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December 22, 1989 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-22

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PURELY COMMENTARY

ORT's Revived Historic Role In Russia

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

H

istoric significance
attaches to the news
made known by ORT
headquarters in New York of
the revival of the movement's
activities in the Soviet Union.
Return to ORT operations
in Russia, where it was found-
ed in 1880, was made known
by Reese Feldman, Women's
American ORT national
president, who stated that
instead of training lock-
smiths and the needle trades,
the new program will be
teaching high skills like
computer literacy, robotics,
bio-technology and opto-
electronics.
This important announce-
ment, which can be treated as
sensational, revealed that the
resumption of ORT activities
came after a visit to Moscow
and Leningrad by Joseph
Harmatz, director general of
World ORT Union. He was in-
vited to Russia for that pur-
pose by Eugeny Velichov,
chairman of the Soviet
Academy of Sciences.
The announcement states
that the terms of the agree-
ment between ORT and the
Soviet establishes a resource
center in Moscow for
technological and creative
education under the direction
of ORT personnel. At the
same time, Soviet educators
will also be trained at World
ORT Union's headquarters
and resource centers in
London.

William Haber

This significant decision
about the Organization for
Rehabilitation through Train-
ing that was started in St.
Petersburg serves as a
reminder about the major role
played in ORT by one of our
most distinguished citizens.
The late Prof. William Haber
began as president of
American ORT and continued
for many years as head of
World ORT Union. In that
capacity he traveled exten-
sively as one of the most emi-
nent leaders in world Jewry's
volunteerism. He established
ORT chapters wherever he
went and he guided the great
cause to tremendous ac-
complishments in Israel.
The pity is that eminence
often is forgotten or ignored.
Bill Haber, who was highest
ranking in American
academia as University of
Michigan dean and in other

roles, devoted many years in
behalf of the Hebrew Univer-
sity and became one of its
chief guides in major services.
Dr. Haber's many services
to Detroit Jewry's activities
also are unforgettable.
The latest ORT news about
revivalism in the USSR also
serves us well in recalling his
many years' leadership
among us. The ORT genesis is
briefly related in these
historical records from the
Junior Jewish Encyclopedia:
The Organization for
Rehabilitation through
Training was founded in
Russia in 1880. In 1922
American ORT was
organized to help Jews
throughout the world who
were in need of vocational
training. In many coun-
tries, Jews, denied the
right to learn and practice
trades or professions, have
been forced to be mid-
dlemen or unskilled
workers.
ORT has established and
maintains over 400 trade
schools, workshops,
laboratories, apprentice
programs, special courses
and farm colonies in nine-
teen countries. More than
22,000 persons receive in-
struction each year. Some
65 trades are taught; these
include: auto-mechanics,
carpet weaving, precision-
tool making, refrigeration,
beauty culture, garment
skills, and dental
mechanics.
Three-fourths of the

students are young people
between fourteen and eigh-
teen years of age. For these
youngsters, the ORT
schools provide a secon-
dary education as well as
vocational training.
Courses of study are from
two to four years, and
extra-curricular activities,
clinics, libraries, sports,
summer vacations and
dormitories are available.
Training centers can be
found in most countries of
Europe and South
America. Two special
schools are maintained in
New York City to help
refugees without means to
learn trades which will aid
them in their adjustment to
the American economy.
In Moslem countries — in
Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria,
and Iran — ORT offers the
only hope of education to a
community of 600,000 Jews
who live in poverty, ig-
norance, and disease. In
Israel, where no job
restrictions exist, Jews
with a skill or trade have
unlimited opportunities for
employment. ORT aids in
Israel's economic develop-
ment by maintaining the
largest trade education
system for youth in the
country. Because it em-
phasizes general studies as
well as technical courses,
ORT is one of the principal
institutions in the field of
secondary education as
well. Each year 5,000
Israelis in twenty-two cities

and towns enroll in classes
at ORT centers.
ORT is financed from
contributions by local
Jewish communities, by
the governments of coun-
tries where the schools are
located, and by dues paid
by members of American
ORT. Recently, a major
share of ORT's American
financial support has come
from the American Jewish
Joint Distribution
Committee.

ORT has
established and
maintains over 400
trade schools.

This is an abbreviated por-
tion of an historic record
about one of the great
creative movements in our
history. The leadership in-
cluded sociologically-minded
men. We differed with their
anti- or non-Zionist attitudes.
With the rebirth of Israel,
ORT gained special impor-
tance in the training of young
people who became
technological factors in
Israel's redemption.
Prof. Haber had an impor-
tant share in the developing
years when ORT assumed
semi-university status in
Israel and on a world scale.
The reminder about Bill
Haber is especially valuable
and justifiable in the revival
of the movement on the ORT-
USSR partnership. ❑
Continued on Page 38

Eminence Of Detroiters In National Zionist Leaderships

E

lection of Sidney
Silverman as national
president of the Zionist
Organization of America is
not only a mark of distinction
for a Zionist leader who has
many accomplishments in his
record of services in behalf of
everything relating to Israel.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every Fri-
day with additional supplements the
fourth week of March, the fourth week
of August and the second week of
November at 27676 Franklin Road,
Southfield, Michigan.

Second class postage paid at
Southfield, Michigan and additional
mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 27676
Franklin Road, Southfield, Michigan
48034

$26 per year
$33 per year out of state
60' single copy

Vol. XCVI No. 17 December 22, 1989

2

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1989

It also adds much glory to the
entire community's Zionist
and Israeli involvements.
This is the first election of a
Detroiter to the ZOA national
presidency, although in all
other capacities our fellow
citizens have provided
eminence to the movement.
The recognition now given to
a fellow citizen on the highest
level is cause for pride to his
associates in the communal
membership.
Detroiters have had leading
roles in all factions in
Zionism. There were many
prominent activists in
Hadassah and Pioneer
Women.
In Mizrachi, Rabbi Isaac
Stollman and Rabbi Aaron
Ashinsky who preceded him,
and the Stollman brothers,
Phillip and Max, thereafter
gained admiration for their
Zionist and Israeli
involvements.

The Labor Zionist move-
ment and Histadrut had ge-
nuine prominence in the
leadership of Morris Schaver,
Morris Lieberman, Isadore
Shrodeck, Sidney Shevitz and
many who remain
unforgettable.
The Detroit District of
Zionist Organization of
America had a continuing
group of leaders who added
immensely to all community
accomplishments. The earliest
included Rabbi A.M. Her-
shman and David W Simons.
There were in the local
district's presidencies promi-
nent rabbis, Morris Adler,
Leon Frain, Moses Lehrman,
and presently Rabbi M.
Robert Syme. There were ac-
tivists like Morris Zackheim,
Robert Marwil and Simon
Shetzer among numerous
others.
There were the prominent
who were widely acclaimed

who did not aspire to the na-
tional presidency. Sidney
Silverman reached the top of
the leadership ladder because
he had devoted the last decade
and additional years to the ad-
vancement of ZOA projects in
Israel. The ZOA House in Tel
Aviv attained wide acclaim
thanks to the programs he in-
troduced there. Kfar Silver
continues to gain importance
as an agricultural college for
Israeli youths.

Scholarships in Israel are
becoming a major task and
the scores sent there as a
Detroit Zionist devotion often
lead to aliyah in Israel.

It is because Silverman also
had success in personal labors
and in the congregational life
of Detroit Jewry that he had
the respect of fellow citizens.

His organizational skills
elevate him to well-earned

Sidney Silverman

distinction. All Zionists greet
him with pride as one of our
most accomplished fellow
citizens. ❑

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