Thousands Of Students Connect On ORT Day 2021


Thousands of ORT students have connected online and in their classrooms to mark the annual celebration of our global education network.

Youngsters from more than a dozen countries joined a quiz, digital postcard exchange and special lessons as part of ORT Day 2021. The theme of this year’s event was ‘connection’.

Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, said: “Many of the students joined the sessions remotely from home due to severe Covid restrictions in their countries. Our Israeli students took part amid the ongoing rocket attacks.

“With so much uncertainly around the world, it was vital that we continued with the yearly festival of activities to ensure our students had an opportunity to interact with their peers in dozens of countries. 

“One of the greatest strengths of our network is our togetherness, co-operation and connectivity. We have felt that shine through during the pandemic, and ORT Day was a fantastic way to celebrate those values together. I hope next year we will be able to celebrate with our dedicated teachers, students and friends in person.” 

Wednesday’s main event was a live quiz. Hundreds of students took part from 15 ORT schools. They answered questions on the organization’s history, values and geography. The winner was Tomas Podolsky from ORT Argentina.

Classes had prepared by taking part in special ORT history lessons, and Moscow Technology School ninth grader Uliya Belenkaya said: “I think it’s very important to know the history of ORT, because our school is part of that. The ORT history lesson was really interesting and informative.”

Daria Kurlaeva, a Grade Eight student at the Moscow ORT Technology School, said: “It was so interesting to prepare for the quiz – I learnt many new and interesting things. The game was cool, very interesting and exciting. What was most unbelievable was to see students from all over the world on our screen. I’m really grateful to every person who gave me and my friends the opportunity to participate.” 

Making digital postcards in Madrid

Students also produced Instagram Reels – short films on the social media platform – showing the value of connection in their local communities in order to convey a spirit of Tikkun Olam, one of ORT’s key values.

Schools across the network were paired so youngsters in Ukraine and Israel, Panama and Italy, Brazil and Russia, and more could connect and share a feeling of togetherness through the digital postcard exchange.

Simona, a student at ORT Educational Complex number 141 in Kiev, wrote to her new pen pal at the Kfar Silver Youth Village in Israel. She wrote: “I am hardworking and ambitious. I like to draw and cook new meals. I like studying and ORT gives me a lot of different opportunities. ORT schools connect a lot of people who share the same dream, that’s why I like it.” 

Corresponding with peers at the ORT school in Mexico City, 15-year-old Lithuanian Sandra wrote: “I’m very happy I can write to other people who go to an ORT school too. My school is one of a kind in the country and I’m pleased I can study here. We have amazing teachers and exchange programs with ORT schools in other countries.” 

Student Karina Smirnova takes part in the ORT Day quiz remotely in St Petersburg, Russia

ORT supporters worldwide, including in the United States, Canada and Britain, also joined a series of talks from regional leaders who described their connection to ORT and the impact the organization has had in their lives.

Sessions took place in Russian, Spanish and English, with hundreds of people joining to hear from Mikhail Libkin, Director of ORT Russia and a graduate of an ORT school in Moscow. He spoke about his life growing up in the 1990s in the former Soviet Union. Amelie Esquenazi, World ORT co-ordinator in Latin America, described her family’s escape from Eastern Europe during the Holocaust and her upbringing in Mexico.

Following the events Conrad Giles, World ORT President, said: “I’m filled with such pride. We take great pride in our ability to provide education, and seeing these activities today further energizes us.”