07 February 2007 Money raised at World ORT Board of Directors meeting The generosity that characterises World ORTs supporters was much in evidence at the Board of Directors meeting in Geneva last week. The members of World ORTs peak decision making body rallied to the call for help to balance the organisations budget. Following an appeal by World ORT President Sir Maurice Hatter, members pledged approximately $600,000 on behalf of their national organisations and some from their own pockets. ORT America President Judy Menikoff, who chaired the session, said: The Japanese have a saying, The reputation of 1,000 years may be determined in one hour. We dont know for how many decades the effect of our work will be felt; but in one hour we were able to assure the future of so many people. Mrs Menikoff emphasised the importance of the vision of the individuals sitting in on the meeting. As leaders of our respective national organisation we feel personally responsible to ensure that our commitment comes to fruition and it was this sense of personal responsibility that was at work when we voted to do this as a group, she said. The amount raised was double the actual deficit of $300,000. Much of the money has been pledged by ORT America ORTs largest fundraising organisation but large commitments were also made by operational countries including ORT France. The deficit was a temporary situation resulting from a fundraising shortfall but it was still enough to threaten some projects in Russia, India, Ukraine, Venezuela and Brazil. The solidarity shown by the Board of Directors will directly benefit students in all these countries, World ORT Director General Robert Singer said. Fallen comrades Wassim Nazal, Eyal Benin and Shani Turgeman. In addition, an appeal made in the dying minutes of the annual meeting raised approximately $30,000 to establish a fund in memory of the three Israeli soldiers who were killed in the Hezbollah ambush that sparked last years war Eyal Benin, 22, Shani Turgeman, 24, and Wassim Nazal, 26. The immediate and generous response to the appeal was due in part to the conversations that several lay leaders had had with ORT Braude student Tomer Weinberg, who survived the ambush. Mr Weinberg had attended earlier sessions of the weekend meeting with his sister, Keren. We hope that this will help Tomer in his healing; he is recovering from his physical wounds but there are deeper wounds that will take even longer to heal, said World ORT Finance Committee Chairman Alan Berkowitz said. We also want to perpetuate the memory of Tomers three friends, who were killed, and to provide some comfort to their families. Mr Berkowitz, a past Treasurer of ORT South Africa, pledged $1,500 $500 on behalf of each of his three sons and others pledged similar amounts on behalf of their children and even grandchildren. People indicated that they would take word of this appeal back to their home countries so that as many people as possible can contribute. This is something for ORT supporters and non-ORT supporters, he said. If someone cant afford $500 then they can give $50 or multiples of $50. The goal is to raise enough money to establish an education-related fund. Mr Weinberg will take a leading role in managing the fund, together with a World ORT officer, and is already consulting with the families of his fallen comrades to decide how best it could be used.