HomeFebruary 2014All about ORT

All about ORT

Linda Kirschbaum, the national president of ORTAmerica, wants everyone to know that there are four words that will make a world of difference to underprivileged children literally around the world: Invest — now — in ORT.
“Since 1880, an investment in ORT has been an investment in the core Jewish value of education.  In Israel, the Former Soviet Union, Latin America, Western Europe, the United States and more, we have been providing students with the tools needed to lead productive lives.  ORT’s global accomplishments have been nothing short of extraordinary, and I encourage everyone to visit our website at www.ORTAmerica.org to see the educational initiatives and the lives changed.”
Natalie Mangini, area development advisor to Orange County chapters, helped in starting chapters here 30 years ago and has been involved in ORT since her sister-in-law took her to a meeting in Massachusetts 54 years ago at age 20.
“As a teacher, I obviously was very interested in becoming involved in helping the underprivileged all over the world in becoming independent by investing in their education,” Mangini explained.  “When I moved to South Orange County and found there wasn’t a place to continue my volunteerism, I decided to help create them.  Now we have chapters in Laguna Woods, a new generation in Laguna Woods, the Fullerton North Orange County chapter and one called SCORT-South County ORT.”
ORTAmerica here hosts fund-raising events where a good portion of the proceeds go to the national office in New York.  There the money is disbursed worldwide to ORT schools.
Laurice Singer, co-president of the Fullerton North Orange County chapter, said, “There are holiday parties, book clubs, lunch bunches, speakers, field trips and various other activities.  “We have so many fun ways to raise money for National!  We have events for men, women and couples.  There is something for everyone!   We encourage people to join us and get involved.  We have openings for board members.”
Sherri Lipmann, who is a trustee, on the board of directors of Los Angeles ORT College and major gifts chair for the Fullerton chapter, started out in ORT as a young mother in 1963 while looking for something meaningful to do with the Jewish community.  “Within a few weeks, I was attending the national convention in Chicago and the experience literally changed my life,” she said.
Lipmann was exposed to “remarkable national leaders and the global community of ORT’s school directors.”  Their “passion and abilities” became a part of her existence and have, to this day, informed and motivated her passion for volunteering for ORT.
“Through all of these years, I have visited ORT programs in Israel, France, England, Italy and the U.S,” she said.  “I have so many memories.”
“There was a student I met in ORT-France who was saved from a life of crime or worse by ORT’s intervention,” she added.  “He was in a workshop, learning to do beautiful wood inlay, when I met him; this was rather than continuing his previous life.  As I was leaving the school, he intercepted me and gave me a beautiful box that he had been working on in the class.”
As a member of the board of directors for Los Angeles ORT, Lipmann has visited ORT-U.S. facilities in an Atlanta day school, in the Zarem-Golde technical program in Chicago and the New York Bramson ORT College, as well as frequent visits to the Los Angeles ORT College.
For Lipmann, each showed the uniqueness of ORT and its impact on so many communities.  As she explained, “The directors, teachers and students always impress me with their strength of purpose.  They’ve inspired and given me educational perspectives that I never would have known in any other experience.”
Mangini described her reasoning and passion for the organization as, “ORTAmerica started with a purpose to help children around the world to learn to take care of themselves through Jewish education, and they’ve been doing a great job since the very beginning.  It’s been an honor to be part of the organization.”
Singer loves to inform people that ORT is the largest Jewish education group in the world.  “We are known as being front runners in the field of technology,” she said.
How do the students feel about ORT?  “Sabrina,” a 5th year scholarship student at the school in Argentina, explained her joy as, “I was looking for a school that had no discrimination and had a lot of diversity and social opportunity and also taught with a high level of technology.  This school more than afforded me all of this in an amazing and unforgettable way.”
To learn more about ORTAmerica or how to get involved, log onto:  www.ORTAmerica.org.  For information on local chapters, contact Natalie Mangini at (949) 354-0793.

Carine Nadel’s career includes front-page features for the OC Register, food columns, recipes published in magazines and cookbooks and entries in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books.  Read her personal blog at www.Carine-whatscooking.blogspot.com.


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