Keren Grinspoon Israel (KGI) has named Andrea Arbel as its new executive director, following Galina Vromen’s retirement after 18 years with KGI and the U.S.-based Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF).

Arbel joins KGI this week after 18 years at the Jewish Agency, where she was the director of the partnership unit, responsible for seven international programs, including Partnership2Gether and the Global School Twinning Network, which currently boasts 700 schools globally.

Vromen, KGI’s outgoing founding director, launched both Sifriyat Pijama, KGI’s hallmark program, and Maktabat al-Fanoos. Under her leadership, KGI was selected by the United States Library of Congress as a Literacy Awards Program Best Practice Honoree, in recognition of the organization’s long-standing achievement in the promotion of literacy and in the development of innovative methods and effective practices in the field.

Sifriyat Pijama® is a classroom-based reading-readiness program, operated in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education. The program distributes high-quality books in Hebrew, carefully chosen to invite discussion on each family’s values and Jewish/Israeli heritage in school and at home. KGI also runs Maktabat al-Fanoos,® which gifts culturally-appropriate Arabic-language books to public schools that serve Israel’s Arab population. Together the programs distribute books to more than a half million children and their families in Israel each year.

Since 2009, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has invested more than $20 million in the two programs, matched by Israeli government funding and with the support of partners including Price Philanthropies, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Crown Family and the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation.

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