16 May 2008 ORT India prepares group for Israel tour Israels Consul General to India, Daniel Zohar Zoneshine, met a group of young Indian Jews this week ahead of their first visit to Israel. The 23 students and professionals aged between 18 and 26 are due to spend 10 days in Israel on a Taglit-Birthright trip. Their participation was organised by ORT India the fifth time that ORT India has partnered Taglit-Birthright in preparing a group for a free tour of the Jewish State. They are mainly from Bombay but also from smaller communities across India, said ORT India National Director Benjamin Isaac (pictured, seated, with, from left, Victor Sassoon, ORT India Chairman Normal Elijah, and Consul General Zoneshine). Mr Isaac said the trip, due to start next week, would encompass major cultural sites in the centre and north of the country. But its going to be much more than tourism, he said. They will experience the religion, history and culture of the country but will also be visiting some of the high-tech industries that are the powerhouse of Israels economic success. Mr Benjamin said the Taglit-Birthright trips were a vital contributor to the development of a strong Jewish identity among young people in India. Some of the participants come from families who are on the fringe of the community, including those with only one Jewish parent. After visiting Israel they definitely become more strongly identified as Jews. One of the results is that some make aliyah. Another benefit is that participants marry each other it has become a good way for boys and girls to meet. Taglit-Birthright provides free, first-time, peer group educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry and to strengthen participants personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish People. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said he was very happy with the on-going partnership between ORT and Birthright. This fruitful partnership is going from strength to strength with ORT India, ORT Cuba and ORT Russia, Mr Singer said. I have no doubt that it will extend to other national organisations through World ORT. We also hope to increase cooperation in the follow-up educational and leadership programmes for Birthright participants. ORT India provides vocational and technology training for Indias Jewish communities as well as hosting communal events and providing kosher services in Mumbai (Bombay). Outside Mumbai, ORT operates computers centres and training programmes in Ahmedbad, Alibaug, Pune and Mizoram.