Graduates’ corner

The power to put a question mark at the end of a sentence?

Noga Bernfeld

30, Tel-Aviv

Director of Youth Activities in the city center area of Holon

Graduated from the HUB for educational social initiation program in 2012

Noga, what are you doing these days?

I run the youth activities in the Holon city center area, which is in-charge of over 700 youths. I am in-charge of three fields: youths on the risk spectrum, social groups for youths of 7th to 12th grades, and grooming Young Leaders. Beyond that we run special, designated projects (of mentoring, girls’ issues, peak days etc.)

Where did the Institute find you?

“One should learn to put question marks at the end of sentences, not just exclamation marks” – This is a sentence that has been with me both in my personal and in my professional life. Yotam Tron, my first-year mentor, said this to me when I kicked and rebelled. Learning at the Institute has taught me to consider every issue from several points of view before making any decision, especially regarding any educational dilemma. It was there that I realized that the very place that unsettles you is also the one that helps you grow, learn and give everything a chance.

The punch line

When I was a student I didn’t really appreciate this special and inspiring place, and I think I missed quite a lot because of it… Only when I got out into “the real world” and to another academic institution, did I realize how inspiring, innovative and brave the people who taught me and who studied with me here actually were.


 I am proud to be contributing to education

Ran Leibel

31. Born in Beer-Sheva and currently living in Tel-Aviv

Director of IGY – Israeli Gay Youth

Graduated from the HUB for educational social initiation program in 2012

Ran, tell us about an experience from your school days that stayed with you?

Exercise “360 degrees” (where people close to you provide you with more points of view about yourself) in my first year. Michal Wasser (pedagogic tutor of history that taught the students how to teach the field from a critical thinking approach). And the first lesson with the amazing tutor, Raviv Reichert…

Where do you feel you really belong?

For the last four years, I have been co-Director of IGY – Israeli Gay Youth. I started from scratch and moved up in the organization, and for the last seven years I have been dealing with education for LGTB youth and trying to promote social change in the gender perceptions in our society.

Where do you think your strength lies?

I like to think about education together with my partners. My strengths lie in training and in training development, and that’s where I hope I still contribute most of the time.

What does promoting a democratic culture have to do with your daily routine?

Like the Institute, IGY promotes variety and equality in society. The training groups in IGY are organized in a model very similar to the incubator. We work to promote the establishment of a social and significant learning group for instructors throughout their training year at IGY. In addition, I find myself every day asking myself how successful I am at being cooperative and dialogic as a director.

The magic wand – what else did you need in order to increase your influence?

To feel I wasn’t alone; that I have partners in Israeli society who wish to make it democratic and allow all its citizens, men and women, to be free of any sexual and/or gender oppression. Because of that, for the last year, I have been involved in the founding of the institute’s graduates’ movement, and I believe I will find it there.


Being part of something big

Danielle Gerstel

30. Tel Aviv.

A history teacher, a 12th grade homeroom teacher and a pedagogical coordinator at Tomashin high school for youth at risk in Holon

Graduate of the Educational Pioneer program, 2015

Danielle, tell us about an experience from your school days that stayed with you?

Undoubtedly a lesson I gave at the learning community when I graduated. I waited till the last second to overcome my fear of sharing and exposing my inner insights, dreams and inspirations. The moment I chose to overcome my anxieties was a seminal moment for me. I was dealing with my feminine image throughout my entire stay at the incubator, and revealing this to my learning community was the first step. It’s still something I talk about with students till this very day.

How did you integrate at school after your graduation?

I entered the school where I teach with friends from the Institute through the Educational Pioneer Program. Knowing that we were 25% of the teachers in the teachers’ room strengthened us. From the very beginning we were homeroom teachers; we initiated projects and mostly felt we were part of something big. Today we form a majority in the homeroom teachers’ forum and hold influential lateral positions at school.

Punch line

There is no doubt that the experience I had in the course in general and in the incubator, in particular, shaped my educational mindset, and it is present in my everyday work.

The human capital in the course is the strongest element there. The encounter with the people I studied with was so significant that because of it I try every day to have significant encounters with the children I teach.