NEW PUBLICATION – New Chapters in ORT History


Educating for Life – New Chapters in ORT History- COMING SOON An academic study and source book in two volumes In the late 1970s, World ORT commissioned the late Dr Leon Shapiro, a scholar of Hebaric Studies at Rutgers University, to compile the first ever academic study into the history of the organisation, beginning in ORTs foundation in Tsarist Russia and ending in 1978 the time of the books publication. The result of this commission, titled The History of ORT, was no small achievement. Dr Shapiro penned a comprehensive and informative study that will stay an important part of the ORT bookshelf for many years to come. The History of ORT has been praised by renowned scholars for being vividly written and superbly executed and has been hailed as a seminal contribution to the understanding of modern Jewish history. This year, World ORT has commissioned a new publication that will bring new documentation and historical analysis to scholars, academics, students and the general reader. When the first book was written, Dr Shapiro had no access to many archive and historical materials that directly concern ORTs work through the years. Important parts of the organizations history, and with it the story of thousands of Jewish people, was left untold. Today, with archives in the Former Soviet Union finally open to scholars, and with many new historical documents found in various parts of the world, it is time to write those forgotten chapters of Jewish modern history. This year, World ORT has commissioned a new publication that will bring new documentation and historical analysis to scholars, academics, students and the general reader. The publication will be comprised of two volumes. Volume I A new edition of The History of ORT with a fresh new design Volume II A newly written companion and source book, written and researched by a team of academics and ORT professionals. The new volume will contain two main sections: Historical Chapters These chapters will reveal new historical information and analysis that will compliment and expand on Dr Shapiros work. The historical chapters will be accompanied by never before seen archive material from the World ORT archive and the newly opened archives of the Soviet Union. The historical chapters are co-authored by two distinguished academics.First ad foremost, Professor Gennady Estraikh, Professor of Yiddish Studies at NYU and one of the worlds leading scholars in modern Jewish history. Professor Estraikh was previously a fellow at the Oxford Institute for Yiddish Studies and has written extensively on Jewish history. Secondly, Dr Sarah Kavanaugh, who is a research fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. Dr Kavanaugh has recently finished writing ORT and the Rehabilitation of Holocaust survivors, which was also commissioned by World ORT. Contemporary Chapters This part of the book will give an overview of ORTs work in the last thirty years since the publication of The History of ORT. Looking at major events and developments in recent decades such as ORTs return to Russia, ORT contribution to the technological boom in Israel, and other important achievements in education and fundraising around the world, this section will be the first eagle-eye view of ORTs work in present times. The new volume will conclude with an illustrated survey (portraits and biographical details) of the lay leaders and professionals who shaped the story of ORT through the decades. This will be the first time that such biographical data is gathered together in one place and undoubtedly will be a valuable resource in itself. World ORT has commissioned this publication with four particular aims in mind: To contribute to the study of of modern Jewish history by creating a new definitive, authoritative and up-to date study of the history of ORT. To encourage greater academic and scholarly interest in the history of the organisation and its place within the history of the Jewish people. To bring Dr Shapiros book to a new generation of researchers and students in the field. To update and add to Shapiros book with new material collected and commented upon by leading contemporary scholars. The two new volumes will have matching designs and will be arranged in an elegant box engraved with the names chosen by the sponsors of the publication. The new publication will be presented at the ORT General Assembly in May 2008. After that, it will be sent to key libraries and academic centers around the world.