Hollywood comes to Montreal for ORTs annual gala


December 5, 2005 Hollywood comes to Montreal for ORTs annual gala ORT Montreal put the fun back into fundraising with this years gala dinner its 22nd such event. Some 1,000 people came to Montreals Place de Arts for the Evening of Comedy, which raised CAN$450,000 (US$388,625) for ORT projects, in particular the much-needed renovation of ORT Netanya-Yad Lvovich high school in Israel. The headline act was stand-up comedian-turned-actor Kevin Pollak. The Los Angeles-based comics Hollywood career has seen him share screens with the like of Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Murphy and Kevin Spacey. Also wowing the Montreal audience was impressionist Andre-Philippe Gagnon, who has returned to his native Canada after six years working in Las Vegas. ORT Canada President Arthur Silber said it had been a great night and not just for its entertainment value. As World ORT celebrates its 125th anniversary, this high profile event allowed us to tell ORTs story to many new people, Mr Silber said. The money raised will help us to pursue our mission to educate young people to become self-sufficient and contributing members of their societies. Anna and John Broccolini flanked by Kevin Pollak (left) and Andre-Philippe Gagnon. ORT Montreal Past President Dr Roger Korman made a special presentation to the Broccolini family, which had been named this years honouree for their generous and unstinting support for ORT. The family, headed by the president of the Broccolini Construction company John Broccolini and his wife Anna, contributed CAN$150,000 to the galas fundraising total, both from their own pockets and by approaching friends and contacts in the business world. Their son, Anthony, who is an active member of ORTs Young Leadership of Montreal, addressed the event for the family. My family and ORT have something fundamental in common, he said. We are both builders. ORT constructs people and we construct buildings; but were both in it for the long term. Tribute was also paid to one of Montreals longest-standing board members, Nathan Wasser, who graduated from an ORT training course in a Displaced Persons camp near Munich just after the war. And the galas co-chairs, Dr Marvin Steinberg and his wife, Gail Caplan, were presented with the Bernard Gross Leadership Award for their role in organising the event. Dr Roger and Fanny Korman with their daughters, Becky and Lilly, and Kevin Pollak. World ORT Director General Robert Singer attended the gala with World ORT Deputy President Jean de Gunzburg. It was deeply gratifying to be able to meet the Broccolini family, Mr Singer said. That an Italian family should identify so strongly with ORTs mission is a testament to the universality of our work. Since 1960, ORT has helped some two million people in developing countries through its International Cooperation arm. And in Israel, we are proud to count Arab, Druze and Bedouin Israelis among our students. ORTs work transcends ethnic, religious and national boundaries and, thanks to supporters like the Broccolinis, will continue to do so in a spirit of tolerance and mutual benefit. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish educational and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.