War worries ORT Israel students in London


14 July 2006 War worries ORT Israel students in London Worried Israeli school students, in London for the World ORT Rosner English Summer School, are keeping in close contact with their families and friends back home to keep up to date with developments there. The teenagers from ORT Israel schools have expressed fears for their loved ones but are keeping calm. Were all really sad about whats happening, said Assaf Bergerbes, 15, a student at ORT Shapira Kfar Saba. It sounds like a war there so were scared for ourselves, our families and our country. But were keeping it together; were not freaking out. Like his companions on the two-week intensive English language and culture programme, Assaf has been speaking to his parents every day. They told me it was a really sad situation. My family believes that we can sort everything out if we talk like reasonable people but kidnapping three soldiers, thats something that you cant be reasonable about. Chen Lugacy, 15, who attends ORT Melton in Bat Yam, said she had had email contact with friends in the northern town of Nahariyah. They told me that last night they had to go into the bomb shelters because the alarm sounded, she said. They were panicked and confused and very scared and I was frightened for them. But I trust my government to take care of everyone. Assaf and Chen are part of a group of 18 ORT students in London for what is the fourth World ORT Rosner English Summer School. They have a busy programme which helps to keep their minds off the fighting in Israel: every morning is spent in intensive English language classes and the afternoons and evenings are spent on outings to places of interest around the city. Former summer schools have included Arab, Druze and Bedouin students from Israel; this year, the group includes an Italian student for the first time as well as a student from Moscow. On Wednesday evening, Jerusalem resident Jenny Rosner, who sponsors the summer school, met the students at a reception at ORT House. British ORT Chairman Alan Goldman described the event as a special opportunity to meet some ORT students and to hear first hand their experiences. Jenny Rosner talks to one of the Summer School students. Mrs Rosner addressed the reception with a special message for the students. I want to remind you that you have all promised to pass on what you learn here to your peers. This is very important; you are only 18 people which is a small number compared to those who are waiting to be chosen to come, she said. The students, who were selected for their strong leadership skills, educational achievement and commitment to volunteer projects, are committed to providing extra, informal English language tuition to schoolmates on their return home. In founding the summer school, Mrs Rosner recognised the need to give Israeli students a chance to improve their command of the English language. Students in Israel need advanced English qualifications in order to meet the entry conditions of most universities. English also plays a vital role in developing a scientific or technical career because most publications, manual instructions and international conferences are in the language. Over the years, the summer school has opened its doors to non-Israeli ORT students as well. I am very proud of the summer school, she said, but I think the person we should thank for it is my husband, who died 13 years ago. He left the money which I thought was best invested in our youth. Moscow student Anna Vishnevskaya thanks Jenny Rosner. Also pictured, are British ORT Chairman Alan Goldman and Executive Director Ivor Levene OBE, and ORT Israel teacher Rosa Navarro. Rosa Navarro, a teacher at ORT Melton Bat Yam, also addressed the reception and, on behalf of the students, thanked Mrs Rosner, World ORT, British ORT and ORT Israel for the great privilege of being at the summer school. I have been with ORT for 33 years, Mrs Navarro said. I have stayed with ORT so long because I identify with its principles. We say that before you become a great engineer, scientist of businessman you have to be a great human being. We teach our students that there is not only taking, theres also giving. Four students addressed the reception briefly. Shachar Dror, 15, a student at ORT Shapira in Kfar Saba, described the tough selection process that he and the others had to go through. This included an English test, an interview in English and a special preparatory class. This is a great experience, Shachar said. Ive only been at ORT for a year and its been a wonderful year. ORT has given me an ability I never had before to express myself and the confidence to do whats right. Yael Glam, 16, who attends the ORT Renzo Levi school in Rome, described the summer school as beautiful. I am usually a shy person, she added, but religion and English is making me feel closer to people from all over the world. 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.