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Naftali Bennett Headlines YBA Delegation to US

The weekend of May 19 to 22 brings a flurry of activity to the New York City area and to Teaneck in particular by representatives from Yeshivot and Ulpanot Bnei Akiva. YBA is Israel’s leading Religious Zionist educational network. It consists of 74 schools and 25,000 students attending yeshivot, ulpanot, hesder yeshivot, mechinot and a college. The schools run from the famed Yeshivat HaKotel, to which many in the area have direct ties, to less well known schools at the periphery of mainstream Israeli life in small towns like Ofakim, a dozen miles west of Be’er Sheva, where YBA has a yeshiva for boys, an ulpana for girls, and a co-ed state religious high school. YBA has schools that span the entire length and breadth of Israel, from Eilat to the Golan, and from Efrat to Ashdod.

Here is the quick rundown of the activities for the upcoming weekend:

Scholars in Residence:

Elchanan Glatt – YBA’s Executive Director – Bnai Yeshurun

Rav Yona Goodman – YBA’s Director of Education – Beth Aaron

Naftali Kandler – YBA’s Director of Institutional Advancement – Shaarei Orah

Informational Parlor Meeting:

At the home of Janet and Kenny Hoffman, Teaneck

Sunday Morning, May 22

9:30-11:30 a.m.

Private meeting with Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs:

At the home of Esther and Henry Swieca, Park Avenue, NYC

Sunday evening, May 22, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Reservation and donation to the YBA scholarship fund required

The weekend begins with a Shabbaton in Teaneck at three different shuls. Elchanan Glatt, YBA’s executive director, will serve as a scholar in residence at Bnai Yeshurun. Before making aliyah, Glatt spent his early childhood in Manhattan. During the years of 2013-2015, Glatt took a leave of absence from YBA to serve as executive director of the Ministry of Religious Services and of the Chief Rabbinate under Naftali Bennett. Glatt holds a masters in Jewish history from Hebrew University and was a major in the paratroopers.

Rabbi Dr. Yona Goodman will serve as a scholar in residence at Beth Aaron. Rav Yona was also born in the U.S. and grew up in the NYC area. He is national director of education for YBA. Rav Goodman studied at YBA’s hesder Yeshivat HaGolan, and served in the Israeli army as a tank commander. He is the former director general of the national Bnei Akiva movement. For the last 20 years, Rabbi Goodman has taught at Orot Israel College, part of the YBA network. Rav Goodman holds a Ph.D. in Jewish education from Hebrew U. He specializes in guiding teachers and parents whose teenage children have begun to deviate from the Jewish way of life. For 15 years, he has had a five-minute weekly spot on the subject of education on Israel National Radio.

Naftali Kandler will serve as a scholar in residence at Shaarei Orah. Kandler is Director of Institutional Advancement for YBA. He is an educational entrepreneur and is the founder of several educational institutions, including the first pre-military mechina for youth in the Israeli periphery, and the mechina of Or M’Ophir—a leadership program for Ethiopians. He served as rav for a Moroccan shul in Kiryat Malachi for a decade and also founded the largest national conversion program in Israel, called AMI, with more than 2,000 students annually. He lived for four years as a teenager in London and holds a B.A. in education and an M.B.A.

On Sunday morning, from 9:30 to 11:30, Janet and Kenny Hoffman will be hosting a parlor meeting at their home about YBA’s mission. The three YBA representatives will be there, along with the executive vice president of YBA’s presence in America and Canada, Akiva Covitz. Dr. Covitz was formerly associate dean at Harvard Law School and vice president for the global online learning company edX. He teaches at Yeshiva University and is a columnist for the Jewish Link of New Jersey.

The YBA mission concludes with an information session that includes Naftali Bennett, a proud YBA graduate himself. It will be hosted by Esther and Henry Swieca at their Park Avenue home. Bennett leads the HaBayit HaYehudi Party, and holds two ministries in the current government—education and diaspora affairs. Earlier, he held the ministries of the economy, religious services and Jerusalem. After tremendous success in the software industry in Manhattan, Bennett returned to his native Israel, where he is now a leading figure in national politics.

Please contact Akiva Covitz ([email protected]) or Reva Judas ([email protected]) for more information.

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