ORT Brazil celebrates its 60th anniversary


29 November 2005 ORT Brazil celebrates 60 years of Educating for Life ORT Brazil has marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of its first school with two special ceremonies. At one, some 120 guests congregated in the auditorium of the ORT Institute of Technology in Rio de Janeiro for the launch of a commemorative book, The History of ORT Brazil: 60 Years, written by Suely Spiguel and ORT Brazil Director Hugo Malajovich, and the screening of a film based on it. ORT Brazil President Armando Klabin, whose family was instrumental in establishing ORTs programme when it started organising in the country during World War Two, addressed the gathering, as did Mr Malajovich, Veronica Nieckele, a spokesperson for the organisations young lay leadership, and Armando Strozenberg, representing friends of ORT. They thanked everyone involved in preparing the ceremony, book and film. Special tribute was made to the founders of ORT Brazil, in particular the late Shmuel Malamud, a long time president. We hope that events such as this will attract even more students to the school, Mr Klabin added. The high school is already looking forward to increasing its enrolment from 200 to approximately 240 in the new year but the extensive domestic media coverage given to the anniversary may boost that further. Israel and Armando Klabin, Sergio Ribeiro da Costa Werlang, Hugo Malajovich. The guests later assembled to see the Executive Director of Bank ITAU, Sergio Ribeiro da Costa Werlang, inaugurate new computer equipment provided thanks to a $20,000 donation by what is Brazils second most important commercial bank. A cyber room, in which teachers can give their lessons while the students access specialised sites on the Internet, was also inaugurated in the memory of outstanding ORT Brazil lay leader Abraham Jacob Lafer by his daughter and grandson. A commemorative plaque was unveiled to honour the individuals and organisations whose donations have made the schools extensive scholarship provision possible. Similar anniversary commemorations were staged the following day for ORT alumni and their families, teachers and current students. Suely Spguel and Hugo Malajovich present copies of the 60th anniversary book to ORT students. World ORTs Representative in Latin America, Isidoro Gorodischer, attended the festivities. This is a very important event, Mr Gorodischer said. We are witnessing a renaissance in ORT Brazil as a new generation of lay leaders join the Board of Directors and carry forward the work that their predecessors have been doing for ORT with extraordinary skill and commitment. Mr Gorodischer echoed Mr Klabins hope that more students would be attracted to ORTs high quality school. I also hope that in the near future we will see some ORT projects in Sao Paulo where we had training programmes up until the mid-1950s and again in the mid-1990s, and where this is a sizeable Jewish community, he said. Manuel Mindlin Lafer and Marina Lafer unveil the new Cyber Room with Armando Klabin. ORTs school that was established in Rio de Janeiro in 1945 was the first ORT school in Latin America to function in a building of its own. In 1951, the school expanded and provided training courses at elementary and advanced levels in addition to courses in Jewish education. In 1968, the school moved to a new site and enlarged its curriculum to include electronics, chemistry, business administration and data processing. ORT also provided technology education outreach services for other Jewish schools in Rio, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre. In 1989, the Leon and Antonietta Feffer IT laboratory was inaugurated at the Bialik School in Sao Paolo. In 1992, ORT Brazils new school building was inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro, with specialist laboratories for the teaching of advanced technology. A new biotechnology course opened this year, enhancing ORTs reputation as the countrys best school for the teaching of science and technology. In 1998, the school building was enlarged to house the Samuel Malamud ORT Institute of Technology. A course in Social Communication opened the following year. CEDEA, the Experimental Centre for Environmental Education, opened in Petropolis, 70 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro, in 2002. Funded jointly by World ORT, ORT Brazil and the Henrique Lemle Summer Camp, CEDEA is a pioneering field project for the teaching of natural sciences. It is located within 850,000 square metres of forests, rivers and lakes. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish educational and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.