Article - Centenary of "ORT"
"ORT" - ORGANIZATION FOR REHABILITATION THROUGH TRAINING
From its birth in St. Petersburg in 1880 to its present status, ORT has served the Jewish people in times of pogroms, mass migrations, war, revolution, the Holocaust, the DP camps, the State of Israel, and the Diaspora. The 100th Anniversary of ORT was therefore a celebration that belonged to Jews everywhere.
ORT's sole purpose is to serve the needs of the Jewish people in a manner meaningful to the fulfillment of life and livelihood. By encouraging the work ethic and tradition that are part of the Jewish heritage, ORT has helped Jewish survival and progress. ORT has brought about the realization that skills keyed to technological change are possessions of great worth and a firm foundation on which to base a productive and dignified life. This is the secret of the continuity of ORT, its relevance to our time and to its tasks in the future.
The founding fathers, concerned with devising a breakout from the misery and restrictions which then beset the Jewish people, could not have foreseen that ORT would not merely live on, but at its centenary would girdle the Jewish world with networks of educational, vocational, and technical programs and institutions; further, that the work of ORT schools would be of the highest caliber and technological sophistication; and that at the end of ORT's first century there would be 100,000 youth and adults enrolled in its courses.
Today's ORT is the instrument for the development of Israel's human resources and the major source of its skilled work force. In the French Jewish community, the largest in Western Europe, ORT schools have evolved to match the needs of a population swollen by the influx of North African Jews over the past years. The ORT program in Morocco continues to serve the remaining members of the community. The program in India made available occupational possibilities previously beyond the reach of the youth of Benei Israel. So, also, has been ORT's mission among the Jews of Iran and throughout North Africa. The ORT complex in Buenos Aires is the heart of a continent-wide network of vocational and science-based technical centers as well as courses within Jewish day schools. And, to the developing nations of the Third World, ORT makes its expertise available in a broad gamut of manpower development projects.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and East European communism ORT could again function in these regions and an increasing number of centers have begun operation. By 1995, ORT operated in 60 countries and had a student body of over 250,000 worldwide. It offers its experience on a non-sectarian basis.
The role of ORT in helping to close the social gap that yawns across the Israel social order was one of the first priorities for ORT, for the Jewish State, and for the Jewish people. In an increasingly science-based technological age, the tasks of developing a high-level technical cadre that is as good as, or better than, anywhere else in the world, is the explicit task of ORT in Israel. Its an extensive Israeli program ranges from ORT Braude College at Karmiel, which has been accredited as an academic institution conferring bachelor degrees, to special courses teaching languages and special skills to recent immigrants as well as schools for Muslim, Christian, and Druze children. Recently ORT has created its own communications network, ORTnet, which is part of the international internet.
The illustration on the stamp a multicolored cog wheel is symbolic of the technical training provided by ORT.