World ORT gives hope wings


19 December 2008 World ORT gives hope wings World ORT is helping disadvantaged students from peripheral parts of Israel to attain the qualifications they need to be technicians in the Israel Defence Force. With the financial backing of the UJA-Federation of New York, World ORT is helping to pay for 70 youths many of them of Ethiopian origin to go through a two-year practical electronic engineering diploma course in the Golan. The joint programme with the IDF not only gives young Israelis the chance to embark on a strong career path, it helps to meet the lack of trained technicians in the Israeli military, particularly the air force. Collectively known as the Kadima Mada Class, boys have enrolled on the programme from high schools throughout the country, including those benefiting from World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme. All of them have an aptitude for the subject matter that will serve them well and allow them to serve their country well, said the Head of World ORTs Representative Office in Israel Rony Kalinsky. They dont have the maths and physics qualifications normally required to enrol on this course because they may be new immigrants without the necessary language skills or because they were unable to access the additional help needed while at school to realise their potential. But were giving them the chance to prove themselves. The IDF benefits by getting trained personnel and the students benefit by getting an interesting job during national service that will train them and give them several years of superb experience that will ensure that they are highly sought after in civilian life. During the two years the youths will be studying at Emek HaYarden College, they will live at a residential centre called Adir BeMarom, in Katzrin, part of the Midreshet HaGolan Hesder Yeshiva. The centre is run along religious lines under the Directorship of Rabbi Itzik Laslo, each formal study day starting with prayers at 6.45am and finishing at 9.15pm. Here they receive all the extra tuition they need to cope with the lectures, said Kadima Mada Projects Manager Sherrie Gazit. They will learn all the background that they missed by not continuing maths and physics at high school and receive help with the daily homework that all diploma students are given. In addition, the boys will undergo a cultural enrichment programme that will give them a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the Land of Israel as well as study trips, Torah study and pastoral care. What is particularly special about this programme, Ms Gazit said, is that despite the extra workload our boys have taken on they will finish their formal studies at the same time as their contemporaries. This shows the students motivation as well as the quality of the Adir BeMarom programme. Graduates will receive placements in the Israel Air Force but Adir BeMarom will maintain contact with them while they are serving. The programme was formally launched this week with a study trip to Jerusalem, including a ceremony at Givat HaTachmoshet, Ammunition Hill, site of a fierce, close-quarters battle between Israeli and Jordanian forces in 1967 which opened the way for the reunification of the capital. The event allowed students to look up from their text books and see the bigger picture: their connection to Kadima Mada, the IDF and the important role they will play in ensuring Israels security. This Kadima Mada Connection Recognition Day and ceremony expresses the ever-deepening cooperation between Kadima Mada and Midreshet HaGolans Adir BeMarom Preparatory Programme, Rabbi Laslo told those assembled at Ammunition Hill. We have a joint objective to nurture and promote technological excellence among all populations in order to strengthen Israels army, security, economy and society with a deep understanding that the focal point is on national values, excellence in education and sharing the burden. Mr Kalinsky added: This project is the realisation of a joint dream between the IDF, Kadima Mada and Adir BeMarom, one which provides hope for scores of students. Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, is the best place to hold this ceremony; and Ammunition Hill is a place where success was the result of willpower, perseverance and self-sacrifice. This message is one which the students will take back with them to Adir BeMarom and which will help them to succeed in their studies. Among those attending the ceremony was the head of the avionics wing of a large air force base and who for security reasons can not be named. He reminded everyone that without the technicians that these Kadima Mada students would one day become the pilots would be unable to get off the ground. The technical team needs to be of a high quality, experienced, trained and completely motivated, he said. Adir BeMaroms students play a large part in this. Yehuda Ovnach addressed the ceremony on behalf of the students. He thanked Adir BeMarom, the Israeli Air Force and Kadima Mada for giving them this opportunity to excel. Yehuda was born in Ethiopia and worked as a shepherd until he was seven years old. After waiting three years to make aliyah, he now lives in Israel with his family, including 10 siblings some of whom are in the army and others who have already completed their national service. I am the first in my family to have the chance to further my education. I am very proud and thankful to be able to realise my dream, he said.