Professor Jona Rosenfeld Retires

Prof. Jona Rosenfeld joined the Myers-JDC–Brookdale Institute (MJB) in the 1990s. At the time, he was already a leading figure in the field of social work and he pioneered the field of Learning From Success (LFS) in Israel. A highly-esteemed researcher and social initiator, he was awarded the Israel Prize in 1998 and was its first recipient for research in social work.

 Since the establishment of MJB’s Unit for Learning from Success and Ongoing Collaborative Learning in Human Service Organizations in 1991, and until his retirement at the end of 2017, Prof. Rosenfeld continued to develop and advance the field.

The vision of LFS is to help organizations deliver high-quality, appropriate and beneficial service to their target populations. The vision focuses on promoting practices, organizational preparedness, policy planning and training patterns, based on an organization’s tacit knowledge and successes.

As director of the Unit and a pioneer in the field, Prof. Rosenfeld developed the methods of Learning From Success. He formed contacts and partnerships with voluntary organizations and government ministries, which improved their work practices by working with the Unit. Due to the Unit’s success, MJB received requests from a wide range of organizations for assistance with LFS, and the field continued to expand. The Hebrew University, Jerusalem began to offer Prof. Rosenfeld’s courses in this area, and LFS also became a field of academic research, its applied impact broad and recognized.

Over the years, Prof. Rosenfeld widened the impact of the field in two additional directions: he promoted the participation in the program of dozens of schools all over the country, and the education system learned to apply the LFS methods to improve and streamline their work practices. Furthermore, under his inspiration, workshops were opened to train learning companions and enlarge the pool of professionals in the field to further develop Learning From Success from within organizations.

Three of his numerous publications deserve special mention in this context:  Rosenfeld, J.M.; Schon, D.; and Sykes, I. 1995. Out from Under, 1996 (with Donald Schon and Israel Sykes) is a description of the lessons learned by social-service professionals working with inaptly served families and children; Artisans of Democracy, 2000 (with Bruno Tardieu) – a description of how ordinary people, families living in extreme poverty and social organizations are able to cooperate to overcome social exclusion; and his latest autobiographical book, From Exclusion to Reciprocity, 2017, tells of his vision through the eyes of LFS as a leverage for social inclusion.

 Prof. Rosenfeld dedicated his work and his life to giving voice to the socially excluded, among other things by enlisting the methods of learning from success