ORTs settle name dispute

NEW YORK (JTA) – Two operators of Jewish vocational schools settled a lawsuit over which can use the ORT name for fund raising in the United States.

World ORT and ORT Israel agreed in a Manhattan federal court that only World ORT and ORT America, its fund-raising arm in the United States, can use the ORT name to initiate conversations with potential donors in the U.S., while ORT Israel would have to introduce itself under a different name. ORT Israel will raise money in the United States through Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools, another 501(c)3 organization.

World ORT and ORT Israel, which in 2007 broke from the international group to run its own system of schools only in Israel, have been fighting over the right to the ORT name for more than a year in court cases in the United States and Israel.

As part of the agreement, World ORT in its fund-raising initiatives must make clear that it is not affiliated with and is not raising money for ORT Israel schools — the largest school system in Israel.

The two sides had to draft a joint news release crafted in court announcing the agreement.

“We at ORT Israel are pleased with the resolution of this conflict," Zvi Peleg, the director general of ORT Israel, said the joint release. "ORT Israel will continue its mission of providing the highest level of science and technology education to our students as we have over the past 60 years with the generous support of our friends and contributors throughout the world and with the assistance of Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools in the United States.”

Shelley Fagel, chair of the National Executive Committee of ORT America, said, “Since 1922, ORT America has been proud to be part of World ORT, the leading educational and technology organization in the world, which has positively impacted more than 3 million people. We are pleased with the results of this case. We look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of students around the world, giving them the opportunity and the tools to build better lives for themselves and their communities.”

A similar case was set to be settled Thursday in Israel’s Supreme Court.

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