MONTREAL (Oct. 29)
The director general of the World ORT Union said here yesterday that inflationary pressures coinciding with a rapid expansion of educational and vocational training costs and a recent increase in Jewish refugees have placed new and unprecedented burdens on ORT, the Organization for Rehabilitation Through Training. Max Braude spoke at the closing session of the World ORT Union meeting here.
More than 500 delegates from 27 countries voted to modernize many ORT programs and to launch new ones in such key areas of ORT work as Israel, France, Iran, North Africa and Latin America. The changes were the result of detailed reviews and reports on all phases of ORT service to almost 50,000 students a year in a network of 650 trade and technical centers and adult and teacher training projects.
Dr. William Haber, president of the central board of the World ORT Union, described the innovations as “a massive and wholesale response to the altered dimensions of Jewish life since the Six-Day War and the urgency of regrouping the services ORT renders to make them consonant with the revolutionary demands of a revolutionary age.”
The conference ratified proposals for Israel presented by Gen. Chaim Herzog, ORT Israel president, calling for the creation in Tel Aviv of a teacher training institute and the establishment in East Jerusalem of an ORT technical college for the training of engineers as “essential to production of the type of skilled professionals vital to Israel’s economic growth.”
Mr. Braude said in his report that 10 years ago ORT spent about $4 million on its entire world-wide program, that the program has more than doubled in size and tripled in cost, and that ORT will probably need $20 million by 1970 to maintain it. Mr. Braude said that inflation, which has steadily devalued world currencies, costs ORT three quarters of a million dollars a year “just to stand still, to say nothing of the costs of expansion.”
Mr. Braude stressed the need for expansion in at least four areas. He said the ORT program in Vienna must be enlarged to meet the needs of Jewish refugees fleeing Poland and Czechoslovakia; in Italy, there is a problem of providing for Jewish refugees from Libya and other countries; establishment of new schools and classes in France is urgent in view of the influx of tens of thousands of Jews from North Africa; and the entire program in North Africa must be re-evaluated owing to the large scale emigration of Jews. Mr. Braude said that ORT’s programs in Israel, the organization’s largest, have grown by 25 percent in the past three years. Nineteen new schools and departments are expected to be opened in 1969, he said. These include the expansion of existing facilities in seven cities and towns and the construction of the new engineering school in Jerusalem which will cost $8 million. Mr. Braude reported that in the past three years more than 80,000 pupils have passed through ORT vocational training schools and classes.