Schools around the world remember Israeli hostages


10 October 2006 ORT schools remember Israeli hostages. ORT schools around the world have involved students in special classes and projects to explain to them the issues surrounding the holding of three Israeli soldiers hostage and so ensure that their plight is not forgotten. The schools were responding to a call by World ORT Director General Robert Singer that they keep September 27 as a Day of Solidarity for the soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Schalit. At the core of our identity is the sense that every Jew is responsible for each other Together we can ensure that these brave young men are not forgotten, Mr Singer wrote. Mr Singer was moved to help the hostages families in their campaign to have the soldiers returned after he and World ORT Vice President Dr Jean de Gunzburg met relatives of Ehud and Eldad in Israel. World ORT prepared material about Ehud and Eldad, whose kidnap by Hezbollah in July sparked the war in Lebanon, and Gilad, who was kidnapped by Hamas in June, into various languages so that ORT teachers around the world could prepare relevant lessons. Activities and commemorations that took place in a few of the schools are described below. Students remember hostage Eldad Regev at ORT Samara. Special lectures were held at Jewish School No.12 in Kazan, Tatarstan, which hosts an ORT Technology Centre. The school radio broadcast Jewish songs and students goodwill wishes to the hostages and their families. The children continued to discuss the hostages and how they could be released even into the breaks between classes, said Jewish Tradition teacher Sonya Borodova. At St Petersburgs Jewish School No. 550, which hosts the ORT de Gunzburg Technology Centre, 11th grade students were joined by staff to express their solidarity with the soldiers and their families. At the end of the meeting they adopted a petition to be sent to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking him to do everything possible to bring the hostages home. The petition was signed by members of each grade at the school. At the Leon Pinelo School in Lima, Peru some 200 students aged between six and 13 participated in special activities for the Day of Solidarity. At ORT schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina, meanwhile, teachers tackled the issue in different ways according to the age of the students. Older students discussed state policy whereas younger students analysed aspects related to family and Jewish law and traditions, said ORT Argentina National Director Baruj Zaidenknop. Teachers raised political, legal, moral and ethical questions and so provided various contexts in which students could explore their own Jewish identity. A teacher explains issues surrounding the hostage crisis at Leon Pinelo School in Peru. Students from grades 6 to 11 at the Samara School No. 42, which hosts the ORT Samara Technology Centre, participated in commemorations. And in Moscow, ORT Lipman School No. 1311 and the ORT Technology College ran special activities for students. ORT Lipman Hebrew students wrote letters to the soldiers to express their support and sympathy. ORT Moscow students discussed the significance of captivity and the redemption of hostages in traditional Jewish law and culture. They read about the situation and engaged in role play in which they took on the parts of the hostages and their relatives. They concluded by saying a prayer for the soldiers safe return and writing letters to their families. Students at ORT Kazan discuss the plight of the hostages in a special class. ORT Uruguay University marked the day with its Head of Jewish Studies, David Tellias, presenting a special class at a local Jewish high school. In addition, posters on the issue were placed on all the student notice boards throughout the university. More details about the families struggle to bring Eldad, Ehud and Gilad home can be found at