News & Events

A Time to Teach: Teacher Certification and Educational Leadership for War Evacuees

The Mandel Foundation–Israel and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem conducted a joint program in teacher certification and educational leadership for Gaza War evacuees from Israel's north and south

Three participants sitting in a classroom

Following the horrific Hamas attack on Israeli communities in Israel’s south on October 7, 2023, the State of Israel was plunged into one of the most difficult periods in its history. Alongside the staggering numbers of killed and injured, and the continuing tragedy of over 130 remaining hostages, over 200,000 Israelis were evacuated and uprooted from their communities in the north and south of the country, their lives upended.

“A Time to Teach” – a collaboration of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership and the Hebrew University’s Department of Teacher Training in the Seymour Fox School of Education – is a unique teacher training program tailored for evacuees who were cut off from their places of work, many of whom have yet to return home. Led by Dr. Tali Asher, a faculty member of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, and Elan Ruppin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, this full-scholarship program, which is now drawing to a close, is an intensive teacher training track with an emphasis on educational leadership.

Seven participants on a field trip

The program was designed to enrich the educational system in the periphery with new educators who have earned a teaching certificate from the Hebrew University’s prestigious school of education while at the same time benefitting from the educational leadership curriculum of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, thus becoming potential future educational leaders.

The program incorporates theoretical and hands-on learning, with two days of study each week at the Hebrew University, one day a week of online learning, and one day a week at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership.

Three women participating in educational activity with paper and pens

The participants have demonstrated a strong commitment to the training process and great interest in the content. Selected from a pool of applicants who responded to a call for candidates, they form a diverse group in terms of age, gender and geography. Their academic backgrounds are wide-ranging, and include psychology, government, biology, humanities and more. Participants in the program are evacuees from as far north as Metula and Kiryat Shmona on the Lebanese border and from Sederot and Kibbutz Mefalsim in the Gaza border region.

A map indicating the places in the north and south from which the participants were evacuatedThe geographic distribution of the participants. (Each dot represents one participant)

Each with their own story, the participants, when taken together, represent the current story of Israeli society. One of the participants had planned to move abroad for two years and had already quit her job, but canceled her plans when the war broke out as she felt she needed to help strengthen the country in this time of crisis. Another participant, a social worker, was motivated to join the program because she felt that her experience and knowledge could help students who have experienced overwhelming events due to the war.

The participants have been highly appreciative of the program and have shared that the learning experience gives them a sense of home, purpose and meaning. One participant described the program as an "anchor"​ during these uncertain times.

Program participants have now completed the Mandel portion of the program at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, where they learned about educational identity, neuro-pedagogy, diversity of teaching methods, inequality in the education system and more. They will continue their training at Hebrew University and in the field until July, at which point they will receive their certification as educators and enter the field of education equipped with in-depth knowledge of the Israeli periphery, a deep understanding of the needs of the hour and a strong sense of mission.

Group photo of the program participants ​ ​ The program participants (left to right): Elan Ruppin (program co-director), Yael Farkash, Sima Gabbai, Dr. Tali Asher (program co-director), Perakh Even Tzur, Liya Abramzon, Chen Luria, Sagie Shmueli, Assaf Sofer, Amit Solter, Alva Cohen, Yael Levi, Yifat Adrei, Smadar Simcha Dehan, Ilon Messer, and Shiri Mittelberg.