Graduates of Cohort 27 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership celebrated the completion of their two years of study in a graduation ceremony that took place in the presence of Moshe Vigdor, director-general of the Mandel Foundation–Israel, and Danny Bar Giora, director of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership. The ceremony was scaled down and took place in the open air at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, in compliance with Israel's coronavirus regulations.
“If Mort Mandel were to be standing here today, he would be very moved, and would tell you how proud he is of you,” said
Moshe Vigdor, director general of the Mandel Foundation–Israel, speaking to the graduates. “We continue to fulfill Mort’s legacy, and ensure that fellows receive everything they need in order to develop, find their path, define their vision, and be prepared for the professional challenges that await them. This, however, comes with a set of expectations. You are embarking on your life's mission during an extremely difficult period, as you set out to contribute to society, to the community, and to education. We can see that you are meeting these expectations, and are very proud of the achievements of our graduates in the field. We all wish you every success, and hope that we will become even more proud of you as your accomplishments grow.”
Danny Bar Giora, director of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, addressed the graduating fellows and said: “You have returned to the world of practice during one of the most challenging periods of the modern age.… The implications of working during this time are weightier for people in positions such as principals, leaders, and educators; those who bear responsibility for others. You have great responsibility of protecting the delicate human fabric, keeping it connected, alive, breathing, and beating,” he said. “It is very difficult to plan for the long term, making it is necessary to be flexible in the face of constantly changing realities, and it is challenging to remain a lightning rod to support those who currently encounter difficulties…. In order to cope with these challenges, you must first take care of yourselves, mainly by sharpening your ability to read reality accurately.… Your task is great, and the expectations of you are very high.”
Itamar Tass, speaking on behalf of the graduating fellows, spoke about the Mandelian concept of learning, and the unique ways in which it takes place at the Mandel School. “At Mandel, we were required to manage the tension between the Mandelian learning in the school and the noise and chaos outside the school – the noise from the world from which we came and to which we knew we would return. We were given the time to learn, but we requested, as much as possible, to learn in a manner that does not focus in on itself. We asked for the time and space to look at the world and our work through different lenses. This learning gave us the understanding that acting in the real world requires treading lightly, exercising caution, and behaving with humility. Inevitably, we have changed as a result of our Mandelian learning. Our perspectives have expanded and have shifted thanks to the ability to view the world through 19 pairs of eyes,” he said.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the ceremony was held outdoors at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, in the open air on a beautiful autumn day. Located alongside the new Mandel Foundation building, the Botanical Gardens currently serves as a second home for Mandel fellows, who are able to attend in-person group learning sessions in the open space that it affords. The ceremony was also broadcast online, for those who were unable to attend.