World ORT Celebrates Close Links with Lithuania


26 August 2004 World ORT Director General Robert Singer and the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas, addressed the opening of the Second World Litvak Congress in Vilnius this week. More than 600 people from around the world were at the opening of the Congress, which the chairman of the local Jewish community, Dr Simon Alperovitch, described as a joyous gathering of our great family, to rediscover our forefathers towns and villages, to touch the stones of our eternal Vilna. Robert Singer, Director-General of World ORT meeting with the Prime Minister of Lithuania A significant part of ORTs history is bound up with Lithuania, as Mr Singer emphasised. Lithuania is an extremely important component of the ORT family, he said. This is because of our history in the country between 1920 and 1944, which produced many prominent ORT people, such as Jacob Oleiski, who became Director General of ORT Israel, and the partisan Joseph Harmatz, who became Director General of World ORT in 1980. But Mr Singer said the links between the Baltic state and ORT were not only historical but also firmly rooted in the present. On the Congress program is a visit to the Sholom Aleichem Jewish School, including the ORT Technical Centre. The technical centre was inaugurated in 2002, a product of ORTs Regeneration 2000 a four-year project to create and maintain thriving, respected Jewish schools in communities shattered by decades of Soviet repression. ORT Vilnius provides computer literacy course for adult and has 249 students in grades 1 to 12 in a flourishing, highly reputed institute that stands at the forefront of 21st century Jewish education. The courses offered include computer science, computer graphics, programming and web design, and office technology. The comprehensive Jewish syllabus includes Hebrew language and Jewish history and makes wide use of modern technology that attracts young and teenage students. We have significant plans for our future in Lithuania, Mr Singer said. Over the next four years, ORT Vilnius aims to further its teacher training programs, update the schools curricula and textbooks and upgrade its technological facilities a project that will require more than $300,000. In September, Lithuanias Deputy Minister of Education, Rimantas Vaitkus, is scheduled to visit ORT House, London to sign an agreement between the government and World ORT for co-operation in education, technology and training.