Scholar in Residence Program

Launched fall 2023, Milken Community School's Scholar in Residence program features two acclaimed scholars, Dr. Leon Alkalai, a retired NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Technical Fellow and Founder and CEO of Mandala Space Ventures, a space-focused incubator for start-ups in the emerging space economy, and Rabbi Ed Feinstein, who serves the Valley Beth Shalom community as a teacher, pastor and visionary leader.

Milken’s Scholar in Residence Program signifies the school’s unwavering belief in the potential of its students and underscores Milken’s commitment to academic excellence, connection to Judaism and dedication to fostering intellectual exploration.

Throughout their residencies, Dr. Leon Alkalai and Rabbi Ed Feinstein will engage with students and faculty to enhance the Milken Signature Programs: Mitchell Academy of Science + Technology (MAST) and the Beit Midrash Fellowship, an advanced, innovative Jewish studies program that integrates high-level text learning, social action, leadership,
community-building and celebration.

Dr. Leon Alkalai

Dr. Leon Alkalai is a retired Technical Fellow and a 32-year veteran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, and as of 2021, the Founder and CEO of Mandala Space Ventures, a venture studio in Pasadena dedicated to advancing the state of the art of entrepreneurship in space. During his illustrious career at JPL, Dr. Alkalai held numerous leadership positions and was responsible for the capture leadership of both the GRAIL mission to the Moon (2007) and the INSIGHT lander on Mars (2012). For his exceptional contributions to these groundbreaking missions, Dr. Leon Alkalai received Distinguished Individual Achievement medals from NASA in 2011 and 2019, respectively. Dr. Alkalai's commitment to advancing space science and technology extends beyond his roles at JPL and at Mandala Space Ventures. Dr. Alkalai is a Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) where he has been recognized for his leadership in advancing space science and engineering as well as international partnerships. Dr. Alkalai is an internationally recognized thought leader in space, an active mentor, educator and visionary. 

Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Rabbi Ed Feinstein is a renowned theologian, author, and educator, known for his inspiring teachings on Judaism and spirituality. He serves the Valley Beth Shalom community as a teacher, pastor, and visionary leader, playing a central role in the spiritual development of his congregation. In addition to his work at Valley Beth Shalom, Rabbi Feinstein's dedication to education extends to various institutions. He serves on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University, where he imparts his wisdom to future generations of religious leaders. He has authored several influential books, including "Tough Questions Jews Ask" and "The Chutzpah Imperative: Empowering Today's Jews for a Life That Matters," which have resonated with readers worldwide. Rabbi Feinstein's insightful commentary and thought-provoking lectures have made him a sought-after speaker on topics ranging from Jewish ethics to contemporary issues.

Honors Science Research - MAST

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At Milken Community School, we think education is more than what you know. Our School, founded on Jewish values, is about who our children can become and how they can help others become who they might be. Because the world our children will create tomorrow is born in the School we build today, our mission is to educate our children so they can surpass us.
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