Ort Opens World Conference in Paris; Lehman Addresses Parley

An accelerated program of vocational training in Israel to meet that country’s urgent needs for skilled manpower and renewed efforts toward the rehabilitation of Jews in North Africa are the major items of discussion at the bi-annual meeting of the 88-member Central Board of ORT which opened here yesterday. The principal American speakers at the opening session were former U.S. Senator Herbert H. Lehman and Dr. William Haber, president of the Central Board and of the American ORT Federation.

Sen. Lehman called the ORT program of Jewish economic reconstruction a history-making idea and said it was clear that “ORT training has become a proven path to an independent life” for Jewish refugees. “Many persons with assistance of programs like ORT are today alive, self-sufficient and useful citizens, “he stated, adding a warning that present world realities “compel an awareness that there remain Jews who are as urgently in need as at any time in the recent past.”

A report on ORT activities throughout the world submitted to the parley shows that 23,000 adults and children in 19 countries were aided by ORT in 1956 at a cost of $4,125,000. The largest ORT program is located in Israel, the report stated. The areas of gravest economic distress are among the Jewish communities of North Africa and in Iran.

The report noted that last year, 23,000 Jews attended 391 trade schools and workshops maintained by ORT. The organization employed 757 teachers and shop instructors, nearly 250 of them in Israel. Sixty different occupations were taught. Three out of four of the student body were boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 who attended two, three and four-year courses at ORT vocational schools. Most of these youngsters were in Israel, North Africa and Iran.

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