Jonathan Shmidt Chapman (Cohort I) leading a program with The K’ilu Company. Photo Credit: Wide-Eyed Studios

Applications are now closed


The Mandel Educational Leadership Program welcomes applicants with at least six year of professional experience who are poised to increase their impact within and beyond their own organizations.

We welcome applicants from a wide range of educational settings: day schools, youth groups, supplemental schools, college campuses, camps, JCCs, social justice organizations, farming or environmental organizations, federations and more. Most will hold formal leadership positions (directors of Jewish enrichment, department chairs, senior Jewish educators, supplemental school directors, day school principals, directors of congregational learning, etc.). Exceptional educators who do not hold formal leadership positions but who can point to impactful acts of leadership will also be considered.

We aim to establish cohorts that span the denominational spectrum (and beyond) and represent the diversity of the Jewish community. Please note that you must reside in the United States or Canada in order to apply

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundations offers a number of programs to develop leadership for Jewish communities in the United States and Canada. Educational leaders who seek a program with a greater emphasis on instructional leadership are encouraged to explore the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI). Jewish communal professionals who aspire to executive leadership positions in Jewish nonprofits should explore the Executive Leadership Program. Artists and cultural producers are encouraged to explore the Cultural Leadership Program.


Applications are now closed for Cohort II. 

An admissions committee drawn from the Mandel Institute’s faculty, staff and consultants makes admissions decisions.

Finalists will be invited to prepare an additional essay, arrange of letter of reference, and schedule an interview with the admissions committee.

Finalists will be assessed in relation to the following criteria:

  • Emotional intelligence, curiosity, intellect and reflectiveness.
  • Interest in engaging with big ideas about the purposes and practice of Jewish education.
  • Openness to learning from settings, educational approaches and perspectives on Jewish life quite different from their own.
  • Enthusiasm for forging connections that create impact within and beyond one’s own organization.

With these criteria in mind, the admissions committee seeks to create a cohort that represents the diversity of the Jewish community.

If you applied in the past, you are welcome to apply again. We do not provide feedback concerning previous admissions rounds, as all deliberations by admissions committees are confidential. A new admissions committee is created for every Educational Leadership Program cohort. Each admissions committee deliberates independently on every application, so repeat applications are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged.

The program’s curriculum is organized around three stands:

Educational Vision

This strand is premised on our belief that learners, teachers and organizations as a whole benefit when educational leaders have a clear and sophisticated educational vision for their learners-a nuanced conception of what they will learn and how they will grow through intentionally-crafted learning experiences. We also believe that engagement with a diversity of educational approaches, including those quite different from our own, is a powerful lever for developing, refining, or reimagining educational visions. Thus, the heart of this strand is engagement with and analysis of rich, varied educational visions. Fellows share their educational visions with each other, and encounter others through site visits, educational experiences, videos and artifacts. Fellows analyze the visions they encounter and bring their insights to bear on their own evolving educational visions.

Educational Ecosystem

This strand is premised on our belief in the importance of broad-thinking educational leaders who attend to the success of their organization, but who also seek to understand and strengthen the field as a whole. To that end, the Ecosystem strand includes learning about patterns nd trends in North American Jewish communities, the Jewish educational institutional landscape, and the evolving history of Jewish education in North America. Through analysis of the ecosystem, fellows will discern challenges and opportunities and engage in generative conversations about field-wide challenges, such as the tension between “education” and “engagement,” the educator pipeline, “turfism” and zero-sum competition among educational organizations and more.


This strand aims to empower fellows as they bring their educational visions to life, lead organizational change and act to impact the field more broadly. Fellows will explore who they are as leaders, how they aspire to grow, and the obstacles to that growth, as they synthesize their learning in the other two strands into a vision for their future leadership. In addition to leadership learning during seminars, fellows will participate in virtual short courses between seminars. One-on-one work with advisers beginning after the second seminar will focus primarily on leadership growth.

Fellows must attend all 4 seminars in their entirety. Between seminars, fellows continue their learning through virtual courses, peer consultations, meetings with an adviser, and assignments. The typical time commitment for online sessions between seminars is 3-5 hours per month.

Sponsoring organizations must approve release time for fellows to join the program’s four seminars.

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation covers travel and program expenses, except for meals during travel. Sponsoring organizations provide release time for participation in the seminars.

Seminar 1: Boston – April 7-11, 2024

Seminar 2: Boston – November 10-14, 2024

Seminar 3: Israel – March 18-25, 2025

Seminar 4: Boston – October 26-30, 2025

As home to nearly half of world Jewry and the first experiment in Jewish sovereignty in millennia, the state of Israel is an important component of Jewish life in the 21st century. As such, the Israel seminar is premised on the belief that leaders of all kinds in Jewish communal life, educational leaders among them, should be familiar with contemporary Israeli society in all its complexity. Thus, the Israel seminar explores the diversity of Israeli society by delving deeply into each of its four distinct “tribes:” Arab citizens, Haredi Jews, Orthodox Jews, and Secular Jews. As educational leaders, fellows encounter these social sectors through the Israeli school system, visiting a school from each of its separate streams, at least one for each sector. These site visits include classroom observations, conversations with school leadership and teachers, and often, conversations with students.

The site visits to Israeli schools also give fellows the opportunity to encounter a range of educational visions, and during the seminar we devote time to analyzing our experiences and reflecting on how they might enrich our own educational visions. Fellows also meet and exchange ideas with their counterparts in the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in Israel and encounter educational tourism programs for North American Jews, opening up conversations about Israel education

No, you do not have to be Jewish to apply for the program. Any person who has at least six years of professional experience in the field of Jewish education and is currently employed by a Jewish nonprofit organization in the United States or Canada is invited to apply for the program.

Fellows who are nursing are offered Milk Stork to help them ship home their pumped milk home. This applies to seminars in the United States and Israel. Fellows will be given a private space to pump when needed. Fellows who have a newborn under 1 year old may bring their baby with them to the seminar regardless of location. Fellows are encouraged to bring a family member or other caregiver to take care of the newborn during the seminar. MINL will cover the cost of the flight to bring the caregiver, and the caregiver and infant will be invited to meals when no programming occurs.  If a fellow does not have a caregiver to bring to the seminar and must bring their baby, the fellow should find local childcare where the seminar takes place and is fully responsible for managing the childcare provider. MINL will reimburse the fellow up to $200 for each day of the seminar for the cost of childcare.

For finalists who are traveling to Boston for admissions interviews, Milk Stork is offered to ship pumped milk home. Finalists will be given a private space to pump when needed. If a finalist needs to bring an infant with them, the finalist will be responsible for ensuring childcare during their interview day.

Finalists who are unable to travel due to pregnancy or care of an infant will be offered the option of participating virtually.