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About

Our Vision

The Gesher Leadership Institute nurtures and trains Israeli leaders to forge connections and unity between different sectors of the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora.

The Institute’s fellows are “change agents” who are influential in their field in Israeli society.  Following on from their participation in the course, the leaders promote inter-sectoral discussion and partnership between the ultra-Orthodox, religious, traditional and secular sectors.  In addition, they are active in strengthening the relationship between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

Our Activities

  1. Leadership Courses

We select leaders from the worlds of education, business, security forces, academia, and social activism and we show them how to build common ground between different sectors of society, while maintaining mutual respect and understanding  of the “other’s” needs.

The various tracks offered by the Institute attract participants from different backgrounds who participate in riveting dialogues and discussions within the group, listen to top-notch lecturers, develop their leadership skills, confront burning social and identity issues and travel to a Jewish community in the Diaspora for an intensive on-site visit.

:Leadership Tracks

A. Gsharim Leadership Track – for people holding key positions who passionately believe in the importance of Israel’s social fabric. The course consists of thought-provoking sessions and dialogue with different sectors of Israeli society, as well as training for designing and implementing projects.  Subsequent to completing the course, fellows choose a personal project within their sphere of influence which promotes unity and dialogue between different groups in Israel and the Diaspora.

B. Media Leadership Track – Gsharim.com – for senior Israeli media personalities who set the public agenda through written, electronic and social media. During the course, the media leaders, who come from varying outlets and backgrounds, get to know each other and engage in serious discussions about the role of the media in Israel.

C. Gesher to the Diaspora Track – for public-opinion shapers who hold senior positions in Israeli society. The chosen fellows are afforded a unique opportunity to familiarize themselves with Diaspora Jewry, through dialogue and an in-depth mission to a Jewish community in the Diaspora.

  1. The Leadership Graduate Network (LGN)

Upon completion of the course, graduates join the Leadership Graduate Network. The Institute arranges on-going activities for graduates of each cohort, as well as an Annual Conference for all fellows.  The network is an opportunity for our change-agents to leverage their individual expertise to help each other enhance dialogue and activism in Israeli society.

  1. Professional Training Seminars

Upon request, the Institute runs professional training seminars for different target audiences – school staff and principals, IDF personnel, university lecturers, youth movement leaders etc.  Through facilitated discussions, site visits and lectures, the seminars teach how to approach issues in Israeli society and how to engage in dialogue between the different sectors.

To book a training seminar, contact us at:  leadership@gesher.co.il

Public council

עדינה בר שלום

Adina Bar Shalom

The oldest daughter of Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l, Adina was awarded the Israel Prize in 2014 for her work in advancing higher education in the ultra-Orthodox sector, displaying extreme sensitivity to the ultra-Orthodox way of life and adherence to Torah. She was awarded honorary doctorates from Ben Gurion University and the IDC Herzliya.  Adina is married to Rabbi Ezra Bar Shalom, a senior rabbinical judge, and they live in Jerusalem with their three children.

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Rabbi Danny Tropper

Founder (in 1970) and President Emeritus of Gesher, Rabbi Tropper is the driving force behind the initiatives and activities of Gesher, which have influenced more than one million Israelis by promoting mutual understanding and tolerance in Israeli society.  He received his ordination from Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik and his Ph.D. in Jewish History from Yeshiva University (1970).  Rabbi Tropper has published scholarly articles and op-ed pieces in Israel and the Diaspora.  He is a sought-after lecturer in schools, the IDF and public forums.  He has been awarded many prizes for his life’s work of promoting dialogue and tolerance in the Jewish people.

 

הרב הלורד יונתן זקס

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Sacks is considered by many to be one of the foremost religious philosophers of our time.  His moral voice influences different cultures, beliefs and communities and he works tirelessly on behalf of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.  Rabbi Sacks served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013 and is now an internationally sought-after lecturer and a visiting professor at leading universities.  He has been awarded 16 honorary doctorates. He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in 2009. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was recently named the winner of the 2016 Templeton Prize.

מלכה פיוטרקובסקי

Malka Puterkovsky

An educator who holds a BA in Jewish Studies from Bar Ilan, an MA in Talmud from Tel Aviv University and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan. She has been a student and teacher of Talmud and Jewish law for over thirty years and has been involved in Talmud teaching training programs as well as writing the curricula for the Ministry of Education.   Malka was one of the founders of the Takana Forum which fights sexual abuse and sits on various boards including the Maáleh School of Television, Film & the Arts, Mavoi Satum, and the Koby Mandell Foundation.  She recently published a book about the challenges of life from a halachic-moral point of view.  Married with five children, Malka lives in the mixed community of Tekoa.

 

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Major-General (Res.) Yoram Yair

Public Figure and former IDF general.  Heads the Rabin Leadership Program at the School of Governance, Diplomacy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya.

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Chairperson – Orit Adato

Sits on the Board of Directors at Gesher, Lt-Gen (res.) in IDF, former head of IDF Women’s Corps and former Chief Commissioner of Israel Prison Service.  She is the founder and director of Adato Consulting Ltd.which provides international consulting on prison management in general and terrorist inmates in particular, as well as on leadership in Israel and abroad.  Orit is the Chairperson of the GLI steering committee and is one of the Institute’s founders.

תמונת פנים אילן

Ilan Geal-Dor – Gesher’s CEO

Gesher’s CEO since 2011.  Sits on the Board of several social organizations such as the National Service Association, Eshkolot, Heled etc.  He is a well-known social activist in his home town of Bet Shemesh and is a former city councilor and chairman of the city’s Partnership 2000.  Ilan set up the roundtables forum in Bet Shemesh with representatives from all sectors of the city’s population.  He is the founder of the GLI.

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Liz Pushett

Sits on the Board of Directors at Gesher as the representative of the Morris Family Foundation.  A facilitator at the Shefer School of Parenting and, until recently director of the Gush Etzion branch of the Big Brother, Big Sister mentoring program.  A graduate of the school of social work at the Hebrew University.  Liz is the Chairperson of the Gsharim.com media leadership track.

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Emanuel Zilberman

Deputy director of high-school education, responsible for absorption of new immigrants into the school system at the Jerusalem Education Authority.

דר צבי צמרת

Dr. Tzvi Tzameret

Historian, senior lecturer at IDC Herzliya, Academic Center of Law, Hod Hasharon and the Herzog College in Alon Shvut and teacher at the Netivot Hesder Yeshiva.  He is the former CEO of Yad Ben Zvi and the former chairman of the Ministry of Education’s Pedagogic Secretariat.

ישראל תיק

Yisrael Tik

Holds the education portfolio at the Beitar Illit Municipality, with responsibility for 23,000 students in the city’s school system.  Yisrael is a graduate of Gsharim’s third cohort.

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Rabbi Boaz Genut

Director of the Department of Marriage and Community Affairs at Tzohar.  He is responsible for defining and achieving the organization’s overall vision and aims.   Each department consists of several divisions, each of which runs complex projects and the challenge is to connect all of them under one roof.  Boaz is a former director of TorahMiTzion and a graduate of Gsharim’s first Leadership cohort.

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Dana Burstein

Member of the architectural team at the Jerusalem Municipality, in charge of the public policy planning .She is the coordinator of architecture studies of the ultra-Orthodox track at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.  Dana is a graduate of Gsharim’s second cohort.

 

שרי רוט

Sari Roth

Publisher of the “Haredim 10” website, political commentator and qualified teacher.  Sari is a graduate of Gsharim.com’s first cohort.

Academic Monitoring

The course’s activities are complemented by constructive research assessments to determine the effectiveness of the activities in the field.  The assessments integrate questionnaires, observations, checking outcomes, and the like.

In addition, the course engages in preparing articles and position papers on the topic of relations between different groups of Jews, both in Israel and between Israel and the Diaspora.

Staff

שירה

Shira Sherez Zik – Director

Founder and Director of the Gesher Leadership Institute, with responsibility for the content of all leadership course tracks.  She is a certified group facilitator, holds an MA, with distinction, in Non-profit and Social Organization Management and is a certified NLP practitioner.  Shira is a social activist in Jerusalem and a member of the “Rashut Harabim” forum which promotes Jewish renewal in Jerusalem.

חגי קימלמן

Haggai Kimmelman—Director of the Gesher Diaspora Project

Responsible for the Diaspora leadership track.  Formerly the Director of the English-speaking section in the Jewish Agency Leadership Institute.  He has been involved for the past 15 years in education and informal educational administration and in making connections with Diaspora Jewry.  He teaches and lectures in Israel and across the Jewish world.  He holds a BA in philosophy and education from the Hebrew University and completed his certification as a tour guide.

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Tamar Brody – Graduate Network and Project Coordinator

Coordinates events for the graduate network and mentors graduate projects from concept to implementation. Tamar coordinated two social entrepreneur accelerators at the Yerushalmim movement. She leads workshops for female empowerment, is a member of the audit committee of the French Hill community center and is a community and social activist.

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Rivky Klein – Administrative Coordinator

GLI logistic coordinator in Israel and the Diaspora.  Rivky has a diploma in bookkeeping and lives in Jerusalem.

 

Vika Elkin

Vika Elkin – Gesher to the Diaspora Coordinator

Vika is the Project Coordinator for “Project COMMUNITY”. Prior to this, Vika was the Manager of Limmud FSU Project and was responsible for Aliya projects in the Jerusalem Municipality. Vika holds an MA in Management of NGO and Public Policy from the Hebrew University. Vika serves as the Chair of Young Adults and Families Committee in East Talpiyot and Arnona Community Center in Jerusalem, and is an activist for the benefit of several local issues in Jerusalem. She is a mother of three Tzabars and happily married to Michael

External Relations Gesher Leadership Institute

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JJ Sussman

 Director of Resource and Program Development. JJ joins Gesher having worked in Israel’s High-Tech sector for the last 18 years at firms including SanDisk, Jerusalem Global and Israel Seed Partners. JJ has always been involved in projects to help the Jewish people and was the International Director for Unity Day in its first year. Having made aliyah from New York 20 years ago, JJ now lives in Modiin together with his wife and six children.
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Andy Hillel

 Executive Director, British Friends of Gesher. Andy has a rich background in Finance and Management after 30 years in The City. Andy lives in London with his wife Tracy, daughter and three sons.

 

אודרי וויץ

Audrey Weitz

 Executive Director, Gesher Foundation USA. Audrey brings her decades of experience in development ranging from the national political stage to successful non-profit organisations.