Thousands of students have connected online and in their classrooms to mark the annual celebration of ORT’s global education network.

Youngsters in countries including Argentina, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Israel and France joined a quiz, digital postcard exchange and related lessons as part of ORT Day 2021 on May 12.

The theme of this year’s event was “connection.” In advance of the day itself, students exchanged postcard messages providing a flavor of life in different parts of the world.

Schools across the network were paired so that students in Ukraine and Israel, Panama and Italy, Brazil and Russia, and more could connect and share a feeling of togetherness.

Dan Green, World ORT director general and CEO, said “many of the students joined the sessions remotely from home due to severe COVID restrictions in their countries. Our Israeli students took part amid the ongoing rocket attacks [from the Gaza Strip]. With so much uncertainly around the world, it was vital that we continued with the yearly festival of activities to ensure our students had an opportunity to interact with their peers in dozens of countries.”

“One of the greatest strengths of our network is our togetherness, co-operation and connectivity,” he continued. “We have felt that shine through during the pandemic, and ORT Day was a fantastic way to celebrate those values together. I hope next year we will be able to celebrate with our dedicated teachers, students and friends in person.”

The main event was a live quiz. Hundreds of students took part from 15 ORT schools, answering questions on the organization’s history, values and geography. The winner was Tomas Podolsky from ORT Argentina.

Daria Kurlaeva, an eighth-grade student at the Moscow ORT Technology School, said: “It was so interesting to prepare for the quiz—I learned many new things. The game was cool, interesting and exciting. What was most unbelievable was to see students from all over the world on our screen. I’m really grateful to every person who gave me and my friends the opportunity to participate.”

Students also produced Instagram reels—short films on the social-media platform showing the value of connection in their local communities to convey a spirit of tikkun olam, the “repair of the world.”

As part of the postcard exchange, Simona, a student at ORT Educational Complex number 141 in Kyiv, corresponded with her new pen pal at the Kfar Silver Youth Village in Israel. She wrote: “I am hardworking and ambitious. I like to draw and cook new meals. I like studying, and ORT gives me a lot of different opportunities. ORT schools connect a lot of people who share the same dream; that’s why I like it.”

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