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Nov 6, 2023

World ORT Responds to Educational Crisis in Israel

Since the earliest hours and days of the war in Israel, Federation overseas partner World ORT has been delivering urgent educational and psychological support for Israeli students, teachers and their families. As a global education network, ORT provides their students, many of whom are recent olim (immigrants) coping with trauma, emotional distress and learning challenges, with the strength and support they need to learn and grow.

While in-person learning has recently resumed on some World ORT campuses, during the past six weeks, teachers and staff created more than 100 online activities to serve 1,800 students across Israel. The daily sessions offered a sense of normalcy during this turbulent time. In conjunction, ORT teachers and instructors received training in effective online teaching methodology, along with assistance in integrating their curricula into online activities to ensure a comprehensive approach.

Additionally, nearly 2,000 students from grades one to eight in the southern and northern peripheries of the country participated in a variety of hands-on workshops ranging from photography and robotics to animation, coding and virtual reality. Watch a video here created by Shira, a seventh grader who participated in one of the animation workshops presented in evacuation centers for displaced Israelis.

Comprehensive mental health services have also been offered to the students and teachers who witnessed the atrocities of October 7th, including one-on-one counseling and group sessions, on-call psychologists, therapeutic workshops and online resources. In the midst of the terror attacks, 60 students were evacuated from World ORT’s Kfar Silver Youth Village, located only eight miles from the Gaza border. “These have been the hardest days of my life,” said Amos Gofer, World ORT CEO, who added, “A lot of those students are from Russia and Ukraine, children aged 14 and 15. It was very upsetting for them.”

Reflecting on the experience of being displaced by war twice, Sviatoslav, an eleventh grader who moved to Kfar Silver from Kharkiv last spring following the start of the war in Ukraine, said, “I have flashbacks to when I was at home in Kharkiv watching with my parents on TV when the war started. I panicked and started to check all the doors because we were really afraid the terrorists would infiltrate Ashkelon.”

World ORT receives an annual allocation from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation/UJA Campaign to support its education network for Jewish students across the globe. To support the Annual Campaign with an online donation, please click here.

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