ORT Lipson brings Israeli and American kids together


February 28, 2007 ORT Lipson brings Israeli and American kids together A group of Israeli teenagers have spent a month in Atlanta as part of the ORT Lipson programme. The high school students from Kiryat Yam, just north of Haifa, lived with local families, attended local Jewish day schools and went on educational tours. For all but one of them it was their first visit to America. This year we especially wanted to bring children from the north of Israel in a way rewarding those who had been in the bomb shelters and who had gone through so much, said ORT America South East Regional Director Susan Lips. Half the Israeli group came from the Rodman school, which is one of the more than 30 Israeli high schools benefiting from World ORTs Kadima Mada 2007 (Science Journey 2007), a $7.4 million programme to raise the standard of science and technology education. The Rodman students attended Greenfield Hebrew Academy; the other students, from the Rabin school, attended the Epstein School. Israeli students at the ORT Lipson welcome reception. In addition to joining classes with their American peers, the Israelis were given their own study time to keep up with the curriculum back home. They were also taken on tours to local places of interest, including CNN, the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and the Martin Luther King Centre. They also visited Tichon, an evening religious programme for children who do not attend a Jewish day school. There they tested the Americans on their knowledge of Israel. The American and Israel children learned so much about each other, about each others lifestyles, Ms Lips said. The Americans, for example, learned that they are very similar but face different challenges: the Israelis live in a country where most people are Jewish so they dont consider being Jewish extraordinary whereas the Americans are aware of being part of a minority. In the end they all realised that the Israelis need the Diaspora as much as the Diaspora needs Israel. Strong bonds were created during the Israelis stay and there was much hugging, kissing and crying when the Israelis were seen off at the Marcus Jewish Community Centre, Ms Lips said. But they will meet again. The Atlanta 8th grade students will visit Kiryat Yam when they visit Israel after Pesach, Ms Lips said. We would like to continue our relationship with Kiryat Yam but we would also like to bring children from Megido, which is another sister city of Atlanta. The ORT Lipson International Studies Programme was conceived by Rabbi Steven Ballaban together with former American ORT National Vice President, Nathan I. Lipson. The programme began in 2003 with funding from the ORT Lipson International Studies Programme fund, which was established by Atlantas Lipson family and has attracted generous donations from ORT supporters.