MAOZ Fellows Program 2014 – Group Shabbat

An important part of the MAOZ Fellows Program is the group weekend that, this year, took place at Kibbutz Nachsholim. The two goals of the weekend were to develop closer personal relationships between the Fellows and to delve into the key value of the “power of speech and debate” which is so central to public leadership.

Shabbat represents different ideas and practices for each of the 33 Fellows and there is potential of the day being the source of conflict and division. However, the Fellows came together and created an incredibly powerful experience of cooperation, understanding and respect that served to engender a comfortable atmosphere for learning and sharing ideas. The sessions run by the Kolot facilitators, Hagit and Leon, used ancient and modern texts that encouraged the MAOZ Fellows to examine their own values and identity and consider how divisions and disagreements in Israel are managed and overcome.

The weekend was intimate and enlightening, with one of the Fellows sharing with the group at the end of the weekend, “you are making me a better person”.

The 2014 Fellows Program Admissions Process

Following a long and fascinating process, 32 Fellows were accepted to become part of the 2014 cohort. With more than 430 applications, most of whom were of an extremely high caliber in terms of skills and experience, the challenge of selecting a final group was challenging for the admissions team.

Of the original 430, 90 candidates were invited to take part in the evaluation days that were held at The Diaspora Museum. Assisting the staff in the various evaluation activities were Fellows from the 2013 program, alumni and a number of Friends of MAOZ who were carefully selected for the task. This year we also added a station, for evaluating the candidates’ English level.

The entire admissions process is comprised of 5 stages: an initial application form, submitting a project presentation, evaluation day, reference checking and finally an interview with the admissions committee.

The admissions process is built with the highest professional standards in mind, constantly being refined and improved, all to make sure we accept the best possible people to the program and take into account the desired diversity within the group. For the evaluators, the exposure to the candidates’ passion, social endeavors and sense of mission they have towards the country, is always an overwhelming experience and a great privilege.

‘Your Stage’

During the month of November we held the first ‘Your Stage’ meetings. These meetings will be held twice a year and are one of MAOZ’s tools for advancing our Alumni’s projects. Each ‘stage’ had three Alumni presenting their project to eight ‘consultants’ – Friends of MAOZ and members of the MAOZ team and management, often experts in the field relevant to the project. This was an opportunity for the Alumni to talk about their projects, present dilemmas, ask questions, gather information, receive feedback and advice and expand their professional network. After each presentation, advisors filled out a feedback form and each of the Alumni was able to take home personal summary of the feedback.

The Alumni were grateful for having an opportunity to present their projects and make new connections, and had commented that the style of these meetings encourages a different kind of listening and dynamic. All Friends were happy to take a part in important initiatives led by professional and values-based leaders, and everyone commented on the great atmosphere and energy in the room.

These meetings were a pilot for the ‘Your Stage’ initiative and as such we will utilize what we learned to improve the effectiveness of this process for future sessions.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite all our Alumni to take the stage in the coming year and for our Friends to take an active role as consultants towards advancing these important projects.