“The Israel Tennis & Education Centers provided a world of civility that allowed me to reach as high as I wanted without any limitations.”
So recalls President and Founder of the Reut Institute and ITEC alum Gidi Grinstein in describing the opportunities that he enjoyed at the Nussdorf – Mark Families Israel Tennis & Education Center in Jaffa where he started playing at the age of 12. Unlike other sports growing up, he found tennis to be a very civilized sport where everyone, regardless of background or economic circumstance, was made to get along.
“The center was like my second home, and being there allowed me to be as great as I wanted to be. I could stay and practice without anyone chasing me off the court. It was entirely up to me how much I wanted to put into being the best player I could.”
This encouraging environment played an important role in his success later in life, including four years in the Israeli Navy and as a student at Tel Aviv University.
“The ITEC taught me to respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It is to this day one of the most remarkable social enterprises in Israel. Nowhere else is there the kind of framework to help children from so many underprivileged areas of the country. It’s an amazing organization that has served me and thousands of other Israeli children very well.”
Gidi’s accomplishments speak volumes about the help that the ITEC provided. Before founding the Reut Institute, he served as Secretary and Coordinator of the Israeli negotiation team on the Permanent Status Agreement between Israel and the PLO in the Office and later in the Bureau of Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He was the youngest member of the Israel delegation at the time. He graduated from Tel Aviv University in Economics and Law and from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government as a Wexner Israel Fellow.
“The ITEC instilled in me the drive to excel at everything I tried to accomplish. The life skills are values that will be with me for the rest of my life.”