New developments in ORT Israel


3 June 2005 Science teaching at ORT Israels Shoshana Sapir Comprehensive High School has been given a boost thanks to a one million-shekel donation from Agis Industries, a leading global healthcare company. The donation, equivalent to $227,000, will help to increase the number of students who major in scientific subjects by providing tutorial programmes in maths, physics and other sciences, and English. Agis Industries pharmaceutical and cosmetics manufacturing plants are in the southern town of Yerucham, not far from ORT Shoshana Sapir High School. The company, which merged with the US-based Perrigo Company last year, first supported ORT Israel five years ago when it mentored four outstanding students in its own research and development facility. Two of those students are due to work at Agis once they have finished their chemistry studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Since then, Agis Industries Israels second largest pharmaceuticals company has increased its involvement with ORT Yerucham, helping junior high school students to conduct professionally supervised scientific research and promoting the opening of a full chemistry track at the high school. In northern Israel, thanks to a World ORT initiative, ORT Israels Darsky Comprehensive High School has been visited by more than 60 members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, Indiana. Mayor Bart Peterson, First Lady of Indiana Cheri Daniels, President of the Federation President Gigi Marks Felsher, and Federation Executive Director Michael Papo were among those who met staff and students at the school in Acco. The Indianapolis Jewish Federation is one of 13 communities in the Midwest and Texas that are partnered with the Western Galilee through the Jewish Agencys Partnership 2000 program. Partnership 2000, among other projects, funds programmes that connect ORT Acco students to school classes in the 13 communities through joint learning and exchange visits. ORT Darsky students presented the Israel Roots Project, which involves delving into Jewish history and relating it to contemporary life. The students collaborate with schools in the Partnership communities and in Kiev in learning about their past and applying it to their different situations. Numerous additional visits by different American and Canadian Federations have been agreed during the negotiations between World ORT and the UJC and visits will take place in Israel, Argentina, CIS and the Baltic States. Meanwhile, ORT Israels annual MOTOT competition, which challenges junior high school students to find practical technological solutions to specific problems, this year focused on car and road safety. Road traffic accidents have killed more people in Israel over the past 57 years than war and terrorism combined. Of the 42 ORT Israel schools that submitted models, 16 made it to the finals, which were judged by six professors from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Half the finalists were from ORT Israels Arab, Druze and Bedouin schools. Among them was a team from ORT Hilmi Shafi in Acco, whose model depicted what happens when seat belts are not fastened, a problem the students felt was particularly worrisome among Israeli Arabs. ORT Sajur students Ghanem Sara, Ghanem Suad and Mustafa Julanar built a device for young drivers that phones the parents when the speedometer passes 90 kilometres per hour. Another competition attracted entries more than 30 groups of Mechatronics students from schools across the country. The students built systems designed to prevent or repair environmental damage, showing how they had carefully considered the implications of the Earths limited resources and how waste generated by the advancement of science and technology is causing environmental harm. Among the ORT Israel entries was a prize winning smart kettle by students from ORT Kramim Comprehensive High School in Karmiel. The kettle adjusts the activity of the heating element so that it can boil small quantities of water and so save energy. The competition was sponsored by the Ministry of Educations Department of Science and Technology, the Municipality of Haifa, Dimer Inc. and Robotech Technologies. The campaign for the ORT Yad Lvovich high school in Netanya was officially approved by the Executive Committee of World ORT that met last week in London. ORT Canada has already pledged $1.88 million to the renovation and enlargement of the school campus. Womens American ORT has pledged $600,000 and World ORT and British ORT have pledged $344,000. The Executive Committee also approved the marketing campaign and solicitation activities are due to start shortly. The annual Van Pollak award for outstanding teachers will be presented this year to competition winners from Israel, the US, Argentina and Russia. This prestigious award is part of an attempt to support new developments and outstanding teachers within the ORT network and is granted by joint Womens American ORT and World ORT jury.