12 January 2007 Awards for top achievers in Jewish Studies The contribution made by ORT Ukraine to the regeneration of Jewish life in the country has been recognised by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. The Federation, which is based in Americas Midwest, has been supporting the ORT Technology School in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, for two years. I visited the school in March 2005 as part of the Small Federation Executive Institute, said Quad Cities Executive Director Allan Ross. We were all very impressed with the incredible work being done in Kievs ORT school to revive Judaism after decades of antisemitic repression under Communist rule. To help the process, the federation has funded the award of MP3 players to the schools top six Jewish Studies students Olga Sokal, Katerina Kalyujnaya, Elena Abramskaya, Mariya Abramova, Dmitry Poroshin, Alexander Osadchuk, and Viktoria and Alena Praysman. The idea for the prizes followed a recommendation by teachers that all students would be stimulated by the recognition of special achievements. We in the Quad Cities congratulate and applaud the winning students and the efforts of World ORT in developing world-class schools, Mr Ross said.
Students Olga Sokal, Mariya Abramova, Viktoria Praysman, Dmitry Poroshin, Alena Praysman and Alexander Osadchuk with Slava Leshchiner (front left) and Principal Yuriy Kinkov.
Slava Leshchiner, the Director of the World ORT Representative Office in Ukraine and Moldova, said that Jewish Studies were an important part of the curriculum in all ORT school in Ukraine.
In the Kiev Technology School, Hebrew, Jewish History and Jewish Tradition are required subjects for students in all grades, Mr Leshchiner said. Senior students also have classes on Holocaust Studies. All these studies include participation in Jewish festivals both at school and at community centres. Students also serve the community, such as visiting elderly people and helping to take care of Jewish cemeteries.
Several times a year, the students have the opportunity to spend weekends away in popular Shabbaton programmes.
The students who received the Quad Cities awards have not only attained a good knowledge of the subjects taught but are also active participants in related events and projects and provide good support for their teachers, Mr Leshchiner said.
Mr Leshchiner thanked the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities for its support.
The generous support shown us by Quad Cities and other American Jewish federations allows us at ORT Ukraine to raise students motivation in Jewish Studies, which in turn strengthens the younger generations commitment to and involvement in Jewish communal life. This is extremely important in the countries of the former Soviet Union where Jewish tradition was suppressed for 70 years.
The Principal of the ORT Technology School, Yuriy Kinkov, said the help provided by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities cant be overestimated.
It is so important to show students who do well and who make an exceptional contribution that their efforts are appreciated, Mr Kinkov said. It benefits all students by instilling a culture of incentives.
World ORT, founded in St Petersburg in 1880, resumed operations in the former Soviet Union in 1991, more than 50 years after its activities there were forced to close by the authorities. It now coordinates operations in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan 53 projects in 32 locations serving more than 27,000 people.