NEW YORK (Jan. 23)
The American ORT Federation voted today a budget of $23,116,800 to finance the largest non-governmental vocational training network in the world in 1972. Meeting at the Hotel Americana, 1,000 delegates to the organization’s 50th Anniversary Conference approved this sum for the operation of the network of ORT vocational and educational service in Israel and other Jewish communities that is now operating 740 technical schools for 65,000 students.
In adopting the budget, the delegates noted that the more than $23 million was a deficit budget, more than $500,000 short, listing them as “unmet needs.” Funds for ORT’s overseas programs are provided by its membership, and by the United Jewish Appeal through an agreement with the Joint Distribution Committee. Despite this fiscal uncertainty, Max A. Braude, Director-General, declared that “We will go ahead because we are so obligated. We will have to make possible during 1972 the education of an additional 5,000 students bringing the ORT enrollment by the end of this year to about 70,000.”
ORT IS PASSPORT FOR SURVIVAL
The skills taught in the ORT schools will increasingly reflect a career rather than a trade in line with the new occupations, Braude stated, adding: “ORT educators will stress avionics, automation, nuclear, plasma, laser and computer technologies–will undoubtedly be extended to even more sophisticated technologies and sciences, which already rest on someone’s drafting board.” Braude cited the increasing number of ORT technical colleges, the most recent of which is planned for construction on the campus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The vote on the overseas expenditure budget followed a report by Dr. William Haber, who was reelected president. A former Dean of the University of Michigan, Dr. Haber told the Conference that “supporting these services is not a matter of choice, but rather of necessity.”ORT training is first and fore-most an economic passport for survival. But it goes beyond–and above–survival,” he added. “We help the individual not only to survive, but to live with dignity.”
Of the 65,000 students currently enrolled, Dr. Haber reported that some 42,500–about 66 percent –are in Israel. “Their distribution reflects the ‘changing Jewish demography,” he indicated, “with increases in Israel, France, Latin America and a declining enrollment in Morocco. Many of the ORT students in France are Jewish refugees from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and other areas of North Africa.”