Missions spotlight ORT operations in Prague, Kiev and Moscow


19 May 2005 ORTs activities in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have provided the focus for high profile missions to the region by leading members of American ORT (AO) and Womens American ORT (WAO). Thirty-three senior lay leaders and staff from ORTs largest fundraising organisations embarked on separate tours of the region as part of the World ORT Regeneration 2004 Campaign. A highpoint of the missions has been the bringing together in Moscow of our friends from AO and WAO for joint tours of the ORT Lipman School, the ORT Vocational Training Centre and ORT Moscow School 1299, said Sonia Gomes de Mesquita, the head of World ORTs International Liaison Department. Led by WAO, the World ORT Regeneration 2004 Campaign is designed to build on the accomplishments of Regeneration 2000, which created a network of thriving, highly reputed Jewish schools. Campaign chairman is publisher Milton Gralla, a long time ORT supporter who also chaired the Regeneration 2000 Campaign. Israels economic problems have resulted in big cuts to its programmes in the former Soviet Union, so World ORT has joined with the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Education Ministry to take on a greater share of the burden of running Jewish schools in the region. Among its goals, Regeneration 2004 will enlarge the network of ORT schools and centres in the region as well as enhance existing schools IT provision and broaden the range of subjects on offer. Both the WAO and AO groups have managed to include cultural excursions in their busy itineraries from tours of old Jewish neighbourhoods to places of local interest such as the Kremlin and visits to art galleries and the ballet. However, the focus has been ORTs operations in Prague, Kiev and Moscow. In Prague, the missions were taken around the ORT Computer Laboratory at the Education and Culture Centre in the Jewish Museum, which has enjoyed a technological upgrade over the past two years. The WAO mission also included the Ukraine capital Kiev, where it met faculty and students at the ORT Technology Lyceum and ORT Technology Centre. After the joint tour of ORT operations in Moscow, WAO National Vice President Sara Trub said everyone had had a wonderful experience. We met the Israeli Ambassador, Arkady Milman, who was very complimentary about ORTs work, Ms Trub said. He made us all feel that what were doing is so important and so vital. Its been tremendous to speak to so many people and hear in what high esteem ORT is held in the community, she added. And visiting the schools has been delightful: we have seen not only what a terrific education the children are getting but also what a warm, nurturing environment that education is taking place in. One hundred and twenty-five years after it was founded, ORT is continuing its mission with ever greater success. Were all very grateful to be associated with a programme that gives so much to the Jewish people. ORT has more than 25,000 students in 58 schools and educational institutions throughout the former Soviet Union.