News & Events

Shmuel Benalal (1954-2015)

​The Mandel community mourns the passing of our friend, Shmuel Benalal, who was murdered in the Mali terrorist attack

​Shmuel Benalal moved to Israel from Venezuela and was one of the earliest residents of Tzur Hadassa, near Jerusalem. An expert in educational consulting, training and management, he was CEO of the Telos Group, a consulting firm specializing in educational and social international development. Among other projects, Shmuel participated in development initiatives of the World Bank, the European Union, UNICEF and UNESCO, and consulted for Jewish communities in several countries, as well as governments in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and South-East Asia.

Shmuel was a graduate of cohort 2 of the Mandel Jerusalem Fellows. After completing his studies, he engaged in developing Jewish education abroad, and was principal of the Tarbut day school in Mexico. He wrote curricula and served as an academic advisor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also authored handbooks on educational planning, school development, the role of parent committees in education and the integration of children with disabilities into educational frameworks.

At the Mandel Foundation, Shmuel directed from 1997 to 1999 the Intensive Development Programs (IDP) for senior professionals from abroad, which ran alongside the Mandel Jerusalem Fellows. In recent years he was a member of the tutoring development team headed by Dr. Daniel Marom, and led workshops for Mandel fellows. This year, in addition to developing the workshop for first-year fellows, Shmuel became one of the tutors for the project workshop of the Mandel Programs for Leadership Development in the Haredi Community. Together with the director of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership, Danny Bar Giora, he also took part in a consulting project for Ministry of Education staff.

Over the years, Shmuel served as personal tutor to many Mandel fellows. He was loved and valued by those he tutored and by his colleagues, and was always generous in sharing his wisdom, experience and good-naturedness. One of the fellows he was tutoring this year mourned him with lines from Bialik:

“There was a man – and look, he is no more.
He died before his time.
The music of his life suddenly stopped.
A pity!  There was another song in him.
Now it is lost forever.”

Shmuel saw his educational work as a Jewish and Zionist undertaking. He was a man of culture, both Jewish and universal. He was a synagogue cantor and was active in a choir. He also volunteered in a number of different settings, including consulting for the Hapoel Jerusalem youth basketball team, on which his son, Netanel, played.

Shmuel was 60 when he was struck down by terror. He leaves behind his wife, Flori, and his children, Asher, Avi and Netanel. We mourn his passing with great sorrow and send our deepest condolences to his family. May his memory be blessed.