Jewish youngsters from countries as far afield as Panama, Ukraine, Italy, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Israel, Kyrgyzstan and France have connected online for the annual celebration of education network World ORT.
Appropriately enough during a pandemic, the theme this year was connection, as children exchanged messages and postcards of where they live “to share a feeling of togetherness”.
Students took part in a quiz, participated in special lessons that took place in Russian, Spanish and English, and produced Instagram Reels – short films on the social media platform – showing the value of connection in their communities in order to convey a spirit of tikkun olam (healing the world).
Mikhail Libkin, director of ORT Russia and a graduate of an ORT school in Moscow, spoke about life growing up in the former Soviet Union, while Amelie Esquenazi, World ORT networking coordinator in Latin America, described her family’s escape from Eastern Europe during the Holocaust and her upbringing in Mexico.
The network’s chief executive, Dan Green, said technology helped. “Many students joined the sessions remotely from home due to severe Covid restrictions in their countries,” he said. “Our Israeli students took part amid the rocket attacks.
“With so much uncertainly around the world, it was vital we continued with the yearly festival of activities to ensure our students had an opportunity to interact with their peers in dozens of countries.
“I hope next year we will celebrate in person.”
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