ORT marks its centenary raising £350,000
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ORT marks its centenary raising £350,000

Charity celebrates a hundred years during an event exploring its history and highlighting current projects.

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Mark Mishon, Julia Alberga, Simon Alberga. (C) Blake Ezra Photography Ltd. 2021
Mark Mishon, Julia Alberga, Simon Alberga. (C) Blake Ezra Photography Ltd. 2021

In its first in-person fundraising event in two years, ORT UK has celebrated its centenary by raising £350,000 for its charitable work.

One hundred and seventy-five guests attended last week’s dinner at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London. The focus of the event was ORT UK’s There Then, Here Now campaign, exploring the history of the charity and highlighting current projects.

As an example of how ORT was “there, then” when it was needed, mother and daughter Jo and Belle Davison spoke about their grandfather and great-grandfather, Sydney Sadler, who was one of 106 boys rescued from Nazi-occupied Berlin by British ORT in 1939. A temporary ORT technical school in Leeds was opened to offer training to the boys and Sydney, now 101, still lives in Leeds and remains forever grateful to ORT.

Today, as part of the “Here, Now” work, ORT JUMP participants  Amit Kalley (deputy head at Lammas School and sixth-form), mentor Sonia London, former mentee Zack Isaacs and mentee turned mentor Bethany Ross, spoke about their involvement and the benefits of the ORT JUMP Mentoring Programme. ORT JUMP has received its biggest ever intake this year with over 500 students across 14 schools keen to explore their future career. It’s also expanded nationally and has new partnerships with JW3 Gateways and Langdon.

The dinner also celebrated Simon and Julia Alberga’s contribution to ORT UK since 2009. Simon was ORT UK chair 2009-2021. He is now deputy president of World ORT and remains an ORT UK trustee. Julia created the ORT JUMP mentoring programme in 2009, which has been a huge success from the start. She is now PaJeS Schools’ wellbeing project manager. Trustee Mark Mishon paid tribute to the couple and there were video messages from community leaders including Chief Rabbi Mirvis and Lord Young.

Annette Kurer, chair of the charity, said: “It was wonderful to celebrate 100 years of ORT UK with so many of our long-term supporters. We are so grateful for the loyalty and generosity ORT UK has enjoyed over the years. Together with the next generation, we will continue to support ORT’s education network, providing 21st century workplace skills to enable students to have meaningful and self-sufficient lives.”

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