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November 04, 1988 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


• In

` A V

Jewish Community Council


of Metropolitan Detroit


Bolstering Jewish Identity
Focus of ORT Strasbourg

The Price of Silence


News Editor


laude Sabbah wanted
to give something
back to the ORT
movement in appreciation for
the • education he received
through its network of voca-
tional schools. As headmaster
of the Organization for
Rehabilitation through Train-
ing school in Strasbourg,
France, Sabbah is giving
Jewish students an oppor-
tunity to learn a trade and
strengthen their Jewish
Sabbah, a Moroccan Jew
who as a youth fled with his
family to France — his
mother was a French citizen
by birth — is a graduate of the
school he now heads. Follow-
ing graduation and military
service, Sabbah held a varie-

Thursday, November 10, 1988
United Hebrew Schools
LaMed Auditorium
8:00 p.m.

Featured Speaker: David Wyman, author of
Abandonment of the Jews.
Moving testimony by witnesses to Kristallnacht.



Claude Sabbah



Paid for by The Committee To Re-Elect Judge Helene
White 211 W. Fort, Ste. 1500, Detroit, MI 48226

Member: Hadassah • American Jewish Committee • Business &
Professional Women's Division of Jewish Welfare Federation.
• Honorary Member Regional Advisorary Board Anti-Defamation League
CIVIC SEARCHLIGHT: Preferred and well qualified.

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ty of positions at ORT schools
throughout France and was
technical director at ORT
Iran, which closed after the
fall of the Shah.
Sabbah was in Detroit this
week as the guest of the
Michigan Region, Women's
American ORT, which raises
funds for the international
network of vocational schools.
He is on a U.S. tour of ORT
"I have a big responsibilitiy
about Jewish identity," Sab-
bah told his audience at its
annual Capital Funds recep-
tion honoring Rochelle
Lieberman. He said it was the
teachers' responsibility to
"give good training," but it
was his responsibility to pro-
duce good Jews.
Sabbah's major responsibli-
ty is budgeting, but he sees
himself a "guardian" of his
students. He takes a personal
interest and often helps
students find Jewish families
to host them on the holidays.
Sabbah said there are 360
students at the Strasbourg

school, coming mainly from
France, as well as from Moroc-
co, Tunisia, Spain, Israel,
Iran, Ethiopia, Turkey,
Switzerland and the U.S.
Nearly all of the students are
Jewish, but non-Jews are ac-
cepted as well. According to
French law, there must be at
least 24 students per. class.
(Teacher salaries are paid by
the French government.)
When Sabbah's classes do not
meet the quota, non-Jews are
accepted to fill the slots.
Included in the course of
study are about four hours
per week of Jewish studies
and three hours of Hebrew.
While the Jewish students
are studying religion and
Hebrew, non-Jewish students
have classes in universal
values and morals. The school
is closed on Jewish holidays.
Kosher food is served, and the
part-time staff includes rab-
bis and Israeli teachers.
According to Sabbah, there
are 18,000 children in Jewish
schools throughout France,
with one-third in ORT
schools. (France has a Jewish
population of about 700,000.)
Sabbah is proud of his
school. "I have the best school
in France," he exclaimed. Not
only is the job placement rate
very high for students who
graduate - from ORT
Strasbourg, but factories from
all over the country call for
his students to fill job open-
ings. At the same time when
the school advertises that it
has limited openings for
enrollment, ususally one or
two slots, it receives hundreds
of applications. Former
students come back to teach,
and teachers that he had as a
youth are now working for
him. Even his daughter is a
graduate of the ORT school.
Once a "foreigner" himself,
Sabbah is sensitive to the
needs of the students who
come to ORT Strasbourg from
abroad. Many of the foreign
students arrive with only the
clothes on their backs. With
funds raised through
Women's American ORT, dor-
mitories are built to house,
the students, pocket money is
made available and other
needs are met. Often, their
stays at the ORT school go
beyond the normal three-year
term. Economic problems or
political unrest in a student's
home country can increase
their stay up to six or seven
years. "When these children
come they have nothing;' Sab-
bah explained. "We must do
everything in our power for
these children."
That includes adhering to

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