Top row, from left to right: Ra'anan Avital, Director General - The Wexner Foundation, Israel; Tal Winbrom, Manager, Wexner Senior Leaders; Ido Nehushtan, Chair, Advisory Committee for The Wexner Foundation, Israel Office; Tania Boguslavsky, WSL ('16); Bottom row, from left to right: Moshe Dayan, Civil Service Commissioner; Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel.

The second cohort of Wexner Senior Leaders (WSL '16) cohort was hosted last week by the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, on the eve of their travel to Harvard for their four-week executive seminar. Below are excerpts from the remarks delivered by Tania Boguslavsky ('16).

"Honorable President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, honored guests:

I would like to open my remarks with a short story.

Today, as I walked in these beloved streets of Jerusalem, I was reminded of another walk in another street, far away from here:
It was very early in the morning, still dark. Piles of snow on both sides of the Ukrainian road leading from the train station to the university. I was a medical student.

Suddenly, I heard a voice: 'Give me your palm and I'll tell you your future!'

It was an old gypsy woman who showed up out of nowhere.  I immediately moved away, saying: 'I have no money.' But she wouldn't leave me: 'I will tell you your future for free.'

Tell me, have you ever seen a 19-year-old girl who does not want to know her future? I gave her my palm. She started talking about another land, far away, across the ocean…about the career I am about to have there…
Did she mention Harvard University? The President's house? It all seemed so surreal and impossible back then, in the USSR of 1970s…

Life has taught me that it might be very surprising sometimes...

And another personal story:

In 2001, I was appointed Jerusalem District Geriatric Physician in the Ministry of Health. It was my first morning on the job. I entered a beautiful old building on Jaffa Street, where the Jerusalem Health Bureau is located. I sat at my desk and started going through the mail. There was a letter waiting for my response. I took the formal stationery — a blank sheet with the logo of the State of Israel and the Ministry of Health on top of it — and tears came to my eyes. Ten years earlier, when I had made aliya, I only knew one word in Hebrew – 'Shalom.' And there I was, writing a formal letter in the name of the State of Israel.

And back here, today.

Here we are, standing in front of you, the President of the State of Israel.  It's not my story that is fascinating, exciting and challenging. It's the journey still lying ahead of us, from Israel to Harvard. Each one of us will do our best as public servants — as partners in this infinite work of building a better environment, a better community and, eventually, a better state.

In the name of the Wexner Senior Leaders second cohort, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for hosting us in your house and for giving us "Birkat Haderech" (a blessing for the road). We are all committed to act based on our values and to do our best for the citizens of Israel and for its public service."

Dr. Tania Boguslavsky, a member of the Wexner Senior Leaders ('16), is Director General of the Shoham Medical Center, a 1,000-bed geriatric and rehabilitation hospital, one of Israel's largest. Tania previously served as Deputy Director of the Kaplan-Hartzfeld Medical Center. She received her MD from the Odessa Medical School and an MHA from Ben-Gurion University. She is a specialist in internal and geriatric medicine. Tania has lived in Israel since 1991 and lives in Ashdod with her family.