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April 09, 2004 - Image 76

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-04-09

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Foundation so it can focus on employ-
Sylvan Lake, who works for the
Michigan Board of Rabbis, says he came ment. This grant would allow the
resource center to help people develop
to research and compose a handout for
work on a laptop provided by the center. or upgrade their job skills. This follows
ORT's primary mission to reach out to
"This space is new, unique, and fulfill-
ing a need in the community — it's cut- at-risk populations and provide mar-
ketable job skills.
ting edge technology here," he says.
In fact, in the last 20 years, ORT cen-
This center is a model for others,"
ters served more than 150,000 mostly
says Dr. Ephraim Bulks, director of
Jewish immigrants from Iran, the former
Bramson ORT College in Forest Hills,
Soviet Union and other Eastern
N.Y. "It's a laboratory in the heart of the
European countries. Most were refugees
on public assistance, and a majority were
While ORT has resource centers in
women, which is an unusual population
New York, Atlanta, Cleveland and
for technical schools.
Miami, he says, the Hermelin Center is
Another goal evolved with ORT's
the first inside a JCC, and with a unique
neighbor at the JCC, Shalom Street —
partnership with the Jewish Federation
to provide innovative programming for
of Metropolitan Detroit.
the museum.
"Our dream is that we create a group
"We wanted this center to be some-
of teachers technologically aware and
thing unique and particular for the
able to integrate technology into their
community of Detroit — and educa-
classrooms," says Rabbi Judah Isaacs,
tionally significant," says Linda Sahn of
director of Federation's Alliance for
West Bloomfield, co-chair of the origi-
Jewish Education.
nal workgroup for the center with ORT
The Alliance's partnership with the
ORT center, he adds,
includes providing support Staff .hotos by An ie Baan
for teacher training for the
computer labs in all the
religious schools.
"We have been a partner
with ORT since the notion
of this center came to the
JCC," Rabbi Isaacs says.
Its an important compo-
nent to education in gener-
al to this community."
Detroit's ORT center
offers nine classes a week,
ranging from basic corn-
puter skills to Microsoft
Excel or building a Web
page. Additional classes in
the media center include
digital photography and
scanning. Students range
Avi, 10, Yoni, 13, and Noam Buckman, 10, and Talia
between ages 20-75, says
Freedman, 11, all of West Bloomfield, investigate new
Braunstein. The fee is $5
computer programs together at the ORT resource center:
for JCC members, $7 for
regional director Michelle Passon.
others. More hands-on classes and a
"ORT came up with 23 Jewish and
homework club are set for this fall.
Also available are 275 online semester- general community schools and organi-
zations to survey, including all supple-
based classes, called Education to Go.
mental Hebrew schools and non-Jewish
They range from continuing education
groups like the Salvation Army and the
courses for teachers to art history or
health care. In addition, the center offers Haven, a center for abused women.
"We learned that organizations that
eight college credit classes in conjunc-
dealt with at-risk populations were inter-
tion with Bramson ORT College in
New York, Braunstein says. Students can ested in basic workplace skill develop-
ment," Sahn says, adding that seniors
register for these classes at the resource
were interested in using computers to
center then "take" the classes either at
the center, at home, or wherever there's a learn subjects like genealogy and Jewish
history, while youth-oriented groups
wanted computer camp, video produc-
The ORT center also applied for a
$10,000 grant from the Jewish Women's tion and parent-youth workshops. ❑

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