Ariellah’s ORT legacy will be the opening up of young minds
Ariellah Rosenberg – passion for education.
She now puts her love for education in science and technology into practice on a daily basis as the CEO of ORT South Africa.
But that’s not where she started. After growing up in Bat Yam, she obtained a BSc degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot, later specialising as a dietician, but she soon found her niche and sense of career achievement in education.
Following her internship at the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, she was asked to run a science museum there, in a relatively poor neighbourhood of the town.
Her job – which she held until she came to South Africa in 2004 – included special extracurricular activities for gifted young children. These programmes later extended across the entire country.
“My passion has been science from an early age,” she told SA Jewish Report.
She continued with this work after she married her husband, Ayal, in 1991. His father was from South Africa. In 1997 he was made an attractive IT proposition in this country and the family – they had two children by then, with a third later in South Africa – came to live in Johannesburg.
On her arrival here she approached Rabbi Isadore Rubinstein, head of the SA Board of Jewish Education.
“I said I would love to run a programme to start at nursery school to ignite little minds in skills of creative thinking, analytical thinking, through science and technology.”
It started at King David Linksfield in nursery school in grade R, the year before grade 1, soon expanding to all the King David Schools and then to all the Jewish nursery schools.
By the time she left the job in 2004 to take up a post at ORT, the programme extended to grade 7.
“I used to work with the teachers. I did teachers’ training and used to go into the classroom with resources and run the lesson in line with the curriculum,” she said.
She started at ORT heading up the teacher empowerment department, with a focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and maths).
Building the department, she implemented maths and science projects she developed for the foundation phase – grades 1, 2 and 3, starting at schools in Alexandra township.
The programme expanded over time, with more and more projects, not only in science and technology, but in maths as well.
As the work increased and performance in the schools succeeded, the department also grew. It is now accredited to the Education, Training and Development Practices (ETDP) Seta and with the department of education.
The number of requests from the department of education to implement programmes is growing. Funding for them is often obtained from sponsors, particularly corporations.
In 2013 Rosenberg was appointed CEO of ORT SA.
She is dedicated to the 130-year-old Jewish organisation, with branches all over the world, involved in the education and training of hundreds of thousands of teachers and pupils and students in schools and tertiary institutions.
“My one passion is the legacy I will leave in ORT,” she said, “making a difference in people’s lives, both ORT staff, as well as thousands of beneficiaries on whom we are impacting on a daily basis.
“I have a very strong belief that education is the route, the tool, the means to achieve greatness and that is my belief in empowering people.”
Her second passion, “what makes Ariellah Ariellah, is for my family. I believe that the legacy I will leave is to my daughters, by providing them with the tools, the love, everything they need.”