What Our Supporters Say
ORT constituents, leadership and donors share their impressions about visiting ORT schools and programs, and the impact of our work.
We appreciated the opportunity to visit Kfar Silver Youth Village and our visit was both inspiring and sobering. Shimon Solomon and his staff gave us confidence that the programs – agricultural, educational, emotional counseling - were making tremendous progress in educating and developing the students to become productive members of Israeli society. This was being accomplished despite the tremendous challenges of students who come from disadvantaged households and/or are recent immigrants to Israel.
The students we met were quite impressive - articulate, curious and intelligent - and it felt like a melting pot. We saw Bedouins, Russian Jews, Ukrainian Jews, Ethiopian Jews and native Israelis all interacting with one another.
It was sobering in a number of respects. The shortage of bomb shelters put the students and staff in potential danger. While progress has been made with the facilities, it is clear a lot has to be done. We have always come away from ORT schools from Argentina to Russia to Lithuania to Israel impressed with the work ORT does - and the need to spread the message.
The best part about traveling on a mission with ORT is having the opportunity to actually lock eyes with the students we raise money for. Nothing can compare with experiencing real life interaction with students whose lives we touch. Although ORT is a global operation, traveling on a mission creates an intimacy by bring us to the program in real time and real life. I've returned from missions invigorated and validated, and proud of the work ORT continues to do.
Since I had little knowledge of the ORT organization, it has given me knowledge of what ORT has been doing for over 100 years. I am really impressed. I tell friends about the schools of ORT, and this should motivate them to contribute to ORT. I look forward to journeying with them again.
Kadima Mada offers Israel the opportunity to integrate Jewish, Arab, Druze, Bedouin, Ethiopian, Russian, and Ukrainian kids into a unified community of students who learn, work, play, and succeed together. This bodes well for Israel’s future, is a model for the world, and paves the way for a future of peace.
Only a mission can produce a theme that energizes your core beliefs and awakens your emotional connection with your people… Only a mission can illustrate the positive relationship between families in our ORT communities and in host communities of precarious Jewish continuity.
Your itinerary may take you to travel destinations both famous and historically significant, and reflective of regional personality, character, and lifestyle. Combined with a philanthropic impulse, this leads to individual emotional explorations. This ability to view travel as an intensely personal journey shared with caring others and with intrinsic importance to the world makes your trip a highlight of your life.
I was most impressed with the diversity of the programming and change that ORT brings to children in need and to the State of Israel. We visited Kfar Hasidim, which is undergoing massive improvements due to the generosity of several Detroit families. One boy stood out to me, a 14-year-old dreaming of becoming a computer engineer. Had it not been for ORT, this boy could be attending a school without even basic technology, making studying computers very difficult. We toured the beautiful new computer labs, and could see how we are giving him the opportunity to realize his dreams.
While ORT is helping children, it is also solving real problems for Israel. For example, the Farber Auto-tech Facility and curriculum is not only giving children the opportunity to learn a new skill, but also giving this region knowledge of an industry that currently does not exist.
My trip was about mid-way through the Kfar Hasidim renovations. I saw beautiful new classrooms, but a dilapidated basketball court to my left. Later I was sent photos of the renovated, state-of-the-art outdoor sports facility. It made a real impact on me to see how the money we raise translates to real improvements in children’s’ lives.
It is so clear that ORT’s goal is transformational change - significant improvements that will make a real difference. Visiting gave me pictures and stories I can recall in explaining to others what ORT does in Israel. I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the mission of the organization that I can share with others.
Participant on 2017 Next Gen mission to Israel
The most impressive part of the ORT programs I visited during our Next Gen Mission was the enthusiasm displayed by students and teachers. They embraced the opportunities provided by ORT, which instilled a passion for learning evident through their projects and class assignments. During one visit, we engaged in computer research with the students, who enjoyed using technology to assist in learning.
Beersheva Technological College stood out. It provides a means for students, who otherwise would not have great opportunities to learn technology and trades, to become trained in a certain area. I also liked the program in Kiryat Yam for students to engage in leisure activities such as paddle boarding and kayaking, to learn the importance of balancing education with an active lifestyle. I was most moved by the students who shared how they disliked school before they started at an ORT school, and how they did not ever think they would have a future without the resources and education provided by ORT. Many students believed that they would be “on the streets” and not “in school” if it weren’t for the opportunities provided by ORT.
Before visiting ORT schools in Israel, I did not realize what an enormous impact ORT makes in so many students’ lives. I knew that money raised through ORT Michigan was provided to schools in Israel, but seeing that money used to enhance classrooms, provide technology, update lunchrooms and playgrounds, and provide a relevant curriculum was incredible. All the students we met seemed to appreciate the opportunities provided by ORT. Visiting ORT schools and programs made me realize that ORT is truly making a difference in the lives of many Israelis and others all over the world. My visit allowed me to share what is happening in Israel with money raised through ORT, and how educational opportunities are provided to the youth of Israel.
I was most impressed by the wide range of opportunities students have to focus on their particular interests beyond general topics. The effect ORT programs have on students was incredible. ORT represents an integral part of the education system in Israel and without ORT, many students would not have opportunities to learn in safe environments. Seeing firsthand how ORT helps the success and future of Israel allowed me to better explain what ORT is and how it benefits Israel. The purpose is long-term and will help the overall success of the country by providing well-educated students.
What most impressed me was the quality of the education - most notably, the science programs and technology. At the ORT school in Moscow, the teachers are so dedicated and sincere. I was moved by the ORT students who were grateful to us for supporting their educational goals, and were so anxious to meets us and tell about their personal lives. This trip most definitely changed my perceptions about the Russian people and their understanding of the ORT organization. I am telling my friends about ORT and its achievements.
When World War II was over, we had survived, with the help of the Jewish Joint, in Shanghai, China. By that time, my mother was widowed and the American Consul asked her how she was going to support herself in the U.S. ORT had come to Shanghai, and my mother was able to take a tailoring course which enabled her to earn a living here. I am very grateful, and wish you continued success.
It was a joy to be in a place where Judaism is thriving and the education is innovative and paving the way for independent, successful lives. And our mission that was founded in 1880 has not wavered.