Celebrations at the opening of the Panovka Family Auditorium


A state-of-the-art auditorium has been opened amid excitement at the World ORT Kadima Mada Hodayot Youth Village in Israel’s Lower Galilee.

The ‘Panovka Family Auditorium’ has been completely renovated with a new stage and ceiling, and is now equipped with advanced lighting and sound systems. New chairs, redecorated walls, and replaced windows, floors and doors were all part of the work.

Wednesday’s opening ceremony included a special performance by the village’s choir, composed of young talented girls who finally have a proper stage on which to demonstrate their talents.

Hodayot’s entire student body, teachers, village staff members and guests from World ORT Kadima Mada and World ORT’s senior management attended the opening, as well as local council members.


Students, teachers and village staff all attended the opening

Avi Ganon, World ORT Director General and CEO, said: “Three years ago an ORT America delegation of over 40 people visited you here and were so impressed with your school spirit and hard work. One special, dear woman named Hilly Panovka saw the then outdated and crumbling cultural hall and decided it just could not stay that way.

“Today, thanks to the Panovka family’s generosity, a new and beautiful chapter begins. All we want is for you to enjoy the best possible educational solutions and facilities. You have such a loving home here and we are delighted to be a part of this special place’s story.”

Moti Dotan, World ORT Kadima Mada chairman, added: “I am always so excited whenever I’m here. There is a saying in Hebrew – ‘Breathing in the dust of the road will enable you to get to the top of the mountain’.

The refurbished Panovka Family Auditorium

“Thank you so much Panovka family, to World ORT, the Ministry of Education and all who have been involved. Every child that enters the gates of Hodayot is so fortunate. We talk a lot about education, but in Hodayot you create education.”

Eli Shtein, CEO of the village, along with Nitzan Peleg, the head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, said the “Shehecheyanu” blessing, the prayer recited to celebrate such special occasions.

They added: “So many schools wish for what we are witnessing in front of our own eyes, this is an amazing achievement. Thank you World ORT and the Ministry of Education, thank you Hilly and Panovka family for your amazing support that has made us so happy and grateful. Just in time to open our village’s 70th anniversary festivities.”

Earlier on Wednesday the “Sulam Empowerment Center” was also initiated. This amazing space allows different therapeutic sessions such as arts, drama and bibliotherapy. This beautiful and well-equipped space was initiated thanks to Jane and Harold Yudelson z”l, their family and friends from the Atlanta community.

Students settle in after the opening of the new Sulam Empowerment Center