based simply on the fact that we all live in Israel, or we are all Jews. If that’s all we have in common, we’re in a bad way. The current situation, in which identity revolves around the Holocaust or terror, is a disaster. We need to establish a deeper common denominator, one that cuts across politics,” said Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau in his opening lecture to the new cohort. “As a society we must regularly improve ourselves, while conducting a constant dialogue about ends and means, and creating a common denominator that - rather than being the lowest one possible - is actually the most elevated, with the greatest depth.”
The program comprises 25 one-day sessions over the course of the coming academic year, which will include lectures, conversations with key educational and cultural figures, workshops, individual and group work, field trips, and case studies. The program is directed by Miki Nevo, and the program faculty includes Prof. Mordecai Nisan, academic advisor; Yaron Girsh, academic coordinator; and Odeya Levin Sousanna. The cohort contains 20 participants from 10 youth movements.