‘Challenges remain, but our resolve is strong’

A message from Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO

As students, as parents – and as Jews – we often tend to think of new annual cycles as beginning in September, rather than January, whether because of Rosh Hashana or the start of a new academic year. This September, as we all took tentative steps out of lockdown and back to a semblance of normality, the start of the new school year felt even more momentous than usual.

Now, two months on, we know the challenges remain as great as they were earlier this year – but our resolve also remains as strong. We will overcome this period and move forward positively into the future, whatever it looks like for our schools, colleges and wider ORT network.

The disruption of 2020 has affected our youngsters more than most, as some contended with the disappointment of having their examination preparations count for little, while others struggle with the feelings of isolation that come from being separated from their classmates.

I am so proud of the way that all members of the ORT family – professionals, lay leaders, teaching staff and supporters – have come together to ensure that our students have continued to receive a seamless, if alternative, education during this period. And I was delighted that we were able to re-open schools, albeit with restrictions and conditions, around the world.

Most schools have shown great resource in order to plan and implement hybrid systems, formed of some students attending school, some continuing to work from home and some juggling between the two.

We were delighted to receive a VIP visit as our Kfar Silver Youth Village reopened for the start of the academic year – Israel’s Education Minister Yoav Galant toured the village and heard from its young residents how ORT has created a second home for them. Kfar Silver is, as Minister Galant put it, ‘an exemplary place’.

We will continue to monitor the ever-changing situation around the globe and to provide all the support needed to ensure that our students and teachers are able to work and learn in the best possible conditions.

The support we receive from you and the many members of the 1880 Society is absolutely vital to continuing our essential work. As we move towards the winter months across so much of our network, we know that 2021 will bring its own new challenges. Every dollar, every pound, every Euro we receive plays a huge part in ensuring we can help our students and teachers with the resources and support they need. Thank you again for all that you do.

I have every confidence that, despite the extra difficulties that they may face, our ORT network will continue to achieve great things together.