Grapevine: Benefactor honored in Yeroham

Through the Mandel Foundation, Mandel, together with his brothers Jack and Joseph and his wife, Barbara, has donated many millions of dollars to projects in Israel.

Ben Gurion University (photo credit: WWW.PIKIWIKI.ORG.IL)
Ben Gurion University
(photo credit: WWW.PIKIWIKI.ORG.IL)
■ MEGA-PHILANTHROPIST Morton Mandel, whose generosity is reflected in numerous educational and cultural projects throughout Israel, has had an avenue named after him in Yeroham. Through the Mandel Foundation, Mandel, together with his brothers Jack and Joseph and his wife, Barbara, has donated many millions of dollars to projects such as the Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life at the Israel Museum; the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem and its Educational Leadership School; the Lunada Children’s World Museum in Beersheba; Mandel Programs for the Haredi Community; Mandel IDF Educational Leadership program; the Mandel National Library for the Archaeology of Israel and Mandel National Archaeological Archives; the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; the Negev Foundation, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; and the Israel Association of Community Centers. All in all, the Mandel Foundation has contributed close to $400 million to projects in Israel.
Morton Mandel, the most visible member in Israel of the Cleveland, Ohio, Mandel family, was in Israel this week for the avenue-naming ceremony. Accompanied by Yeroham Mayor Michael Biton, foundation president Prof. Jehuda Reinharz and foundation CEO Moshe Vigdor, a broadly smiling Mandel, who has included Yeroham in his largesse and has contributed extensively to its economy and its educational facilities, toured the Yeroham campus.
Through his Israel Equity company, he purchased Phoenicia Glass Industries Yeroham at an investment of NIS 100 million, which included adding a new oven to the factory plant. The oven is attached to a natural gas pipe, enabling it to meet international environmental standards in its production output. The plant provides employment for numerous local residents.
■ WHEN HE greeted members of the first mission of board members and leading supporters of Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools, Israel Sci-Tech Schools network director general Zvi Peleg told them that “There has never been a greater need to further develop our young people in the sciences and technology to serve the growing needs of industry in Israel, and we are grateful to our donors for their support and years of commitment.”
The mission members who came last week to see for themselves the latest school initiatives and those of niche institutions from the charter school network inspected institutions, equipment, facilities and programs that they have directly supported. They learned how the Israel Sci-Tech Schools network is changing the lives of thousands of Israeli high school students across all the ethnic and religious divides. Mission participants visited the Holistic project in the schools of Ma’alot, where the emphasis is on combining students’ emotional well-being with education, aimed at enhanced academic success; the Kfar Hazeitim Youth Village, which fuses Torah study with vocational training to prepare haredi youth for the workforce; and the Israel Sci-Tech School, which prepares young Israelis for a life in aeronautics, in conjunction with the Israel Aerospace Industries.
In addition, they explored the Mushinsky Center, Israel Sci-Tech’s research and development center, where teacher training is conducted and curricula for hundreds of schools worldwide are developed and exported. An additional highlight was meeting Israel-Sci Tech graduates who operate the Iron Dome after receiving associate engineering degrees prior to their army service.
Board members were honored guests at an evening gala to network with key Israeli business partners for the Sci-Tech Schools network. The trip closed with a tour of Sci-Tech’s Periphery project at Kiryat Gat’s Rogozin School and a visit to two niche Beduin institutions in the Negev.
Delegates also met with Education Ministry officials and viewed presentations by honors students of recent projects that they conducted together with Teva, SanDisk, Elbit and other companies that partner in the education process.
Edith Everett, who chairs the Board of the Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools, pronounced the visit as “very exciting” because it provided an opportunity to see what is being accomplished and to share in the enthusiasm of the students and their teachers.
“It was a very heart-warming experience,” she said.
■ NOW THAT Spain and Portugal have decided to restore citizenship to those descendants of the Jews of Spain and Portugal who were expelled towards the end of the 15th century and can prove their lineage, there is greatly increased interest in the history of the Jews of those countries and what happened to those who were forcibly converted to Christianity, as well as those who were dispersed in different parts of the world.
Some, despite having converted, maintained Jewish traditions in secret.
On December 18 at 6 p.m., the Institute for Sephardi and Anusim Studies at Netanya Academic College, together with Ayala Geographit, will present a cultural event in Hebrew: Portugal – A Meeting with Descendants of the Anusim. The event is dedicated to the memory of Aharon Zar, who headed the Jewish community of Madrid and contributed to the connection of the Anousim in Portugal with Israel. The special guest of honor will be Carolino Tapadejo, former mayor of Castelo de Vide, Portugal, who will speak on “The Descendants of Conversos in Portugal in the Last Few Generations.”
Other speakers will focus on similar subjects. The event will be held in the Tshuva Hall of Netanya Academic College, 1 Ha’universita Street, Netanya.