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Sherri Mandell – Founder of The Koby Mandell Foundation
Koby Mandell, born in Silver Spring, Maryland, was a 13-year-old victim of Palestinian terrorism. On May 8, 2001, Koby and his best friend Yoseph Ishran went hiking in the Judean desert—but they never came home. Both Koby’s and Yoseph’s bodies were found in a cave outside their families’ community of Tekoa. They had been so brutally murdered that investigators needed dental records to identify the bodies.
What Koby’s mother and father have done with their enormous pain is incredibly beautiful. Through a foundation in their son’s name, they have created healing for scores and scores of the brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers of the victims of Palestinian terrorism. As Sherri Mandell said once, “They take their pain and they turn it into more pain and death. We take our pain and we turn it into healing and love.”
Sherri Mandell has written for many publications, including The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Jewish Week and Hadassah Magazine. She is the author of the book, The Blessing of a Broken Heart.
The Mandells moved to Israel from the United States in 1996, because they had a great love for the land of Israel. Once there, they decided to move to Tekoa, a West Bank settlement of about 300 families. In 2001, their son, Koby, and his friend, Yosef Ishran, were brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists while on a hike nearby their community. Sherri and her husband, Seth have used the unbearable pain of losing a child to help others by creating the Koby Mandell Foundation to help children and parents who have lost loved ones to terrorism. They offer camps and healing retreats several times a year, to help people grieve and transform their pain into power.