Pictured: Netaly Ophir-Flint, an alumna from Class 24, charged the new WIFP Class 26: “I have a final piece of advice for you. During the Wexner Fellowship year at the Kennedy School, decide to sleep one hour less every night. Take advantage of every learning opportunity during this transformative year!”
Some of the New Wexner Israel Fellows Weigh in on Their Orientation and Year Ahead
“Taking off from the “starting line” at the Knesset ceremony genuinely felt like a big “welcome to the family” hug, a strong pat on the back. We felt very honored to be starting the process of directing ourselves to the great missions before us. We became focused not only on the unique experiences of the year to come, but also on the big challenge lying beyond, of being leaders in Israeli public service. From here on we are members of a powerful team that will make a difference.”
For the last 14 years Erez Padan has served as an attorney in the Jerusalem District Attorney (criminal division). His current position is Department Manager. Erez litigates major criminal trials, and leads a team of prosecutors handling various kinds of cases including: security and terrorist activity, murder & severe violence, sexual offenses, corruption, fraud and economic offences. He graduated from the Law School of Haifa University – LLB (magnum cum laude) in 1999 and Hebrew University – LLM in 2004. Erez grew up in Kibbutz Ein Hashofet. He is married to Shani and father of Tsuf(10), Dror(8), Ofer (5) and Clil (2). Since 2011 they live in Kibbutz Beit Nir.
“It was a unique and exciting experience, not because our proud families were present, nor due to the honorable speakers or heart-warming welcome. What struck me most was a genuine realization that we’ve set course for a new destination and adventure, we party of seven.”
Lt. Col. David Shternberg has served as an officer in an elite IDF unit since 1999. He holds a BA in economics and management, an MA in business administration, and an MA in legal studies. During his IDF service he held prominent positions in various fields of expertise and experienced work with a wide range of government agencies. David lives with his wife Limor and their son Yoav in Tel Aviv. His fields of interest include literature, theater, film, hiking outdoors and music.
“It is both inspiring and humbling to know that we have just joined a group of passionate movers and shakers working towards the common good, both in Israel and around the ‘Jewish world’…We look forward to joining the discourse and leaving our imprints…Thank you to the Wexner ‘family’ for welcoming us with open arms!”
Ruthie Saragosti currently serves as VP International Development and Strategic Planning for Yedidim in Israel. Prior to making aliya in 2002, Ruthie was the Executive Director of the Bronfman Israel Experience Center in Montreal and served as the Director of Birthright Israel, the March of the Living, the Jewish Camp Council and the Bnai Brith Youth Organization. Ruthie earned her Bachelor of Social Work from McGill University, was an IJE Fellow at Brandeis University and earned an MA in Jewish Education from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The mother of 3 small children, Yehonatan, Amichai and Noa, Ruthie lives with her husband Tzachi in Tzur Hadassah.
“The Knesset reception served as the perfect opportunity to fill the family pride glass to the brim and beyond. In its ceremonial fashion, it also demonstrated that high expectations are the lot of us all.”
Aaron Fortus holds a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering and an M.S. in Systems Engineering from the Technion. He served in the IDF for 6 years as an analyst and team leader in the Intelligence Corps, followed by a short stint in the energy industry. Over the past 16 years Aaron held various management and operative positions in the Prime Minister’s Office, combining technology with diverse disciplines in complex projects in country and abroad. Aaron resides in Hod Hasharon with his wife Tchiya and their children Inbal, Noga and Adam. Born in the Netherlands in 1966, he immigrated to Israel from the US in 1971, and his childhood was spent in Kfar Saba and Moshav Zofit. He is an avid fan of music, sport and trekking.