Letter From the Director, Rosh Hashana 5782

The challenges of the past year spurred creativity and innovation throughout the Jewish nonprofit sector. At the Mandel Institute, we too have been creating and inventing.  As the new year approaches, we are excited to share our plans.

Since our launch in 2018, alongside welcoming and learning with three cohorts of the Executive Leadership program, we readied plans for a companion fellowship.  This fall, we look forward to recruiting an inaugural cohort of a new program for rising leaders in the field of Jewish education. Led by our colleague Rabbi Jethro Berkman, the Mandel Educational Leadership Program will empower educators from across a range of settings to generate new visions of Jewish education, grow in their leadership, and build relationships beyond their organizations as they bring their visions to life.

The new 18-month fellowship will be anchored by several seminars in the Boston area and a week in-residence at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem. Program faculty will include outstanding scholars and practitioners, and a core team including Jonathan Krasner, Devora Steinmetz and Tova Birnbaum.  We will begin accepting applications on September 13 and plan to convene the inaugural cohort in February 2022.

In the coming year, we are also excited to continue our ongoing journey with Executive Leadership program fellows and graduates. Cohort II will convene in the Boston area in November with a focus on Israel’s role in North American Jewish life and how leaders can foster a healthier conversation. In the spring, fellows will complete their final work—statements of visions for their leadership—and travel to Israel for a seminar about Israeli society and new directions in the Israel-diaspora relationship.

Cohort III fellows will convene in January for a seminar on the Jewish nonprofit ecosystem and launch their individual work with a program mentor. And a few weeks later, our Graduates will gather for their annual seminar. We are planning to hold all of our meetings in person, and, as we must, also prepare remote-learning contingencies.

To support our expanded programs, we’ve launched a new website—live for the first-time today. Please visit! And we are finalizing plans for a new brick-and-mortar home. The new location at 1 Harvard Street in Brookline Village will enable fellows to convene in our own Mandel space. It will also provide an attractive and accessible work space for our professional team.

We will have more to report about these changes in the weeks ahead.

With full awareness of the communal, societal and ecological challenges we face, we continue to draw inspiration from our community of fellows, faculty, and mentors. We move into the new year with hope, confidence, and more than a little excitement. We wish you a healthy and sweet new year.


Ted Sasson