ORT AMERICA TIMESWinter 2017The Perilous Daysof ORT in Iran:A Letter IsDiscoveredNaftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of EducationWorld ORT Kadima MadaLaunches Google Partnershipfor Mentor Program“The project we are launching is a dream come true,” said Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister ofEducation at a November 16th conference to establish [email protected], a new program led by the Officeof the Prime Minister of Israel and the Ministry of Education in partnership with Google and WorldORT Kadima Mada (Science Journey). [email protected] is part of the national effort to increase the number ofstudents in math and science at top level 5 units, being implemented in 125 schools across Israel.It will train outstanding 10th and 11th grade math students to be tutors to middle school students tohelp them progress in math.“It brings together all the things we want in education: Hard work, determination, overcomingdifficulties, teamwork, giving, responsibility and a sense of competence for the tutor,” Bennett added.Kadima Mada CEO Avi Ganon explained, “This partnership is a breakthrough for the educationsystem. This program is a key to economic independence and equal opportunity in Israel, andleverage to expand the scientific-technological reserve of Israel, which will reduce gaps between theperiphery and the center.”In Israel there was a 30% decrease in the number of high school students graduating in level 5 mathfrom 2006-2012, resulting in a “strategic threat to the country,” according to Bennett. Last year WorldORT Kadima Mada launched a project to enhance the knowledge of 200 math teachers to prevent thedecline in high school graduates at level 5 math. And although more than 90% of graduates of Israel’sengineering facilities achieved level 5 math in high school, the country is not producing enoughengineers for its high-tech sectors: 7,000 students are graduating this year.Mike Amerikaner, the Southern CaliforniaORT director, recently inquired about thehistory of ORT in Iran for an event with thelocal Iranian-Jewish community. Staff atWorld ORT found a compelling letter writtenduring the Iranian Revolution by Ms. ParvineMotamed, Director of the ORT school inTeheran, to Joseph Harmatz, then DirectorGeneral of World ORT. Just after learningof this letter, Mike was at Los Angeles ORTCollege, where he serendipitously met Ms.Motamed and showed it to her.The letter of 20 August 1980 details theclimate of the Revolution vis-à-vis membersof the Teheran Jewish community and theORT school. Ms. Motamed relates that agroup of “Comités” led by a mullah cameto the school, looked for documents, triedto occupy the school, and asked manyquestions of the man responsible for theboys’ dormitory. The group wanted to knowwho was in charge of the extra-curricularprogram run under the auspices of theJewish Agency in Iran, where ORT graduateswere living and how many went to Israel.She shares that “this is the beginning of thelast chapter of ORT’s history in Iran” and that“ORT people are leaving both the school andthe country one after another.”Ms. Motamed advises, “We must get theJewish youngsters out of Teheran andprepare them in another place in the worldfor their future.” A remarkable discoveryin ORT archives, the letter reflects thetumultuous changes that swept over Iran,the significance of the ORT school, and thefear and upheaval felt by the Iranian-Jewishcommunity.
Education for Life:We Bring ItWe’re proud of all the ways we bring education to a new level for thousands of people around theworld, which we highlight in this issue.Our campaign to benefit the de Gunzburg School - the flagship ORT facility in St. Petersburg,Russia - raised 312,000 to preserve our important STEM (science, technology, engineering andmath) program, ensuring its students can continue to master these subjects and gain educationaladvantages. The de Gunzburg School is known for its excellence because of this program and theside-by-side Jewish studies curriculum that acquaints young people with their history and cultureand celebrates their Jewish identity, made possible by ORT.We bring quality instruction to seventeen day schools in the FSU and to seven vocational trainingcenters for adults, which offer courses in computer proficiency, project management and otherdisciplines. Vocational training is also available in seventeen KesherNet centers, which focus onteaching skills to unemployed and underemployed women to further their job prospects.In Israel, World ORT Kadima Mada is making great strides in increasing educational opportunitiesfor people of all ages. With the addition of Kfar Silver youth village to the WOKM educationalnetwork, more young people in the south can benefit from our forward-thinking teaching methodsand state-of-the-art environments that prepare them for higher education and career development.We are delighted to announce our ORT America Mission to Russia at the end of the summer.We will visit our schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg, see our programs firsthand and meetstudents and teachers, enjoy historical and cultural sites, and attend exciting events and briefings.Details about this mission can be found on page 5. Please join us.Thanks to our donors, ORT thrives in meaningful ways that advance the lives of children, youth,young adults, careerists and seniors. We are determined to make this another year of tremendousachievement.Best regards,Larry KadisNational PresidentNational Headquarters75 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038800.519.2678 [email protected] ORTamerica.org2ORT America Executive Life TrusteesCommittee and NationalPaul BormanBoard of DirectorsLarry KadisNational PresidentNeil ModelChair, Executive CommitteeShelly DreifussVice PresidentMorris GocialVice PresidentAlan SeidenfeldVice PresidentLew ZipkinVice PresidentHoward LanznarTreasurerPepi DunayShelley FagelReese FeldmanAlvin L. GrayDoreen HermelinSandy IsensteinLinda KirschbaumMurray KoppelmanCarol LinchJudy MenikoffRobert SillMichael R. StolerRuth S. TaffelJohn VerStandigORT AmericaProfessional StaffBart BookatzSecretary/Assoc. TreasurerJeffrey CooperChief Financial andOperating OfficerSuellen KadisMember at LargeMarla D. LandisChief Development OfficerGail LanznarMember at LargeAllison HalpernAsst. National CampaignDirectorRoz VermutMember at LargeAndi WolfeMember at LargeLinda KirschbaumImmediate Past PresidentSaul BerkowitzBart BookatzLois DermerShelly DreifussToby FeuerKaren FineMorris GocialLarry KadisSuellen KadisDebra KanterLinda KirschbaumGail LanznarHoward LanznarJon LanznarLeandro MargulisNeil ModelHilly PanovkaArthur RottensteinEric RubinMitchell SchneiderAlan SeidenfeldBarbara SiegelPepe SigalEileen SirkinRoz VermutRandy WertheimerAndi WolfeLew ZipkinDanielle KlineDirector, FoundationRelationsLawrence LudwigNational Director, ManagementInformation SystemsBrandon MitchellNational Director, MarketingNaomi ReinharzNortheast Director, Major GiftsLily Joy SembranoControllerTanea HammondDirector, Outreach &DevelopmentJay TenenbaumDirector, Atlanta RegionBarbara StatlandDirector, MetropolitanChicago RegionNicole MillerDirector, Michigan RegionChar Rapoport NanceDirector, Ohio RegionMike AmerikanerDirector, Southern CaliforniaYana AgranovskyDirector, Bay Area Region
ORT Graduates InspireJewish Youth in RussiaTwo ORT graduates are project managers ofthe St. Petersburg Lehava (flame in Hebrew)leadership program for teens and young adults,which nurtures participation in the local Jewishcommunity. In Lehava, participants expandtheir knowledge of Jewish culture, celebrateJewish holidays, take part in projects for thecommunity and volunteer in different Jewishorganizations.An alumnus of the ORT de Gunzburg School,Leonid Rosenhaus runs a project for youngadults under 35, and Rose Lein, alumna of theORT Moscow Technology School, is in charge ofthe section for youth ages 11 to 15.Leonid shares his story. “I started at the deGunzburg School in first grade. My parentsunderstood it is not only a Jewish school; itprovides a high level of education. Our schoolhad computers, smart boards and othertechnologies, and nothing like that was seenin other schools at that time. We celebratedJewish holidays and took part in communitylife. After graduation my former teacher ofJewish history suggested I attend a Shabbatservice at the reform synagogue, and I realizedthe community is about all of us, and togetherwe must decide how to shape it. This is whyI work in Lehava and help young adults getactive in the Jewish community.”Rose talks about her background. “ORTMoscow Technology School gave me friends,knowledge, a concept of the world and helpedshape me. We celebrated Jewish holidays athome, but at school I spent time with otherJews, planned the Hanukkah celebration,went to Shabbaton camps and learned aboutJewish traditions. It’s been four months sinceI started running this Lehava project, whichhelps teenagers become familiar with theSt. Petersburg Jewish community and startvolunteering.”World ORT Launches LEADProgram for EducatorsORT as a way to bring the new wave of moderntechnology and shape them for a better future.And educational management is a significantcomponent of this challenge,” VladimirDribinskiy, World ORT Chief Program Officer,told LEAD participants in London.In November, the new World ORT LEAD(Leadership in Education, Administration andDevelopment) program debuted with a seminarfor 20 educators from 12 countries. LEAD isa pilot project that addresses managementaspects in modern education. “Schools seeDaniel Tysman, head of the World ORTeducation department, said, “We’re seekingthe best ways to support our educators andimprove the performance of their schools,colleges and other activities. The LEADprogram is aimed at improving efficiency andmaking sure the schools are more effective inadministration, development and educationalprocesses.”World ORT Director General and CEO ShmuelSisso explained that middle managers areoften described as the “engine room” of theirorganizations, adding, “They lead teams ofprofessionals, transforming the strategy ofsenior leadership into practice on a dailybasis. We hope their participation in LEAD willmotivate them and provide the support theyneed to succeed.”3
Showcasing ORT Activities in Our RegionsWe Set Our Sights High, Thanks toOur DonorsFLORIDAL-R: Iris Wolf, Ian Howard, Melissa Howard, Allison Halpern, and Leah SiskinOn December 5, Melissa and Ian Howard, Lake Club, and Lakewood Ranchhosted a cocktail reception in honor of Iris Wolf, chief pedagogical officerof World ORT Kadima Mada, who presented an overview of Kadima Madaaccomplishments on its 10th anniversary. Funds raised at this event will helpfurther the renovation of a computer lab and science lab in Kfar Hassidim YouthVillage in Israel.The 7th Annual Cocktail Reception L-R: Leah Siskin, Barbara Ross, Allison Halpern, Iris Wolf, Lois DermerThe 7th Annual Cocktail Reception of the Florida Region, “The Art ofEducation,” to honor and thank the members of the Golden Circle, DiamondLadder/Major Gifts Society, was held on December 6 at the Blue Gallery.Lois Dermer and Barbara Ross served as co-chairs.OHIOMark and Trish AdlerRoni Wallace, Former Director, NE Ohio RegionTammy BrosseAt the 45th Annual ORT Brunch on October 30th, Trish and Mark Adler received the 2016 Maimonides Over 60 supporters enjoyed the 3rd Annual MahjAward, and Roni Wallace, retiring Ohio Region Director, was honored for her 31 years of service to ORT.and Canasta Night on September 22. “The nighthelps raise money for the important work ORT doesaround the world,” explained Tammy Brosse.ATLANTACooking with Chutzpah: At a cooking demonstration by Randy Adler ofPookie Enterprises and Babs Midtown Restaurant, ORT supporters learnedabout “Cooking with Chutzpah” in Bloomingdales at Lenox Mall.2016 ORTBuy Online Auction: For its fifth year, the 2016 ORTBuyOnline auction raised close to 25,000 by auctioning over 450 items fromgift cards and services to vacation homes and unique experiences.L-R: Susan Berkowitz, event Co-Chair; Randy Adler; Judy Stanton, event Co-Chair; and Jay Tenenbaum4Mah Jongg Madness: Partnering with local synagogue CongregationBeth Shalom, ORT Atlanta held its second Mah Jongg tournament. Nearly80 participants advanced through the competition in a quest to become thevictor.
LOS ANGELESL-R: Lighting the Hanukkah candles are Marla Landis, Darlene Mandelstam, Barbara Pine, MikeAmerikaner, Amalia Shifriss, Charlotte Gussin-Root, Elaine Friedman, Sharon Winston, Sylvia Vein,Gita Schwartz, Edie Goldberg and Donna StoneOn December 7, the Valley/Ventura chapters hosted their 10th annual Hanukkahluncheon at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. Nearly 100 attendees enjoyed alovely boutique, raffle, entertainment and dancing and a delicious lunch. SouthernCalifornia ORT Director Mike Amerikaner offered greetings and Eda Dayan, a LosAngeles ORT College student, spoke about her experience. The successful eventraised over 14,000 for ORT students.Members of South County and Laguna Woods ChaptersMike Amerikaner greeted members of the South County ORT chapter at itsannual Hanukkah luncheon December 12, where over 50 members enjoyedlatkes and sufganiyot and sang Hanukkah songs. This chapter raised over 20,000 in 2016, earmarked to help save the STEM* program in the ORTde Gunzburg School in St. Petersburg, Russia.* Science, technology, engineering, mathNORTHEASTL-R: Marlene Sheena, Marilyn Danesh, Andre Danesh, and David SheenaThe ORT Eastern Massachusetts fall brunch on October 30 at the home ofDavid and Marlene Sheena in Brookline, MA.L-R: Barbara Siegel, Marcia J. Posner, Naomi Reinharz, Tanea Hammond, Roz Vermut, Sandra Chumsky,Kay FreemanThe Long Island reunion brunch on September 20 at the Whitman Club atthe Greens in Melville, NY,Visit ORT schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg and meet with students,parents and staff. Gain an in-depth understanding of the important role ORTplays in Russia.Enjoy the Hermitage Museum, explore the Summer Palace, walk Red Square, tour aballet workshop, take the Retrotrain, visit the Jewish Museum, experience KabbalatShabbat at Choral Synagogue, and much, much more!**2017 Mission to RussiaThe land package includes three nights at the St. Petersburg Domina Hotel, fournights at the Moscow Intercontinental Tverskaya Hotel, all breakfasts, five lunches, alldinners, first-class coaches, guides, and all programming.See the world through the ORT lens:ORTamerica.org/Russia2017**Itinerary subject to change5
Two Leaders in the Financial IndustryHonored at Tribute ReceptionThe Accountants, Attorneys & Financial Services Chapter (AAFS) hosts this annual eventOn September 27 at the Prince George Ballroom in New York, theAccountants, Attorneys & Financial Services Chapter (AAFS) recognizedMichael Halpern, CohnReznick LLP, recipient of the ORT CommunityAchievement Award, and Ellen B. Marshall, Capital One Bank, recipientof the Marion G. Wingens Memorial Award. Event chairs were Miriam L.Cohen, Loeb & Loeb LLP and Peter Rosenthal, Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc.Co-chairs were Steven J. Mayer, CohnReznick LLP, and Joseph J. Nastri,Capital One Bank.Chapter Chairperson Saul G. Berkowitz, C-Suite Resources, whointroduced the honorees, explained to over 300 attendees that proceedsof the reception were for the Marion G. Wingens Scholarship Fund thatbenefits students at Bramson ORT College. The principal goal of the AAFSchapter is to enlarge the scholarship fund established in memory ofMarion Wingens, one of its founders.L-R: Saul G. Berkowitz, Ellen B. Marshall, Michael Halpern, Kevin D. Cooper, Angela Nasimova,Dr. David KananiL-R: Honoree Michael Halpern and Caryn HalpernL-R: Honoree Ellen B. Marshall and James M. FlanaganL-R: Neil J. Bressler, Athina S. Koutsoumadi, Peter Pugliese, Louis G. BaroneL-R: Joseph J. Nastri, Peter Rosenthal, Steven J. Mayer, Miriam L. Cohen, Saul G. Berkowitz,Ellen B. Marshall, Alan Ackbarali, Michael Halpern6
Younger SupportersStep Up for ORTThe Next Gen Gala raises funds for programs in IsraelThe younger generation stepped out on November 12 for the fourthannual Next Gen Gala at Home Studios in New York. It was a sparklingsuccess, thanks to the efforts of Gala chairs Dan Gomez and StevenSilberman, Next Gen National Chair Jon Lanznar, Next Gen NY Co-ChairJason Engelstein, the host committee, event sponsors The Bronx Brewery,Orange Theory Fitness and SoulCycle, and all the committed Next Genmembers who contributed generously.Over 140 attendees enjoyed a silent auction of interesting objets d’artand memorabilia contributed by Diamond Resorts International, MinaD. Jewelry, Live with Kelly, Universal Television NBC Studio 8G and othervendors. Proceeds from the Gala were earmarked for two courses offeredby the World ORT Kadima Mada YOUnversity after-school center inNahariya, Israel: Robotics, and Photography for students with special needs.L-R-Back:Stephanie Halperin, Joshua Teitler, Jason Engelstein, Daniel Gomez, Jared Sais,Daniel Hochler, Morgan Newman. L-R-Front: Roxana Markus, Jonathan Lanznar, Whitney Rose Kemp,Steven Silberman, Naomi ReinharzL-R: Daniel Gomez, Steven Silberman, Sarah Gilman, Jillian GoldenL-R: Jason Engelstein, Divan Gamaliel7
ORT America, National Headquarters75 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038800.519.2678 [email protected] ORTamerica.orgTeens in Israel Thank Firefightersfor Their EffortsStudents from Rabin High School in Kiryat Yam and Hodayot Youth Village,whose schools are part of the World ORT Kadima Mada (WOKM) educationalnetwork in Israel, provided home-made baked goods to local firefighters toshow their appreciation for their hard work extinguishing the recent fires thatravaged much of the country.Israel Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon accompanied students, parents, andteachers in Kiryat Yam. In addition to an emphasis on academics, in all itsprograms WOKM reinforces the values of helping others and supportingone’s community, and these students are an excellent example of puttingthat into action.