Executive Leadership Program Cohort IV: Israel Seminar

Fellows from Cohort IV of the Executive Leadership Program, along with four fellows from Cohort II, traveled to Israel in May for an eight-day study tour. Traveling to Jerusalem, the Negev, Tel Aviv and the North, fellows explored the diversity of Israeli society, engaged with significant issues in Israel’s political life (including the controversial proposed judicial reforms), and met with fellows in Mandel’s leadership programs in Israel. Below, read reflections on the study tour by fellows Sam Aboudara, Marni Allen, and Betsy Polk Johnson.


Sam Aboudara

“The story of the Jewish people and the story of the State of Israel are inextricably linked. This was the basic premise I began with ahead of my recent trip to Israel. I spent a week travelling throughout Israel as part of Cohort IV of the Mandel Institute’s Executive Leadership Program. We met with individuals spanning the broad spectrum of Israeli society, delving into the meaty topics of peoplehood and identity, using what we learnt along the way to inform a clearer picture of Israel today.” Continue reading Sam’s reflection, “9.5 Million Ways to be Israeli, published in the Times of Israel.


Marni Allen

“For eight days I had the opportunity to travel in Israel as part of my Mandel Executive Leadership Fellows program. The experience was rich with learning. I had just returned from Spark, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ community Israel trip, where I served as a cohort leader. Leaving barely two weeks later for another long international trip, away from work and home, back in Israel, felt crazy. Yet I immediately understood that this would be a different opportunity, additive to my Spark experience. I returned with so many ideas about leadership missions, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to have seen Israel through another lens, this time as a learner and participant. I found myself often experiencing a moment at two levels simultaneously – taking in the content for understanding and stepping up to the balcony to reflect, synthesize, and consider what I could bring back to our community, especially about leadership encounters in Israel.” Continue reading Marni’s reflection here.


Betsy Polk Joseph

“I came home with the kind of understanding of Israel I didn’t know I was looking for until I found it in honest conversations, assumption checking, frustration venting and hope kindling. I brought home the truths that were shared and am ready to do the exploring, challenging, struggling, questioning and listening it takes to confidently understand the many layers that make Israel, Israel.” Read Betsy’s full reflection here.