ORT is an international educational network that provides students with a premier Jewish education for lifelong success. Since its founding in 1880, ORT has expanded to become a foundational Jewish institution in diaspora communities worldwide. As one of Federation’s Israel and Overseas partners, ORT works tirelessly to provide training, job search assistance, and opportunities for students in economically disadvantaged communities. Thanks to generous support of donors and partners, including our Federation, ORT is able to meet the unique needs of more 200,000 students enrolled in its schools around the world.
For well over a century, ORT schools have provided a world-class Jewish education to young people around the globe. Now, as the organization celebrates 100 years in America, it is reaffirming its commitment to helping all of its students – including those who live in economically disadvantaged regions – acquire the skills needed to face the future with confidence.
Founded in Russia in 1880, ORT now has schools, universities, and vocational training programs in more than 30 countries, serving more than 200,000 students each year. ORT established an American presence in 1922 and now offers programming in eight regions across the United States.
Recently, the organization unveiled a video that reaffirms its mission and impact in a fast-changing world. The video features current students and alumni recounting their ORT experiences and explaining how ORT instructors have helped them chart a course to professional and personal success. For example, ORT's YOUniversity program offers after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) instruction in underprivileged and rural communities across Israel. "YOUniversity is all about exposing students to the exciting world of technology and STEM," says Or Shoval, a YOUniversity instructor. "If we help them at an early age and make this introduction to technology easier, it gives them a boost."
As an ORT alumnus and instructor, Veniamin Vodopin speaks from experience about the impact of an ORT education: "When I first went to the ORT school, I never thought I'd become an engineer," he says. "Now I'm a 3D printing enthusiast and a 'DIY' engineer."
In addition to teaching STEM and career skills, ORT makes Jewish values a core focus of instruction. "Tikkun olam is a big part of every program, [from] kindergarten through high school," explains Liora Zyman, academic director for ORT Mexico. Through project-based learning, students use these principles to explore environmental stewardship and sustainable living.
Photo: An ORT instructor teaches an underprivileged student computer programming and 3D modeling at an ORT YOUniversity after-school program in Israel.