Yael Hess

Director, Mandel Leadership Institute

Yael Hess, a colonel in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reserves and a graduate of the Israel National Defense College, served in key positions in the IDF Education Corps for many years. She commanded the Shaare Avraham training base, which trains the educational staff of all IDF units; she headed the Education Corps’ Culture Branch; and she commanded the IDF’s education system, which includes high-school completion courses, matriculation studies, preparation for enlistment, and the IDF’s Gadna bases, where future conscripts participate in week-long preparatory programs. In her last position in the IDF, Yael headed the Education Division of the IDF Chief Education Officer’s headquarters. In this combined educational and managerial position, she was responsible for defining the IDF’s educational approach; implementing the IDF’s spirit and values; and overseeing the work of the educational staffs of all IDF units, and the work of IDF hasbara (information) units throughout the country. She was also responsible for cultural activities for soldiers and for Holocaust education and commemoration throughout the IDF. From 2000 to 2003, Yael served as a community emissary of the Jewish Agency to North America and taught Hebrew in the department of Middle Eastern studies of the University of Arizona and at the Tucson Hebrew Academy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in national security studies from the University of Haifa. Yael is a graduate of the Mandel IDF Educational Leadership Program.

Miki Nevo

Director, Mandel Program for Youth Leadership

Miki Nevo, a social entrepreneur, directs the Mandel Program for Youth Leadership. He has more than twenty years' experience in founding and managing social and educational organizations. He was principal of the Misgav secondary school, and founded and directed the Israel Venture Network’s educational activities in Israel’s northern social periphery. He founded the Ma’ase Center, which promotes socioeconomic mobility by providing volunteering frameworks for young adults, most of whom are from Israel’s social periphery, and directed the Center for nine years. In recognition of his work with Ma’ase, Miki was awarded the Sderot Conference for Society’s Prize for Excellence in Social Affairs, the Speaker of the Knesset’s Quality of Life Prize, and an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University. Subsequently, Miki served as senior assistant director for research, development, and entrepreneurship at the Rashi Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in neurobiology, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Miki is a graduate of Cohort 4 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

Naomi Perl

Director, Mandel Programs for Leadership Development in the Haredi Community

Naomi Perl, a music teacher and developer of music and leadership programs, directs the Mandel Programs for Leadership Development in the Haredi Community. She founded the Shluchei Tzibur program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Ron Shulamit academic program for female musicians and music teachers at the Levinsky International College of Education in Tel Aviv. Previously, she served as the educational director of the Sulam nonprofit, which operates extended diagnostic preschools and special education schools, and as a pedagogic instructor and developer of music curricula for preschools and middle schools. She also founded music study tracks at six Haredi high schools, and was a member of the team that founded and directed the Ron Shulamit Conservatory for Haredi girls. Naomi is a graduate of the Me’ohr Bais Yaakov Teachers’ Seminary in Jerusalem, and holds a master’s degree in musical education from the Levinsky International College of Education. She is currently a doctoral student in the Hebrew University’s sociology of education department. Naomi is a graduate of Cohort 16 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

Mishael Zion

Director, Mandel Program for Leadership in Jewish Culture

Rabbi Mishael Zion, an educator and community entrepreneur, is the director of the Mandel Program for Leadership in Jewish Culture. Previously, he was the co-director and rabbi of the Bronfman Fellowships, a leadership program for outstanding young Jewish people in Israel and North America. He is the author of Esther: A New Israeli Commentary and, together with his father, Noam Zion, the author of ​Halaila Hazeh: An Israeli Haggadah and A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices. Mishael holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and Jewish thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York. He has served as a faculty member at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning in New York, and has been a visiting scholar at the New York University School of Law. He is one of the founders of the Klausner Minyan, a partnership minyan in Jerusalem.


Dr. Ruth Calderon

Faculty Member

Dr. Ruth Calderon, former Member of Knesset and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party, is an educator and Talmud scholar. As part of her work promoting a Hebrew, Israeli, and Jewish culture that draws on traditional sources but looks to the future, she co-founded Elul (a pioneering pluralist beit midrash) with Moti Bar-Or, and founded and directed the Alma nonprofit for teaching and nurturing Hebrew culture. After eighteen years as director of Alma, Ruth was appointed head of the culture and education department at the National Library of Israel. She completed her master’s degree and her doctorate in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s department of Talmud. In recognition of her work, Ruth was awarded the AVI CHAI Prize for Jewish Education, and honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Hebrew College in Boston, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. She studied at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and is a graduate of Cohort 1 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

Dr. Amira Ehrlich

Faculty Member

Dr. Amira Ehrlich is an educator with more than twenty years’ experience in the field of music, as a teacher, producer, and researcher. Among other positions, she has served as a member of the national leadership team for the Ministry of Education’s Experiments and Entrepreneurship Division; as a lecturer at the Levinsky International College of Education; as a teacher at the Emuna arts school for religious girls; and as a teacher and music studies coordinator at the Dekel Vilnai high school and the Kinor David yeshiva. She has completed two master’s degrees cum laude, one in music education at the Levinsky International College of Education, and the other in English literature and musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2017, she received her doctorate in music education from Boston University. Her dissertation examined music teachers as change agents. Her published writings explore the philosophy, sociology, and history of music education, and the interfaces between music, education, and leadership.

Dr. Jeremy Fogel

Faculty Member

Jeremy Fogel holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge and a master's degree and doctorate in philosophy from Tel Aviv University. His research explores the tension between universalism and particularism in modern Jewish philosophy, focusing on the Jewish-German philosophers, Moses Mendelssohn and Hermann Cohen. Jeremy teaches at Tel Aviv University's Department of Jewish Philosophy, as well as at its School of Education. He also lectures publicly on philosophy in various forums. Jeremy has worked for several years at Tel Aviv University's Ofakim teacher preparation program, where he is responsible for extra-curricular activities. Jeremy has also released three albums, and is involved with various independent artistic and literary ventures.

Dr. Yaron Girsh

Faculty Member

Dr. Yaron Girsh is a sociologist and researcher, specializing in education and youth. He completed his master’s degree cum laude in the sociology of education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and completed his doctoral studies in the same institution. His doctoral dissertation examines Israeli teenagers’ conceptions of heroism. He currently teaches sociology and philosophy of education at the Hebrew University, where he has been voted Outstanding Lecturer on numerous occasions. He serves as the head of the department for nonformal education at The David Yellin Academic College of Education. In recognition of his accomplishments during his studies, he was awarded the Hebrew University President's Scholarship, the Polonsky Prize, the Levi Eshkol Scholarship, and the Rector's Prize for Master's Studies.

David Guedj

Faculty Member

David Guedj is a historian of the Jews in Muslim lands, specializing in the culture and society of North African Jewish communities. He is currently completing a doctorate at Tel Aviv University’s School of Jewish Studies, where his dissertation is devoted to the attitudes of Moroccan Jewry toward the building of Hebrew culture in the early 20th century. Among other awards, David is a recipient of the President of Israel’s scholarship for excellence and scientific innovation for outstanding doctoral students for 2015-2017. He co-founded the Inter-University Forum for Researchers of the Jews of Asia, Africa and the Balkans at Tel Aviv University, and is a committee member of Kedmata, the Israeli Center for the Study of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry at the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem. David rediscovered and initiated the publication of the lost manuscript of Makhluf Avitan’s Utopia from Casablanca (Beersheba: Ra'av Publishing House, 2016), for which he wrote the afterword.

Avi Katzman

Faculty Member

Avi Katzman is a cultural critic, journalist, and book editor. He teaches at several institutions of higher education throughout Israel and has edited numerous books, including the “Mar’ei Makom” series of books on topics related to Jewish and Israeli identity, a joint venture of the Mandel Foundation and Keter Publishing House.


Dr. Lior Alperovitch


Dr. Lior Alperovitch is a lecturer on the 20th-century history of Europe and the Jewish people, in particular the history of the Holocaust. He completed the bulk of his academic studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, including two master’s degrees – one in history and the other in Jewish thought – and a doctorate. His doctoral dissertation examined Israeli-German relations during the first two decades of the State of Israel, and he conducted his post-doctoral studies at the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research at the University of Haifa. Lior speaks seven languages, and was awarded a Shluchei Tzibur scholarship for promoting higher education among Haredi leaders, as well as a scholarship from the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History. He has lectured in history for many years at a number of institutions, including the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, the Holon Institute of Technology, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and the Peres Academic Center. Lior is himself a graduate of the Mandel Program for Leadership Development in the Haredi Community in which he now teaches.​​

Professor Ron Avi Astor

Visiting Faculty

Professor Ron Avi Astor is the Richard M. and Ann L. Thor Professor of Urban Social Development at the University of Southern California (USC), where he holds joint appointments in the School of Social Work and the Rossier School of Education. His research examines the ecological influences of the family, community, school and culture on different forms of school violence. Professor Astor has developed a school mapping and local monitoring procedure to minimize school violence, which is now used in all Israeli schools and across the globe, including in California, Chile, and France. One of his five books, School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender (2005, Oxford University Press), co-authored by his close colleague Professor Rami Benbenishty from Bar-Ilan University, was awarded several prizes. Professor Astor twice received a distinguished Research Award in Human Development and Counseling, and in 2012 he was named an American Educational Research Association fellow. In 2010, he received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College.

Menachem Bombach

Senior Project Manager

Menachem Bombach is a community leader and educational entrepreneur in the Haredi community. He has served as principal of the award-winning “Le’Zion Be’Rinah” high school; founded the preparatory program for Haredi students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and directed the youth department of the Beitar Illit local authority. Menachem heads the “Netzach” Haredi educational network, which he founded, and which combines religious and secular studies, and aims to educate students to become observant, Torah-loving Jews who are also prepared for practical life. He also heads the Hasidic girls’ seminary affiliated with the network. Menachem studied at the Vizhnitz “Ahavat Yisrael” yeshiva and at the Mir yeshiva, and holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Moreshet Yaakov College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Hebrew University. He lectures in Israel and abroad on education and society. His main areas of interest are education, managing education systems, and inter-cultural dialogue.

Professor Michael Feuer

Visiting Faculty

Professor Michael Feuer is Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Professor of Education Policy at The George Washington University, and President of the National Academy of Education. For 17 years he held leadership positions at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, most recently as the executive director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. He consults regularly to educational institutions and governments in the US, Israel, Europe, and the Middle East, including the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (now JPPI) and the Initiative for Applied Education Research in Israel (“haYozmah”). He has published academic papers in education, economics, and policy journals and has had reviews, essays, and poems in newspapers and magazines in Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York. In October 2014, President Obama appointed him to the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences.

Dr. Nir Michaeli

Visiting Faculty

Dr. Nir Michaeli, currently rector of Oranim Academic College of Education and previously chairman of the Pedagogical Secretariat at the Ministry of Education, holds a PhD in education policy and organization, and has over twenty years’ practical experience in this field. He began his career in informal education, as national counselor coordinator and secretary general of HaMachanot HaOlim youth movement. Subsequently, he moved into formal education and worked as a home room teacher and history and civics teacher at the Givat Brenner regional high school. Nir channeled the experience he garnered from working in both types of educational institutions into his work in teacher training, first as a lecturer and deputy director at the Kerem Institute for Humanistic Jewish Education, and then as head of the education department and dean of pedagogical development at the Kibbutzim College of Education. He has published works on educational policy and teacher training, innovative pedagogies, progressive education, informal pedagogy, and education toward democracy and social justice. Nir is a graduate of Cohort 9 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

Vardit Rosenblum


Vardit Rosenblum is a lawyer and a rabbinic advocate. For many years, as part of her work at Yad L’Isha at Ohr Torah Stone, she represented women denied a divorce by their husbands. She is a graduate of Beit Yaakov Seminary and has a master's degree in public policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she is currently a graduate student in Jewish philosophy. Vardit writes, advises and lectures on various legal and social issues facing Haredi society. In addition, she served on public advisory committees to the Rabbinical Courts and to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and led the latter's program for training religious leaders how to address domestic violence within their communities. Vardit moderated the Tikva Foundation's women's program Chochmatchem Ubinatchem (“Your wisdom and understanding”). She is a graduate of cohort 20 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

Professor Lee Shulman

Visiting Faculty

Professor Lee Shulman is president emeritus of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and was the first Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education and Professor (by courtesy) of Psychology at Stanford University. He was previously Professor of Educational Psychology and Medical Education at Michigan State University, serving as a member of that faculty from 1963 to 1982. He was the founding co-director of the Institute for Research on Teaching (IRT) at Michigan State University from 1976. Professor Shulman is a past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). He is a member of the National Academy of Education, having served as both vice president and president of that organization. In 2002 he was elected a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Shulman's research and writings have dealt with the study of teaching and teacher education; the assessment of teaching; medical education; the psychology of instruction in science, mathematics, and medicine; and the quality of teaching in higher education.

Dr. Roman Sukholutsky

Senior Staff Member

Dr. Roman Sukholutsky is a researcher of international relations, with experience in teaching at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in directing educational programs. He completed his doctoral studies at the Hebrew University's department of international relations. His doctoral dissertation examines the intellectual origins of opposition to cosmopolitanism. In his previous positions, Roman developed leadership initiatives, implemented plans for corporate social responsibility and organized international conferences.

Professor Sam Wineburg

Visiting Faculty

Professor Sam Wineburg is the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education and Professor of History (by courtesy) at Stanford University, and the head of Stanford's doctoral program in history education. He is one of the world's leading experts on how history is taught and learned, and a pioneer in creating free online history curricula; his "Reading Like a Historian" curriculum has been downloaded 4 million times and is used around the world. In 2007 Professor Wineburg was awarded the American Historical Association’s William Gilbert Prize, and in 2008 he received the James Harvey Robinson Prize, for his work on the teaching of history and on teaching innovation. In 2014-2015, Professor Wineburg chaired a visiting committee appointed by Israel's Council for Higher Education to evaluate the performance of the eight faculties and departments of education at Israel's universities.