Rona Amram Nativ is an educator and manager. In her most recent position, she was the vice president of Living Together, an organization that sees Israel’s cultural, religious, and national diversity as an asset and works to promote a shared society. In this capacity, she was responsible for government relations, strategic development, and partnership building. Rona’s career in education began in Bat Yam, where she worked with at-risk youth as part of the “Bat Yam model for personal education” developed by the Democratic Institute. Later, she founded and directed the youth department of Be’er Yaakov, and served as a city council member and chair of the municipal youth committee of Holon. Rona holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and educational management from Bar-Ilan University, and a master’s degree in sociology from Tel-Aviv University. She is interested in education for social activism and political engagement through encounters that will acquaint members of the various groups in Israeli society.
Keren Apfelbaum Riff is a manager, community and social entrepreneur, and an ordained rabbi from the Beit Midrash for Israeli Rabbis. She is one of the founders of Beit Prat – Israeli Midrasha, a network of Jewish Learning communities, where she worked for over a decade, most recently as associate director. Keren developed Beit Prat’s study programs, and was involved in community building vision development, and developing the organizational structure. In order to create meaningful institutions for the Israeli public, whose Jewish identity contains both religious and secular elements, Keren has worked on developing and expanding the idea of the synagogue as a central institution in the community, led an initiative to read Israel’s Declaration of Independence using Torah cantillation, and founded the Beit Midrash for Jewish Education at Beit Prat. Keren holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish philosophy and a master’s degree in Jewish education, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is also a graduate of the Beit Midrash for Israeli Rabbis, a project of the Shalom Hartman Institute and HaMidrasha at Oranim. Keren is interested in developing a school model that engages in Jewish education in a way that transcends the dichotomous division between religious and secular, and enables the flourishing of meaningful Jewish and Israeli life.
Daniel Chendler is a social and educational entrepreneur. He founded and directed “Plugta,” a social initiative that connects social activists from different sectors of Israeli society and provides them with training that will enable them to create common spaces that will not obscure the differences of opinion between members of diverse communities. Daniel is one of the founders of Cramim, a school in Jerusalem that is based on dialogic learning, where he was a pedagogical advisor during the school’s formative years and served as a homeroom teacher and vice principal. Prior to that, he managed the Jerusalem activities of Education Cities, a nonprofit network dedicated to creating great public schools, in which capacity he led educational innovation processes in local authorities and schools. Daniel holds a bachelor's degree in Jewish thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as a master's degree in Jewish education. He aspires to be involved in public education and strives to develop dialogic-social pedagogy that will prioritize the learning and social-emotional development of students and educational staff.
Ohad Hoffman is an educator, who is invested in emotional well-being and art. In recent years, he has been the principal of the junior high school of the Gilo Comprehensive School in Jerusalem. In this capacity, he has led pedagogical, social, and emotional initiatives; developed innovative models of experiential learning, and established – together with his partners in the leadership of the school – a unique school language that tailors an individualized experience for each student. In his previous position at the school, Ohad founded and directed the Growth Center – a treatment center that tends to the emotional needs of students and serves as a center for professional training of therapists. Over the years, this model was adopted by other schools across the city. Ohad holds a bachelor's degree from the department of ceramics and glass design at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Jerusalem, and a master's degree in educational administration and management from the Center for Academic Studies. He is also a graduate of the Avney Rosha training program for school principals, is certified as an art therapist by the David Yellin College and as a group facilitator by the Tzofnat Institute. Ohad is interested in constructing pedagogical-therapeutic discourse in work with adolescents and in developing schools as a potential space for emotional development and self-discovery.
David Kalaf is an educator working in non-formal education. Most recently, he was the director of Beit Meitar, a post-hospitalization residential boarding school for children and youth with hearing disabilities, where he led group development processes for staff and individual development processes for students. Previously, David was vice principal of the Yuvalim therapeutic residential boarding school, where he worked to empower students by investing in their self-efficacy and aspirations, increasing their percentage of enlistment for military programs and frameworks, and finding continuing frameworks and programs for graduates. David holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Beit Berl College and a master’s degree in education with a concentration in leadership and educational administration from Bar-Ilan University. His work is founded on the belief in equal opportunity and the importance of the personal relationship between educators and students. David is interested in advancing the connection between academics and educational practice by developing professional training programs for staff working in non-formal education.
Uri Kandel is an educator and social entrepreneur. Until recently, he was the executive director of Shared Paths, a nonprofit organization working to advance a Jewish-Arab shared society by means of social tourism in Arab towns. Previously, Uri served as senior advisor on social and economic policy issues to the director general of Israel’s National Insurance Institute. He was one of the founders of the Kaima ecological farm in Beit Zayit, where he helped develop a unique pedagogy for work with children and youth. In recent years, Uri has led the establishment of "Beit HaYa'ar" ("forest school") in the Galilee, where learning is situated in real life, and children learn to understand themselves through their dialogical interactions with their human and natural environment and their unmediated encounters with nature. Uri holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Tel Aviv University and a master’s degree in public policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is interested in models of educational renewal that focus on skills for healthy belonging and shared living, introspection, and responsibility for oneself and society.
Haggai Lavie is an educator and social activist. Most recently, he served as chief of staff for the Minister for Community Empowerment and Advancement. Previously, he headed the principals’ division at Avney Rosha – the Israel Institute for School Leadership, and served as vice principal of Boyar high school in Jerusalem, where he was a partner in a pedagogical reform and a member of the Ministry of Education's future-oriented pedagogy laboratory. He also served as deputy director of the security division of the Prime Minister's Office. Haggai holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a master’s degree in Jewish education, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is interested in innovative methods of teaching and assessment, in the structure of the teaching position, and in adapting them to the 21st century so they can serve as an alternative to the current methods in Israel’s education system.
Einat Levy is an educator. Most recently, she served as an Oral Torah (“Toshba”) mentor for the central district of the Ministry of Education’s state-religious education system, and as the director of the Ministry’s Oral Torah unit. In this capacity, she initiated the establishment and development of the central district’s Oral Torah division, based on the belief that this subject plays an important role in shaping students’ identity and resilience, and on her desire to challenge ideas that have become entrenched in Israeli formal education. Einat was also responsible for managing the central district’s team of Oral Torah instructors, for the professional development of the district’s Oral Torah teachers, and for the development of educational programs and pedagogical materials. Previously, Einat was a teacher of Talmud and worked for the Israel Association of Community Centers as director of the heritage division of the Neve Eliyahu community center in Rishon Letzion. Einat holds a bachelor’s degree in Israel studies and a master’s degree in Talmud, both from Bar-Ilan University. She is also a graduate of the Petichta program for Talmud studies at Matan—The Sadie Rennert Women’s Institute for Torah Studies. Einat is interested in the ways in which areas of knowledge help shape the identity and resilience of students; in the emerging field of SEL (social-emotional learning); and in innovative pedagogies that are adapted to the different and changing needs of students and teachers.
Roee Lifshitz is an educator. Most recently, he was the principal of the Zin elementary school at Midreshet Ben-Gurion in the Negev. In this capacity, he led the “Learning Powers” initiative, which is designed to promote teaching and education that are geared and adapted to the 21st century. Prior to that, Roee was a homeroom teacher at the school and ran the boarding school of the Environmental Education High School. Roee believes in the integration of formal and non-formal education, based on the idea that good education sees all facets of a person. Roee holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy, economics, and political science, and a master's degree in business administration, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is a graduate of the Avney Rosha training program for school principals. Roee is interested in how to define goals in education and in designing the school system in a manner that can achieve those goals.
Anat Maoz is an educator and educational manager who works to promote gender equality in education. In her most recent position, she led the establishment of the junior high school of the Israel Arts and Sciences Academy and served as the principal of the school. Anat believes that junior high school is a crucial period in personal development. Her work as principal was driven by the desire to enable students to construct their identity by looking inward and outward, while engaging in collaborative work and self-motivated study and exercising choice. Previously, Anat was a biology teacher, an instructor in gifted student programs, and a tour guide. Anat holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in zoology, both from Tel Aviv University, and is a graduate of the Avney Rosha training program for school principals. She is interested in deepening the understanding of the interface between biology and education, exploring how brain science can contribute to education, and discovering how the interface between biology and education is connected to emotional and social intelligence.
Maia Morag is an educator who is involved in Jewish Renaissance Movement in Israel and the United States. In her most recent position, Maia was the director of content development in the Jewish Agency’s Shlichut Institute, where she was responsible for content development and training emissaries for their work in the Jewish world. Previously, Maia was the director of the education department at BINA – The Jewish Movement for Social Change. She was also a Jewish Agency emissary in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she was in charge of developing and implementing a strategy for Israel Education in the Jewish community. Among other roles, Maia taught, led groups, and lectured on Judaism and Israeli Society, both in Israel and abroad. Maia holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and communication from Tel Aviv University and a master’s degree in Jewish studies from the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. She is interested in exploring various possibilities for creating spaces that enable identity exploration, and aspires to promote dialogic discourse in Israel’s education system.
Tali Perlson is an educator and an educational consultant. Most recently, she was the principal of the community elementary school in Tekoa, which is attended by both secular and religious students. Over the years, Tali worked in various educational roles in high schools. These included teaching positions, educational consulting positions, and organizational consulting positions. Tali holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew literature, a master’s degree in educational counseling, and a second master’s degree in organizational consulting – all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition, she is a certified group leader and facilitator, a graduate of the Program for Organizational Consultation and Development (POCD) using a psychoanalytic-systemic approach, and is a graduate of the Avney Rosha training program for school principals. Tali is interested in the contribution of psychoanalysis to the educational system and its personnel. She seeks to develop and enhance work methods in schools – which are a common social, therapeutic, and educational arena – to create a space that enables the unique development of each student.
Omer Pickholtz is an educator, manager, and entrepreneur. After working in various field positions in NOAM, the Israeli Masorti youth movement, he served as secretary general of the movement. Following this, he was the vice president of the Yuvalim Community Council in Jerusalem and ran its chain of community centers in the Southwest of the city. In recent years, Omer founded and directed urban hotels for Free Independent Travelers (FITs) in Israel, and advised entrepreneurs in the field of tourism in Israel and abroad. Omer holds a bachelor's degree in law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master's degree in business administration from Bar-Ilan University. He wishes to bring about a deep transformation in gender perceptions in Israeli society by means of educational processes and by promoting changes in organizational and occupational perceptions within the public and business sectors that will influence equal opportunity in Israeli society.
Reut Shalev is an educator. In recent years, she was the principal of the HILA Malkishua high school, which provides complementary education for disengaged youth and is located at Neve Malkishua, an addiction treatment center in Northern Israel. In this capacity, Reut developed tools for organizing learning and adapting it for at risk teenagers, young adults, and adults. Together with the school’s staff, Reut led an initiative to create an individually-tailored learning environment for each student, which encourages and cultivates individual capability, in the spirit of therapeutic pedagogy. Reut holds a bachelor’s degree in Hebrew literature and in journalism and communication from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in cognitive studies of language use from Tel-Aviv University. She also holds a teaching certificate in literature from Herzog College and a certificate in language editing from David Yellin College. Reut is interested in creating tools that will decrease school drop-out rates and will assist in identifying students who are dealing with difficulties and fully including them in their community schools.
Obour Taha-Reziq is a social worker. Most recently, she served as the director of a community center in the town of Yafa an-Naseriyye in the Lower Galilee. In that capacity, she was involved in promoting culture, art, volunteering, and non-formal education programs, and managed emergency situation rooms, including during the coronavirus crisis. Obour also served as vice chair of the Forum of Arab Community Center Directors in the Israeli Association of Community Centers – The IACC, and participated in national forums for promoting community resilience in Arab society. Previously, she worked as a social worker in the welfare department in the Municipality of Nazareth. Obour also worked as a community facilitator on behalf of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs; consulted to 21 Arab local authorities as part of the Ministry of the Interior’s “Cities Without Violence” program; and mentored social work students at the University of Haifa and Tel-Hai College. Alongside her social and academic work, Obour has served as a member of the management of Ossim Shalom (Social Workers for Peace and Welfare), and has been active in organizations promoting coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Obour holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and from the University of Haifa respectively. She is also a graduate of Neve Shalom’s School for Peace, which trains facilitators of groups in conflict. Obour is interested in working on social branding and tourism marketing for Arab localities, and hopes to twin Arab and Jewish towns and cities in order to strengthen residents’ sense of local belonging and improve their socioeconomic standing.
Naomi Toledano Kandel is a media professional and spokesperson. Most recently, she served as spokesperson for President Reuven Rivlin. In this capacity, she was involved in leading the president’s Israeli Hope initiative, which was designed to foster partnership between all the different tribes that make up Israeli society. Naomi began her career in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, where she served in a range of roles working with the Israeli and international media, and was involved in running the Unit’s headquarters. She has also worked in news production for the Associated Press (AP) both in Israel and abroad, which equipped her with tools for shaping media messages in the age of breaking news. Naomi holds a bachelor’s degree in general and comparative literature and in communication and journalism from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in diplomacy and security from Tel Aviv University. She is interested in driving social change in Israel by creating a platform for post-high school service suitable for every young person, and in advancing national, military, and civilian service as a means for reducing division between Israel’s tribes and building connections between all sectors of Israeli society.
Itay Weiss is an educator. In his most recent position, he was the head of the High School at Yeshivat AMIT Amichai in Rehovot, and mentored pedagogical leaders who work for the AMIT network. Within the context of his work, he developed an innovative pedagogical language called “Bina” (intelligence), which seeks to shape identity by combining educational, emotional, and pedagogical aspects of learning into a complete and coherent educational language. Bina emphasizes three principles: development of independent learners, collaborative learning, and deep learning. Itay holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and literature and a master's degree in education, both from Bar-Ilan University, and is a graduate of the Avney Rosha training program for school principals. He strives to transform schools into an environment for personal growth, by creating processes of learning and assessment in addition to social and emotional development.
Lior Zorno-Hefetz is a social entrepreneur and leader. In her most recent position, she served as the CEO of Tozeret Ha’aretz, a nonprofit movement building young communities of students and young adults in Israel’s geo-social periphery. In this capacity, Lior formed young communities throughout Israel, representing all sectors of Israeli society, including secular, religious, Ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, and Bedouin. As part of her work, she pioneered and advanced the creation of infrastructures for education, culture, employment, and housing for young adults and young families in those areas. Lior holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and a master’s degree in organizational consulting and development from the College of Management Academic Studies. Lior is a graduate of the Maoz leadership program. Lior is interested in working towards reducing the gaps between Israel’s periphery and center by improving the services provided by local authorities in the periphery for young adults and creating the needed community infrastructure to build a future for young people in those areas.
Talya Zuroff is an educator. Since 2018, she has been the coordinator of special programs for at-risk students at the Harel high school in Mevaseret Zion and served as a member of the school's management team. In this capacity, she was involved in the establishment of the school’s new technological education branch, which opens employment opportunities for at-risk students, and served as its director. In all these settings, Talya worked to ensure the provision of responses that are closely tailored to the needs of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and to create new opportunities for them. She also worked to expand the services that the school provides to vulnerable students in Mevaseret Zion. Previously, Talya served as a grade coordinator at the school. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish history and Jewish philosophy from Tel-Aviv University, and a master’s degree in public policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Talya is interested in working on school services for at-risk students, and in creating a framework for academic and practical training for teachers who work with them.
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