International Jewish Photography Competition Brings ORT Students Success


Two ORT students have been recognized by a leading international photography competition for taking images which show their connection to Judaism.

Daniel Levinson and Mark Gasimov will see their work (pictured below) displayed in an exhibition at the ANU Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv following their success in the Jewish Lens 2021 competition.

The international initiative asks Jewish teenagers worldwide to submit a photograph and accompanying text which “capture their connection to the Jewish people”.


Mark Gasimov’s photograph of Moscow’s Choral Synagogue


Daniel Levinson’s photograph of Chanukah candles reflected in a window

Daniel, a fourth grade student at Secondary School #12, ORT “Mishpahteinu”, in Kazan, and Mark, a 14-year-old ninth grader at School #1311, ORT “Tekhiya”, in Moscow, were acknowledged for their respective images of Chanukah candles reflected in a window and of the ornate ceiling of Moscow’s Choral synagogue.

Mark said: “Last year was a very difficult and unusual year – we did not always know what would happen next. One day when I came to the synagogue I saw a beam of light coming from a decorated window. I realized that our faith is our guiding star – and I wanted to take a photo of it.”

The pair took part in an online ceremony organized by the museum last week and their photographs will be displayed at an exhibition in the lobby of the museum.

Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, said: “The photographs taken by Daniel and Mark are a moving expression of how they have understood and interpreted ORT’s efforts to encourage our students to connect to their religion, history and culture.

“Our network is dedicated to enhancing that Jewish experience, and this success is an outcome of the hard work of our teachers and students to appreciate and live our values every day. Mazeltov to them both for being recognized by this prestigious international competition.”

Students participating in the competition engage in three activities – reviewing the art of photography, observing and analyzing peers’ photography, and exploring a rich photography collection from across the Jewish world. These activities are based on lessons from the Jewish Lens course developed by renowned photographer Zion Ozeri and the Center for Educational Technology in Israel.

The resulting exhibition is organized by the students themselves, who form a creative team similar to an authentic art exhibition process. They take on positions including curators, designers, producers, managers, educational guides, promoters and advertisers.