New ORT _Resource Center moves tots to seniors into the future.
earching for exciting projects
for her eighth graders, Temple
Kol Ami education director
Andee Liberman checked out
all the technology at the new David B.
Hermelin ORT Resource Center.
First, students were given disposable
cameras to spend a week prior to Tu
b'Shevat (Feb. 7) photographing the
environment — its care and abuse.
Then, according to a plan devised by
Liberman and ORT Resource Center
director Shaindle Braunstein, each stu-
dent prepared a PowerPoint (computer-
place," says Abigayle Schottenfels, 13, of
West Bloomfield. "Our project took
some of the things we do in public
school, like computers and presenta-
tions, and combined it with what we
learn in Hebrew school."
Said her teacher, "I loved the conversa-
tions the project created between school
Liberman also signed up for an ORT
center class with Jewish school directors
on how to use the Internet to create
This environmental project is but one
of many uses for the ORT Resource
Center, which opened in December and
is dedicated to meeting the community's
allows video conferencing and music
recording. "We have Web ca:rns, CD
burners, film equipment and exhibits,"
Braunstein says. "The technology here is
of the highest caliber."
The concept for the ORT center
began in 1997, with the D. Dan and
Betty Kahn gift of $3.6 million to the
JCC. It came with the stipulation that
ORT, a nonprofit Jewish organization
with educational and vocational objec-
tives in more than 100 countries, would
bring a program presence to the JCC.
The resource center was equipped and
furnished by a capital campaign that
raised $750,000, says Patti Aaron, chair-
man of the ORT center's board and the
Ashley Schwartz, 15, and Arielle Ziv, 14, both of Mark Felsenfeld of Farmington Hills, relaxing in the
West Bloomfield, are surprised by what they learn cyberpORT cafe while surfing the Internet.
at the ORT center.
ized slide show) presentation including
their photos and Jewish texts found on
The work was done on computers at
the ORT center, inside the Jewish
Community Center at Maple and Drake
in West Bloomfield, with assistance from
Braunstein. To complete the students'
project, Braunstein combined their work
into one large PowerPoint presentation,
added music, and the students had a
unique presentation for theft- Tu
"The ORT center is an exceptional
resource needs — from those of children
"Regardless of your skill level, we'll
work with you to become computer lit-
erate," Braunstein says. 'And even if you
think you know everything there is
about computers, we have something to
teach you. We want everyone to come
out and use the center."
The 1,500-square-foot fully wireless
resource center consists of the
CyberpORT Cafe, the ORTnet Learn-
ing Lab and the ORT M2 Studio, a
state-of-the-art multimedia facility that
impact on Jewish education and bring
us all, Jewish and non-Jewish, closer
together," she says.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, the cen-
ter is filled with 15 students, ages 5-17,
their fingers flying over their keyboards,
playing and learning about the comput-
er. In the media lab next door, five
teenage girls crowd around a computer
producing a newsletter for the neighbor--
ing Shalom Street children's cultural and
Jewish discovery museum.
"We wanted to come here because it's
a different kind of community service,"
says Katie Blender, 15, of Franklin, pres-
ORT center director Shaindle Braunstein showing Leah
Schloss, 16, of West Bloomfield how to use the digital
camera and see results on the computer.
In naming it, ORT honored the late
David B. Hermelin, community leader,
U.S. ambassador to Norway and former
president of both World ORT and
"ORT meant a great deal to my hus-
band," says Bingham Farms resident
Doreen Hermelin, wife of the late David
B. Hermelin. "Our biggest hope is to
further retrain people to be more suc-
cessful in the,work force," she says, and
to help people be more independent.
"The center can make a significant
ident of her BBG chapter, Achayot, that
volunteers at ORT. "It engages everyone,
of all ages and it's fun for us. And we're
able to learn along with the kids."
"This place is impressive," says Ari
Mendelson, 17, of West Bloomfield.
As the center's intern, he maintains
the Web site for Shalom Street. "I like
how we help others broaden their hori-
zons and see the technology at work.
This place is a great resource. Most peo-
ple don't have this technology at home,
like video conferencing."
In the cyber cafe, Dave Henig of
IIIGH TECH on page 68
The David B. Hermelin ORT Resource Center is open 1-5 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. The
list of classes is online at wwwhermelinort.org. For more information, call (248) 432-5411.