ORT sends first Taglit-birthright group from India to Israel


11 January 2006 ORT sends first Taglit-birthright group from India to Israel The first ever group of Indian Jews to visit Israel under the Taglit-birthright programme has completed a 10-day tour of the Jewish State thanks to ORT India and the Jewish Agency. The 40 ORT India students all aged between 18 and 26 were accompanied by ORT Indias Head of Jewish Education, Sharon Binyamin Galsurkar, and the Head of its Computer Department, Elkan Nissim Palkar. ORT India is based in Mumbai (Bombay) but the Taglit-birthright participants came from Jewish communities across the sub-continent. The students are all very happy, Mr Palkar said in Israel, before the end of the trip. This is a unique experience for them they would not have been able to afford this journey without the help of the Taglit-birthright programme. Now many of them are looking into the possibility of making aliyah. When the group landed in Tel Aviv they recited the Shehecheyanu blessing, which thanks God for bringing them to this point in time. They then spent a week travelling the length and breadth of the country, visiting major cities and even spending one night in the Negev desert. They were surprised and deeply moved by the visit to Yad Vashem, Mr Palkar said. In India, the Jews have not suffered persecution; so, although they had learned about the Holocaust, they were all crying when they came face to face with the reality of what had happened. The ORT India group in Jerusalem. The Head of World ORTs Coordination Department, Vladimir Dribinskiy, said that everyone was delighted with the success of the trip. ORT India is an important member of the ORT family, Mr Dribinskiy said. This trip is the latest successful venture in ORT Indias remarkable 45 years of existence. We are all extremely proud of the organisations achievements and the important role it has played in Indias Jewish community. Taglit-birthright israel 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. ORT India provides vocational and technology training for Indias Jewish communities as well as hosting communal events and providing kosher services in Mumbai. Outside Mumbai, ORT operates computer centres and training programmes in Ahmedbad, Alibaug, Pune and Mizoram. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries