ORT schools offer students the tools to thrive amid the changes sure to come in the years ahead. But our youngsters also learn to look back at 4,000 years of Jewish history and tradition — gaining the inspiration to cherish and nurture this tradition.
“ORT gives you a very unique type of Jewish identity through the study of Jewish history, Hebrew and culture,” notes ORT Russia Director Mikhail Libkin — who recalls not even realizing he was Jewish until age seven.
Through hands-on classroom experiences, family activities and virtual get-togethers, even the youngest ORT students gain an understanding of their deep Jewish roots. Non-Jewish students at ORT schools also benefit by gaining an appreciation for Jewish practice and values, creating an atmosphere for future understanding and tolerance.
While certainly not one-size-fits-all, ORT delivers sophisticated and challenging Jewish content to member schools and universities.
ORT provides the framework and the tools, as young people enjoy the rituals and learn the story behind Passover, Chanukah and the High Holy Days — as well as many other festive and meaningful observances, such as Lag B’Omer.
Beyond the school day, ORT encourages families to embrace the traditions of the Sabbath and holidays at home.
Jewish religious texts and other writings are explored for their relevance in students’ daily lives. The critical-thinking skills emphasized throughout an ORT curriculum also apply to Jewish values and ideals and their meaning today.
ORT’s worldwide network of schools and teachers is well positioned to help students examine the history of the Jewish people as it continues to unfold — from the loftiest achievements to the depths of oppression. It might be a field trip, museum visit or just sitting down with fellow Jews of previous generations to hear their personal stories.
ORT students don’t just receive an education or a vocation”, says World ORT President Conrad Giles, “they gain a sense of who they are”.
Religious affiliation and observance may be lacking in many busy modern households or communities. Or perhaps religious education simply comes to a halt when a youngster reaches that big Bar/Bat Mitzvah day at age 13.
ORT leaders, educators and supporters are well aware of both the responsibilities and opportunities to bring the world’s young Jewish people together — with each other and with their heritage.
The collaborative global approach that has made our STEM programs and other curricula so powerful guides our approach to Jewish education. And a firm grasp of Jewish history, culture and values can help students see the bigger picture as they go about their daily lives. The result is a richer Jewish communal life.
“ORT was very important for the building of my Jewish identity, linking me with Jewish culture, recalls Mikhail Libkin of his Russian childhood. “Which is now a big part of my life and a big part of my personality and my soul.“