ORT South Africa Biennial Congress


01 September 2006 ORT South Africa looks to the future ORT South Africa has emerged from its Biennial Congress in Johannesburg with a determination to attract and retain more volunteers. The 70 delegates from across the country passed a resolution to revamp the organisations volunteer recruitment strategy. ORT SA National Director Michael Sieff said: Emigration has meant that theres a demographic gap in the 40s to 50s age group from which, traditionally, many volunteers are recruited. The congress charged me with setting up a strategy to address this challenge. One effect is the targeting of younger age groups to take on lay leadership roles, which was evident at the congress itself. World ORT Director General Robert Singer, who was a guest speaker, praised the continuity and progress evident as the generational change takes hold. The National Chairman, Darrel Krowitz, who is only 43, was re-elected for a second two-year term and Vice Chair Ricci Schwab and Honorary National Treasurer Irwin Lipworth are both in their 30s, Mr Singer said. Its exciting to see this new generation take the organisation forward without marginalising the veterans, whose knowledge and experience is still a core asset. ORT SA is in very good shape; very motivated and enthusiastic. Robert Singer, ORT SA Honorary Life President Martin Behr and ORT SA National Chairman Darrel Krowitz. Mr Sieff said that ORT SA had already been reaching out to younger people through its participation in World ORTs International Next Generation initiative and its own Jewish Entrepreneurial Trust (ORT JET). In partnership with the Chief Rabbis office, the Chevra Kadisha and the Rambam Trust, ORT JET provides the means by which the communitys experienced businesspeople volunteer their times and expertise to mentor budding entrepreneurs. One such businessman is Rowan Swartz, an ORT JET trustee, who successfully introduced automatic teller machines to convenience stores across South Africa. Mr Swartz, together with businessman and communal activist Howard Sackstein, addressed the congress on the importance of volunteers in ORT SA. The Israeli Ambassador, Ilan Baruch, also addressed the congress and congratulated the organisation on its outstanding contribution to the peoples of southern Africa, and ORT operations around the world, over the past 70 years. Mr Krowitz and Mr Lipworth were presented with awards in recognition of their outstanding contribution and dedication to ORT SA. The National Executive also announced the election of Ann Levy and Nilly Baruch as Vice Chairs. The congress also featured an Experiential Workshop on Technology run by ORT SAs Director of Educator Development, Alta Greeff. The workshop opened peoples eyes, said Mr Sieff. Our lay leaders have a commitment to, and faith in, ORT that is second to none but many of them havent experienced at first hand what it is we actually do in the field. Now theyve had a practical taste of how we actually help people.