Israel Emergency Campaign nears $3 million


21 August 2006 World ORTs Israel Emergency Campaign nears $3 million North Americas Jewish communities have shown their confidence in ORTs plans to help Israeli students, families and teachers return to normality with a pledge of nearly $2 million. The umbrella body representing North Americas Jewish Federations, the UJC, has pledged $1.96 million to help fund plan of action formulated by World ORTs senior staff on their self-funded solidarity and fact-finding mission last month. The UJCs commitment is in addition to nearly $1 million pledged by ORT national organisations and private donors this month. The response to our campaign has been overwhelming, said World ORT Director General Robert Singer. The nearly $3 million committed to date far outstrips our original target for this initial stage of the campaign and we anticipate further pledges from ORT national organisations worldwide and members of the public. Mr Singer attributed the UJCs support to the partnership that has grown between the Federation system and World ORT over the past six years. The strength of this partnership is a sign of the importance of the thousands of members of American ORT and Womens American ORT across the continent, many of whom are also actively involved in their local Jewish Federation, as well as the result of the excellent working relationship between World ORT and the UJC. ORT will help children who have spent much of their summer holiday in bomb shelters, like this one in Hatzor Haglilit, re-adjust to post-war conditions. Money raised will be used to fund projects in three broad categories: Post-trauma. Teachers will be trained to recognise post-traumatic problems; debriefing sessions will be provided to allow students to express and discuss their experiences and anxieties; counsellors with post-trauma expertise will be made available for those students who need treatment. Special attention will be paid to the needs of new immigrants and Arab citizens. A tuition reserve fund that school principals can access to pay for additional lessons for struggling students. A fund to help families, who have been hit economically by the conflict, pay for educational necessities like text books. World ORT and ORT Israel started work last week on implementing the programmes, starting with trauma counselling and economic support for families, which are receiving the bulk of the UJC pledge. ORT schools in Maalot, Hatzor Haglilit, Acco, Kiryat Motzkin, Kiryat Bialik, Haifa, Usfiya, Kiryat Tivon, Migdal HaEmek, Nazareth, Nazereth Illit, Afula, Wadi Salame, Sajur, Karmiel and Tiberias were among those directly in the firing line of the Hezbollah attacks. Three ORT institutions were hit by rockets. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds oldest Jewish education and vocational training organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries. ORT Israel is its largest single operational country with more than 100,000 students in 162 institutions.