Fellow at Mandel, Fellow at Mandel School of Educational Leadership
Bella was born in Latvia to a Jewish family who clung to its heritage in the face of decades of persecution. At the age of 7, with the collapse of the Iron Curtain, she made aliyah with her family and started a new life in Be'er Sheva, where she grew up in the underprivileged "Daled" neighborhood. Bella knows the geo-social periphery from the inside, and at a young age she decided to act and take responsibility. Her first attempt at leadership was as a judo competitor, and she even won the national championship. After a meaningful military service in the Education Corps of the IDF she decided to dedicate her energy and experience to Israel's geo-social periphery. Bella studied social work and joined Kama, then an emerging mission-driven community, together with other students from the Ben Gurion University. This community became one of the main factors in reinvigorating Be'er Sheva, and the Negev as a whole, through its operating arm: Tor HaMidbar (lit. the desert’s turn). In 2014 Bella was appointed CEO of Tor HaMidbar. Tor HaMidbar works to promote urban resilience in Israel’s geo-social periphery by establishing mission-driven communities that operate social businesses. Mission-driven communities are groups of young adults – 21st century pioneers – who settle in the periphery permanently and work to empower their surrounding from within. Tor HaMidbar's innovative model offers these communities and social entrepreneurs the tools and skills needed to launch social-businesses that have a sustainable model for longevity, thus serving to inspire creative development and attract and retain innovators in the periphery.