ORT Is Giving Needy Israeli Students a Reason to Smile
During their five-day mission to Israel, ORT America supporters glowed with pride as they experienced first-hand how ORT’s ground-breaking educational programs improve the lives of Israeli children, many from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Now they have another reason to be proud. Thanks to the support of the estate of ORT America supporters Thelma and Elmer Drier and contributions from major Israeli stores H&O and Kravitz, ORT has been distributing e-cards to over 1000 needy students at 33 campuses. These vouchers, totaling close to $200,000 in value, allow recipients to purchase clothes, shoes, stationery, and other school necessities in time for the new term. Most of the recipients have experienced crisis or loss, and many others are boarding outside their homes because of poverty and family problems.
“Nothing lifted our spirits more than seeing the happy faces of these kids,” noted National Executive Director Alan E. Klugman, leader of the organization’s 15-person mission to Israel. “Because of the dollars we raise in the United States for their education and welfare, these students’ lives are measurably better, and that was so gratifying to witness.”
For example, during the visit to the Rogozin Educational Campus at Kiryat Atta, the ORT America mission-goers talked with scholarship recipients. Among them was a shy Ethiopian boy who approached them during their tour of the college, at which post-high school students can gain a two-year engineering diploma in electronics or computer science. When he was in 11th grade, his father committed suicide, leaving his mother as the sole support of the family.
“Normally we don’t ask which children are getting social assistance,” said ORT America President Shelley B. Fagel. “But he and another boy came up to us and told us that without that support, they would not have been able to attend the college and would have gone into the army at a much lower grade than is now available to them.”
“It’s a very simple equation,” added Klugman. “We’re doing work every day which is changing the lives of children in need. And that is satisfying work to do.”