ORT “モ “one of the world’s great institutions”?


The year has ended on a high note with gala events in Montreal and London raising a total of more than $1.6 million for ORT and other projects around the world.

ORT Montreal’s 28th Annual Benefit Gala attracted more than 2,000 people in support of World ORT projects in Israel and tuition assistance in the city.

At British ORT’s 90th anniversary Gala Dinner, the 250 guests were enthralled by the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, Lord Sacks, who gave a characteristically erudite keynote speech.

“It’s a privilege to pay tribute to ORT, one of the world’s great institutions,” the Chief Rabbi said before placing its work in an historical and cultural context. The advent of instantaneous global communication was, like other fundamental developments in communication before it, the invention of writing, the invention of the alphabet and the invention of printing, changing civilization and precipitating one of the greatest periods of turbulence in history, he said. The first alphabet was Hebrew and brought with it the possibility of universal literacy.

“We became the people of the alphabet who became the people of the Book. Thereby we became the only nation in history to predicate its survival on education. We became the people whose citadels were schools, whose heroes were teachers and whose passion was education and the life of the mind,” he said.

“That’s a Jewish value beyond belief. And that’s the Jewish value that ORT is making real for Jewish and non-Jewish children throughout the world “モ and that’s so beautiful”ᆭ ORT is teaching the world how to learn.”

British ORT’s event, sponsored by JP Morgan, raised £420,000 (US$649,500) for ORT’s network of 18 schools in the former Soviet Union, where science and technology are taught alongside Jewish heritage and faith.

“While equipping our students with the knowledge and skills they need to enter the workforce, we also bring the rich mosaic of our faith back to forgotten Jewish communities, whose association with Judaism was cruelly riven by decades of communist oppression,” said British ORT Chairman Simon Alberga.

The Chief Rabbi concurred, saying: “For many of those young people those ORT schools are their one real living connection with Judaism. The work that ORT is doing is just magnificent.”

Entertainment on the night was provided by writers and broadcasters Vanessa Feltz and David Baddiel with the former interviewing the latter on his career, his film Infidel, and Jewish identity.

In Montreal, the celebration of Jewish education featured a concert by Kenny Loggins which had people dancing in the aisles.

ORT Montreal partnered with local Jewish day schools, as well as Maccabi Canada and the Yaldei Developmental Centre, for the event.

“Over 2,000 people who show their commitment to Jewish Education by sending their children to Jewish day schools were exposed to ORT and that’s what this partnership is all about,”? said ORT Montreal Executive Director Emmanuel Kalles. “ORT is the only organization in the community that can bring together these diverse organizations in support of and to celebrate Jewish Education.”?

The Gala honoree was Charles Sirois, Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and founder and Chairman of Enablis Entrepreneurial Network, a global non-profit organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in developing countries.

“ORT and Enablis share a common vision of educating and nurturing young people and giving them the skills needed to secure productive lives,” Mr Kalles said.

ORT Montreal also presented its Lifetime Learning Award to David Rubin who has spent 30 years studying for an undergraduate and then a Masters Degree in between working and raising a family and is now preparing a second thesis “モ The Frescoes in the Palace of Minos at Knossos “モ in the hope of gaining a PhD.

Co-chaired by Lois and Gary Alexander, the event was sponsored by CIBC, with Peartree Financial Services and Victoria Park as Leader Sponsors. Mr and Mrs Alexander, ORT Montreal First Vice President Arthur Silber, Broccolini Construction Inc, CIBC Wood Gundy, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Robert Goldfarb, Morris and Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation, Pipe & Piling Supplies, and Telesystems Inc were Platinum Sponsors.