The annual Mandel graduation ceremony marked the culmination of studies for the twenty fellows of cohort 22 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership. The ceremony, which took place on October 19 at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, was attended by the chairman of the Mandel Foundation, Mr. Morton Mandel, the president of the Mandel Foundation, Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, the director-general of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, Mr. Moshe Vigdor, the director of the Mandel Leadership Institute and vice-president of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, Dr. Eli Gottlieb, and the IDF chief education officer, Brig. Gen. Avner Paz-Tzuk.
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett thanked the Mandel Foundation and Mr. Mandel for many years of successful cooperation with the ministry. “The education system expects Mandel graduates to take the initiative and lead change,” he said, in a recorded address shown at the ceremony. “You are a tremendous blessing for the State of Israel and for the future of education in the country".
The twenty graduates of cohort 22 of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership completed two years of study at the School—a collaborative venture of the Mandel Foundation-Israel and the Ministry of Education—whose aim is to provide Israel’s education system with visionary leaders who have the passion, commitment and practical wisdom to change Israeli society for the better.
In his remarks, Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, president of the Mandel Foundation, wished the graduates much success in coping with the increasing challenges facing Israeli society, and the great changes it is undergoing. Reinharz reviewed the achievements of Mandel graduates over the years. “The driving force behind all these accomplishments is the commitment and vision, over many years, of the founder, leader, and chairman of the Mandel Foundation—Morton Mandel. Thanks to him, this annual contribution to leadership in Israel, the latest of which we are celebrating here today, will continue for many generations.”
Speaking on behalf of cohort 22, Dr. Gish Amit related some of his experiences during two years at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership: “What did it mean for me, for us, to be a Mandel fellow? First and foremost, perhaps, the possibility to change, to shed beliefs I had held for such a long time. I learned to listen without judging; I learned the extent to which tolerance is the hallmark of the educator.”
Dr. Eli Gottlieb, director of the Mandel Leadership Institute, and vice-president of the Mandel Foundation-Israel, referred to the weekly Torah portion, and compared the journey of the graduating fellows to the journey Abram made to Canaan. “You too are setting off into the unknown, leaving behind the familiar and the obvious, and moving away from your comfort zones,” he said. “My wish for all of you is that your own journeys bring you, as the Torah commentator Rashi comments, 'personal pleasure and benefit', but also that these journeys will, as the Torah continues, ‘bring blessings to all the families of the world.’”
The final speaker was Mr. Mandel himself. “Imagine how I feel standing here, with my name up there, part of the name of this Institute,” he said. “It’s a great honor for me to work in partnership with people like you, and I’ll be proud of doing so for the rest of my life.”
Minister Naftali Bennett's greetings