Mexican school merger will expand ORT’s presence in Latin America
A new name – Colegio Olamí ORT – will be welcomed to the ORT network later this year representing the merger of two Jewish schools in Mexico City.
Due to open to students in August 2022, the new establishment will expand ORT’s presence in Mexico and aims to become one of the country’s leading schools.
The decision to join forces between the existing ORT school – Colegio Israelita de México ORT (CIM-ORT) – and the Colegio Hebreo Sefaradí was taken earlier this year with the intention of creating a formidable school.
Hiring leading Mexican and international teaching professionals, it will provide more than 1,000 students with ground-breaking education combined with Jewish values.
Colegio Olamí ORT will be led by Avi Meir as Principal and General Director. Students will come together at one campus from the start of the new academic year, based in the current CIM-ORT school buildings.
Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, said: “Our school in Mexico City has long been a jewel in the ORT network. Its teachers and students lead by example and are pioneers of our innovative, collaborative approach to education.
“The development and introduction of the new Olamí school will continue this tradition and bring the ORT ethos to more students and their families than before. I am delighted and excited to see the progress that has already been made and I know in August we will all be proud to see Colegio Olamí ORT open its doors and join our global family.”
Avi Meir said: “The birth of this Jewish educational institution will continue the Jewish tradition of creating future leaders. Our alliance is based on ‘brit ajim’ – a fraternal alliance.”
Arturo Merikanskas, ORT Mexico President, called the merger “an unprecedented action that enhances the Jewish community of Mexico.”
The meaning of ‘Olamí’ in Hebrew is both ‘global’ and ‘eternal’. The new school will be dedicated to developing students with a solid Mexican-Jewish identity, with a deep love of Israel as well as being global citizens immersed in protecting the environment, coexistence and building a better world.
The process to choose the school’s new name included 300 people – students, teachers, parents and administrative staff – voting on options after an analysis of what values, ethos and priorities would shape the new establishment.
The merger is unprecedented in Mexico’s Jewish community. Mexican Jews are generally part of one of four communities with different backgrounds, cultures and traditions, including Ashkenazi and Sephardi. In Mexico City there were previously eight general Jewish education schools and seven yeshivot. The coming together of these two Ashkenazi and Sephardi schools will open new horizons for Jewish culture in Mexico.
Initiatives are taking place to introduce the new students to the ORT network and shared projects are taking place at all levels across the schools. Olamí’s new directors and board of trustees expanded their knowledge during meetings with ORT Argentina leaders in Buenos Aires. ORT schools in Bulgaria, Brazil, Spain and other countries have also joined discussions about future joint projects, co-ordinated by World ORT.
On a Mission to Develop Global Citizens
In March, 25 students and two teachers from both CIM-ORT and the Colegio Hebreo Sefaradí travelled together on a humanitarian mission to Cuba. They delivered life-saving medications to the Cuban Jewish community, which has been heavily hit by the Covid pandemic.
The mission included sponsoring the first communal activity in two years at a Sephardi center in Havana for older Jews and helping to co-ordinate a Purim party for younger people at an Ashkenazi synagogue.
Mario Nissan, President of the new school’s board of trustees, said: “The new Olamí ORT school is a paradigm shift that will provide our students with the tools and skills required for their better future and hence our community’s – while promoting a strong Jewish identity, extending social diversity and preserving our core values.”
Isaac Sultan, President of Colegio Hebreo Sefaradí, said: “It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this group of men and women who have the vision, drive, and desire to change the way we provide education our young people.
“Let’s continue making history together and continue developing global citizens with the integrity and desire to change the world.”