Fellows


Cohort 30

OCTOBER 2021–AUGUST 2023

 

Rona Amram Nativ

Rona Amram Nativ

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

Keren Apfelbaum Riff

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

Daniel Chendler

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

Ohad Hoffman

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

David Kalaf

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

Uri Kandel

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

Haggai Lavie

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

Einat Levy

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

Roee Lifshitz

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

Anat Maoz

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

Maia Morag

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

Tali Perlson

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

Omer Pickholtz

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

Reut Shalev

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

Obour Taha-Reziq

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

Naomi Toledano Kandel

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

Itay Weiss

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

Lior Zorno-Hefetz

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

Talya Zuroff

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.


 

Cohort 31

OCTOBER 2023–AUGUST 2025

 

Rafah Anabtawy

Rafah Anabtawy

Rafah Anabtawy is a social worker, organizational consultant, feminist and social activist. In her most recent position, she served as the director of the Kayan Feminist Organization, which works for social justice and the advancement of women. In this capacity, Rafah was responsible for managing the organization, realizing its goals, objectives, and vision, training staff, developing content and projects, managing the budget, and coordinating development and fundraising. Rafah’s work is driven by a commitment to human rights and social justice. She began her career as a group facilitator,focusing on human rights, women’s status, and community and social engagement, and directed a regional day center for drug addicts. She then became involved in feminist activism, and both founded and coordinated the community work department at Kayan. Rafah holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in social work and organizational managementfrom the University of Haifa. She’salso completed international courses in conflict resolution, human rights, minority rights, and gender. Rafah is particularly interested in promoting values-based education, human rights, and gender equality, and developing intervention models that integrate academic knowledge and practical experience.


Adiel Bar Shalom

Adiel Bar Shalom

Adiel Bar Shalom is an educator. In his most recent position, he managed the Neve Amiel youth village in Sde Yaakov. In this capacity, he assisted at-risk youth who had dropped out of formal education frameworks to get back on track, helping them emerge from the process prepared for life’s challenges. Previously, he served as the head of the social engagement department of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, as the national coordinator of the Afikim education program, and as a member of the management team of Simcha Layeled, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of disabled and seriously ill children. Adiel believes that love, trust, inclusion, and dedicated work are the foundations of educational work. He holds an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in social science and humanities from Ariel University, and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from the University of Haifa. Adiel is an armored corps officer in the IDF reserves and is a graduate of the Torus Group’s Mastery for Game Changers leadership development program for senior executives. His goal is to promote education and welfare in Israel.


Yehonatan Bensimon

Yehonatan Bensimon

Yehonatan Bensimon is an educator with a rich and diverse background. In his most recent position, he served for six years as the founding principal of the Beit Ekstein middle school on Moshav Yad Rambam, where he provided services to young people with complex emotional and psychological difficulties. Previously, he worked as a teacher and pedagogical coordinator at the Branco Weiss high school for at-risk youth in Ramla, and trained and mentored teachers in the Teach First Israel (TFI) program. As principal of Beit Ekstein, Yehonatan, together with the school staff, established a special therapeutic-educational space that aimed to provide personalized learning and treatment processes tailored to the unique needs of every student. These processes are grounded in the belief that growth and healing for these adolescents are possible in an environment that provides staff with learning experiences, guidance, and emotional support. Yehonatan believes in the integration of adolescents with complex emotional and psychological difficulties into community life, out of confidence not only in their ability to integrate but also in the communities’ potential benefit from the integration of people with special needs. A graduate of the Revivim program for excellence in Jewish studies teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Jewish studies and a master’s degree in Jewish history. Yehonatan is interested in innovative methods for the integration of adolescents with special needs in pre-military frameworks and subsequently into military or civilian national service.


Haim Bitton

Haim Bitton

Haim Bitton is an educator, social entrepreneur, and historian with a longstanding commitment to the communities of the Gaza border region. He has been active in towns and kibbutzim there for years, working in non-formal education with both normative and at-risk youth, running leadership groups for social activists, and teaching at the Sha’ar HaNegev high school. Haim has also been involved in academic research, studying the history of Jews in Muslim countries, and has received recognition and awards for his contribution to this field. He holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies from Sapir Academic College, and a master’s degree in Jewish history and a doctorate in Israel studies, both from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Haim is interested in education policy in Israel, with particular emphasis on the country’s geographic and socioeconomic periphery. He also aspires to promote equal opportunities, enhance the quality of teaching, and strengthen the connection between academia and the community.


Naama Cohen

Naama Cohen

In her most recent position, Naama Cohen managed the Ministry of Education’s five-year plans for teaching staff within the Arab education system in Israel. By fostering collaborations and developing relationships between professionals in the field and the Ministry’s headquarters, she identified the challenges facing teaching staff and developed strategic solutions for improving the quality of teaching in Arab education. Naama’s earlier professional experience included roles in pluralistic Jewish education, pre-army civilian service programs, and parliamentary consultation in the Knesset. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she joined Culture of Solidarity, a community that was established at the time in order to promote mutual support and social solidarity. Today this community serves as her ideological home and center for activism, and she manages its programming for senior citizens. Naama holds a bachelor’s degree cum laude in philosophy, economics, and political science, and the Amirim program for outstanding students in the humanities, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as a master’s degree in business administration and urban planning. During her studies, she established an interfaith Beit Midrash at Hebrew University. Naama works to promote social responsibility and equal opportunity, and to reduce inequalities. She is interested in delving more deeply into activist pedagogy with the goal of maximizing the social impact of the education system.


Itay Dahan

Itay Dahan

Itay Dahan is an entrepreneur with diverse managerial background in both the public and private sectors. He has served as chief executive officer of the Omer municipal authority, founded and directed the startup company Formation Knowledge and Task Management, and held command and training positions in the Israel Air Force. Itay holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from Bar-Ilan University. Deeply familiar with the complexities and heavy workload faced by managers at all levels, he aims to improve relations between government ministries and organizations on the ground, in order to facilitate broad and systemic improvements in nationwide systems.


Roula Daqa

Roula Daqa

Roula Daqa is an educator and administrator. She worked as a teacher at the Abu Tor boys’ elementary school and was principal of the Excellence High School for Girls in Wadi al-Joz, Jerusalem. During her tenure as a principal, the school’s student population experienced significant growth. As principal, Roula believed in the power of skilled and talented educational staff and built a personalized professional training and development program for every teacher. Roula was later appointed to oversee the high school education system in East Jerusalem on behalf of the Jerusalem Education Administration (Manhi), and served as a teacher-training coordinator who was responsible for the professional development of the instructors in the district. Roula holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, anthropology, and education, and a master’s degree in special education, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She believes in the power of the teaching profession, and particularly in the ability of teachers to build a picture of the future for their students that will fill them with hope and open up new horizons.


Shir Elkayam Luzzatto

Shir Elkayam Luzzatto

Shir Elkayam Luzzatto is an entrepreneur, lecturer, and manager. Most recently, she was founding director of the MaofTech Western Negev Accelerator for StartUps, providing support to technological startups in the periphery, under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the BDO strategic consulting company. Additionally, she has served as a lecturer on entrepreneurship and innovation at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, delivering innovative courses in both Hebrew and English at the Faculty of Business and Management. Shir has considerable experience in senior management and has provided strategic business consulting to Israeli and international companies, public agencies, entrepreneurs, and startups. She is an active member of several advisory boards for companies and government offices. Shir holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from Tel Aviv University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Masuot honors track at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.


Chilik Farber

Chilik Farber

Chilik Farber is an educator and therapist who is active in Israel’s social periphery and strives for equal opportunities for members of that population group. In his most recent position at the Jerusalem municipality’s Youth Promotion Division, Chilik helped revitalize Jerusalem’s northern neighborhoods and contributed to expanding the division’s infrastructure in the city center. In this capacity, he led development and team-building processes, and was involved in on-the-ground management and in efforts to advance the service recipients. Previously, Chilik was the principal of the Mishkenotecha Yisrael educational-therapeutic boarding school, where he helped students acquire essential tools related to areas such as higher education, personal development, social engagement, mutual contribution, and life skills. Chilik was also the deputy director of a unique post-hospitalization residential facility for Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) psychiatric patients, working to implement effective work processes and to develop collaborations between this population and Haredi influencers and decision-makers. Today he runs training and workshops for educators who are working with at-risk youth. Chilik holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and humanities from the Open University, and a master’s degree in public policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A member of the Haredi community, he is committed to leading deeply influential processes within the community and in Israeli society.


Gidi Grunberg

Gidi Grunberg

Gidi Grunberg is an educator and social entrepreneur. In recent years, he served as a pedagogical coordinator at Ankori High School in Tel Aviv, where he was a member of the school’s management team. Previously, he introduced and coordinated the Shachar classes for at risk students at the Ironi Hey public high school in Modi’in, where he was involved in establishing the upper grades. Gidi’s roots are in non-formal education and working with at-risk youth. He managed the Proud Youth Center in Tel Aviv and founded the religious youth network of IGY – The Proud Youth Organization (Israel Gay Youth). In recent years, he has worked in the national religious community to promote education for tolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community. Gidi holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in education from Beit Berl College and a master’s degree in educational systems management from Kibbutzim College. He is also a graduate of the Avney Rosha school principal training program. Gidi’s goal is to work for the benefit of LGBTQ+ students and establish a holistic educational-therapeutic system aimed at promoting resilience and leadership within the LGBTQ+ community.


Adaya Kedmi Smama

Adaya Kedmi Smama

Adaya Kedmi Smama is an educator. For the four years leading up to her fellowship at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, she served as the director of the social leadership pre-military academy in Paran in the Arava. In this capacity, she worked to make pre-military academies more accessible to youth from Israel’s social and geographical periphery. In recent years, she has also been active in promoting meaningful encounters between diverse populations in Israel. Adaya holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Jewish studies, a master’s degree in Jewish education, and a teaching certificate, all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Hebrew University’s Revivim program for outstanding Jewish educators, and the Amitei Tzedek Partners in Justice program for Jewish-Israeli leadership, run by Memizrach Shemesh – Kol Yisrael Haverim. Adaya aims to work toward the establishment of a high-quality public education system in Israel’s periphery. She believes in integrating practices from the field of non-formal education into the state education system and wants to develop tools for creating school environments that encourage independence, initiative, and creativity among educators, teachers, and students.


Sasha Klyachkina

Sasha Klyachkina

Sasha Klyachkina works in non-formal education and group facilitation, and serves as an officiant at secular Jewish wedding ceremonies. In recent years, she has been involved in Jewish education in Israel and the diaspora, training educators and engaging in various activities related to Judaism. Some of the recent projects she has managed include the Jewish Agency’s Annual Leadership Educational Forum (ALEF), a professional community for directors of Russian-speaking Jewish summer camps in the Diaspora and in Israel, and a project providing psychological support to summer camps in the former Soviet Union, following the conflict in Ukraine. Prior to that, Sasha served as an emissary to the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Melbourne, Australia for three years. Sasha is a committed social activist who is involved in many educational and social endeavors, including the Guild Project, an educational business accelerator for new immigrant education professionals. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and film and television from Tel Aviv University, a certificate in group facilitation in a multicultural society from Beit Berl College, and a master’s degree in experiential Israel education from George Washington University. Sasha is interested in researching the interaction between formal and non-formal education, in providing teachers with non-formal education tools, and in integrating non-formal education models into public schools.


Ron Pollak

Ron Pollak

Ron Pollak is an educator. In his most recent position, he served as the principal of the Dor experimental technological high school in Herzliya and also mentored school principals at the beginning of their careers. In his role as principal, he introduced a unique “journey pedagogy,” in which students learn in real-life settings by means of journeys that enable continuous and prolonged learning and create holistic connections between academic, emotional, and social dimensions. Ron holds a bachelor’s degree in democratic education from Kibbutzim College and a master’s degree in education management and leadership from Tel Aviv University. He is also graduate of the Avney Rosha school principal training program. Ron believes that public education plays a central role in breaking the cycle of marginalization and in creating conditions that foster social mobility for vulnerable groups in society. He is interested in exploring ways in which the education system and other actors can promote training programs that will be relevant for training workers for the high-tech sector.


Tal Rokach

Tal Rokach

Tal Rokach served for 28 years in Israel’s defense system, where he held a variety of senior management and command roles both in the field and at headquarters. A person of the outdoors, he is closely tied to the trails of Israel, and believes in education in nature and in desert environments. Tal holds a bachelor's degree with distinction in business administration from Ono College and a master's degree with distinction in education management and leadership from Tel Aviv University. He aspires to reduce gaps within Israeli society and to increase integration among diverse public systems. Tal believes in combining formal and non-formal education, with a particular emphasis on values and moral education, which he sees as providing a broad and important foundation for all individuals, especially within Israeli society.


Tzruia Schwaiger

Tzruia Schwaiger

Tzruia Schwaiger is a social worker by training. In her most recent position, she was the director of the community center in the Emek HaMa’ayanot regional council. In this capacity, she led initiatives in the fields of social education, culture, and excellence in music, dance, and sports, focusing on communality as an agent of change. Alongside this role, Tzruia led leadership development courses in the region’s various communities, which were designed to identify young people who can assume responsibility and lead processes within their communities. Previously, she was director of the northern district of the Israeli Volunteer Association’s national civilian service programs, which enable young people who are exempt from military service to engage in meaningful community service. Tzruia holds a bachelor’s degree in grief and trauma counselling from Sapir College, and a master’s degree in organizational consulting for educational and business institutions from Ono Academic College. She is interested in acquiring tools that can contribute to developing academic excellence in the periphery and to promoting equal opportunities in research and development in remote towns and villages.


Yonatan Shachar

Yonatan Shachar

Yonatan Shachar is a therapist and a manager. In his most recent position, under the auspices of the prison rehabilitation authority, he established and managed a holistic center for youth and young adults who had recently been released from prison, the first initiative of its kind in Israel. In this capacity, he worked extensively to change policy regarding the rehabilitation of minors post-incarceration, and developed innovative treatment, education, and rehabilitation models for this population. Over the past 18 years, he has worked with highly at-risk populations in various therapeutic, educational, and managerial roles. Yonatan holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ashkelon College, and a master’s degree in social work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His professional path is guided by the belief that every young person deserves the opportunity to make a fresh start, and that it is the system’s responsibility to provide the best possible services. Yonatan is interested in continuing to work on behalf of at-risk youths while creating innovative models for this work, alongside the development of new, high-quality holistic frameworks that facilitate social mobility.


Chen Shamir

Chen Shamir

Chen Shamir is an educational entrepreneur and trailblazer in the field of young adults. As a member of Kibbutz Dror Israel, a kibbutz of education professionals, he established non-formal education frameworks for youth and young adults, founded the Rujum young adults community network, and developed a pedagogical approach tailored to post-adolescence. In his role as vice president of educational content and strategic development at Tozeret Haaretz, he oversaw a system comprising dozens of community support workers, managers, and others operating in a diverse range of communities across the country, including secular, national religious, Haredi Jewish, and Arab communities. Chen holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and management from the Martin Buber Center for Dialogue at Beit Berl College. He aspires to be a leading partner in creating educational programs for younger and older adults in Israel, and to establish free national institutions that provide opportunities for every individual to undergo personal development while strengthening their sense of belonging and social connection.


Elior Turgeman

Elior Turgeman

Elior Turgeman is an educator and community leader. In his most recent position, he was the principal of the Shorashim Arts School, an integrative state-religious elementary school in south Tel Aviv, which was on the brink of closure and is now one of the leading schools in Israel. This success is due to the innovative and unique pedagogical approach he developed, which includes a synthesis of core studies, religious studies, and study of the arts. Elior was awarded the National Education Prize in 2023. He has dedicated his adult life to promoting education together with the community and to helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds break through glass ceilings. Previously, he served as principal of a middle school in Tel Aviv, founded and directed a non-profit organization aiding children in Jaffa, and served as a community rabbi in Kiryat Ekron. Elior holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Herzog College, both cum laude, specializing in Bible and Talmudic studies and educational systems management respectively. He is also a graduate of the Avney Rosha school principal training program. Elior aims to address issues of integration in the education system as a microcosm of Israeli society, with a focus on reducing inequality and providing emotional, social, and pedagogical support to marginalized populations.


Uriya Yakut Zini

Uriya Yakut Zini

Uriya Zini is an education professional dedicated to bridging the theory-practice gap while working to implement ideas and concepts in everyday reality. In her most recent position, she worked at the Adva Center, an extra-academic research institute working for social policy change, where she managed the training system and the development of community education tools, and coordinated the Center’s community work. Within this role, she developed and managed various programs for diverse communities, with the aim of promoting just and equitable policies and increasing participation in public decision-making processes and resource allocation. She also led and supported educational and social projects that served as a basis for policy papers. Uriya has extensive experience in group facilitation, dialogue meetings, and working with various communities, and served as a teaching assistant for four years at the Hebrew University’s Seymour Fox School of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree cum laude from Tel-Hai Academic College, where she majored in education and philosophy studies, and a master’s degree in philosophy of education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Uriya is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the field of education policy by researching issues related to diversity and representation (recognition justice) and the implementation of equal opportunities in education (distributive justice).


David Zarfati

David Zarfati

David Zarfati is an educator, manager, and leader, who is a commander, teacher, and social activist in military, formal and non-formal educational settings. In his most recent job, he was a training school commander in the Israel Border Police. In this role and in various other positions, he developed values-based leadership approaches, engaged in planning and management, and helped to develop hundreds of worthy and highly moral commanders. David holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from the University of Haifa and a master’s degree in education from Bar-Ilan University’s program for leadership and education systems management. He also holds a teaching certificate in Bible studies from Kibbutzim College and a diploma in mediation from the Goma Israeli Center for Mediation. David believes in integrating formal and non-formal education, based on the principle that “it takes a village to raise a child.” He wants to serve marginalized populations in Israel and believes that education that is tailored to meet diverse needs is the key for providing social mobility for every child in Israel.