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ORT skills training keeps up with the times




At an African-themed dinner, Dr Jean de Gunzburg, chair of World ORT, said: “I am extremely grateful to have visited South Africa. The pride of ORT all over the world is that its graduates – children, youth and adults – are taught skills for the job market.

“Just as agriculture and trades were taught by ORT 100 years ago, so today robotics and other new innovative skills are taught, so that skills are matched with the job market.”


RIGHT: Brian Joffe, President of ORT SA, Nonjabulo Kubheka and Sindiswa Mhlongo, of Ikage Primary School in Alexandra township and Jean de Gunzburg, chairman of World ORT

ORT is active in countries around the world and more recently in Russia. “In Russia today, ORT is establishing learning centres for Jewish youth and those who have never practised have starting lighting candles and asking what a seder is,” said De Gunsburg, who hails from Switzerland.

He cited an example where during the Second World War, ORT started a school for displaced Jews in Shanghai in China and when all of them left after the war, the ORT school remained with a proud history.

Shmuel Sisso, former mayor of Kiryat Yam in Israel and CEO of World ORT, said: “This magnificent evening of African drums, songs and cuisine that the Board of Trustees did not anticipate, has been really heart-warming.”

Brian Joffe, president of ORT SA, was presented with a gift and Darryl Weisz, chairman of ORT SA thanked ORT SA staff for its passion and teamwork.

In a dialogue, two young girls from Alexandra township schools where ORT SA facilitates in classrooms with maths and science demonstrations, discussed how ORT SA had been constructive for them and improved their marks.

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein said that everything came down to power. Eskom, power of G-d, power of people and their tenacity to survive under all circumstances. He commended ORT SA on its unique model.

The 15-strong World ORT committee from Switzerland, the US, Argentina, Israel and France, visited two schools in Alexandra. One was the Rabbi MC Weiler Primary School, where ORT SA has facilitated maths and science for nearly 10 years. Rabbi Weiler, who started the school in 1944, was a member of World ORT and an honorary president of ORT in South Africa.

The United Sisterhood continues his wonderful work to this day. It was invited to join with ORT SA at the school.

Grade 1 learners demonstrated their mathematics skills and the teachers told of how they appreciated everything ORT SA did. 

“Besides the weekly training of teachers, if we have a problem we just call the ORT SA team and they come out immediately to assist. The laptops that we received through the funder Bidvest, were the best thing to happen to us,” said Naomi Xashimba, who has taught at the school for 35 years.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Denis Solomons

    Jan 29, 2015 at 8:35 am

    ‘Well done to people like Brian Joffe .

    We need more people like him !

    A shekeach to ORT !’

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