Thursday, April 14, 2011

Educational Savings at Orot

Orot students can now receive up to a full year scholarship for their college studies in Elkana.

Among the many factors that a potential student must take into account when choosing a school, finances play an increasingly important role. Orot is pleased to share two new important developments which will lighten the financial burden of students studying at Orot.

Tuition Subsidy of up to a Year
This year, the Knesset passed a new law authorizing a scholarship through the Ministry of Defense for all veterans of the IDF and National Service, should they choose to study in preferred institutions of higher learning in the south, north and Judea and Samaria - including the Orot Israel College of Education in Elkana. Any student who served in Sherut L'eumi will now receive a scholarship for up to an entire year of study at no cost. To download the flyer, click here.

Psychometry Course Subsidy
In addition, many applicants have not yet taken the psychometry exam required for college admission. Orot recently entered into a partnership with "Hakima", offering Orot applicants a special price on their preparatory course, as well as a subsidy for a percentage of the course tuition for students who enroll at Orot. For more information about these developments, contact Rabbi Reuven Spolter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Pendulum Swings of Redemption

A Thought from the Hagaddah shel Pesach
by Rabbi Reuven Spolter

As we contemplate Pesach as the Chag Hageulah - the holiday of redemption, each year the same questions creep into my mind: If we're moving towards the coming of Moshiach and the State represents a critical step in that process, why do things seem so challenging? Why do some people seem to be moving not closer to, but farther away from religious Judaism? How long will the process take? What stage exactly are we in right now?
While these questions prove difficult to answer, Rav Yitzchak Dadon, in his newly released Hagaddah called "Ayelet Hashachar" uses a well-known theme of Rav Kook to both explain a passage in הא לחמא עניא and also give us a sense of where we are and where we're going.

Click here to download the dvar Torah in pdf format.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dance Track Hosts Honored Guests

Dr. Talia Perlshtein,
Head of the Dance and Movement Track,
Orot Israel College, Elkana Campus
Orot Israel College proudly boasts that it houses the only college for advanced dance education under Orthodox auspices in the world. Over the past few years, Orot's dance program has been attracting attention across Israel for combining dance and movement education with firm adherence the values and principles of Torah.
Orot Israel College Elkana Campus recently hosted Prof. Janis Ross, the president of the History of Dance Research Association in the U.S., and head of the Dance Department at Stanford University. She was accompanied by Dr. Michal Golan, head of the Mofet Institute, and Prof. Rami Yogev, head of the Mofet Institute Intercollegiate Research Authority.

The guests met with Orot Israel College President, Harav Prof. Neriya Gutel, who reviewed the college's academic activities, the successful merger with the Moreshet Yaakov College in Rehovot, and the many "products" of the college – including its graduates, publications, academic conventions, etc.

Prof. Ross had come to the campus to learn about Orot College's Dance Track – the only Torah observant framework in Israel to provide a B.A. degree and Teacher's Certificate for preparing dance teachers for school children from kindergarten to twelfth grade; as well as the "Noga" Dance Company – a unique professional framework for Torah observant choreographers and dancers.

The tour began at the library where Mrs. Maggie Moran, pointed out the extensive databases and academic resources available at the college. Afterwards Prof. Ross met the Noga Dance Company's choreographers, Ziona Yehezkel, Efrat Nachman, and Avital Ben-Gad. Prof. Ross watched videos of the company's performances and discussed the works with the choreographers. Prof. Ross expressed that the original dance creations moved her deeply.

At noon College President Rabbi Prof. Neriya Gutel joined the guests for a special dance performance by the local Elkana elementary school students, which were taught by student teachers from the Dance Track as part of their training as dance teachers. The young girls demonstrated understanding and internalization of what they had learned, and danced with real joy and connection to creative movement. Later, the Dance Track students themselves presented selections from their classical ballet repertoire, and some original compositions as part of their choreography studies. The performance was warmly received by the visitors.
Professor Ross expressed her deep appreciation for the work of Talia Perlshtein, head of the Dance and Movement Track, noting how moved she was to see how the Dance Track is setting the new benchmark for the renaissance of Jewish-Israeli culture. She praised the program's openness in creating a connection to art in general and to modern dance in particular.

Dr. Golan and Professor Yogev concluded the day by meeting with Harav Prof. Gutel. Their attached letter speaks for itself.

Neighborhood Renewal in Rehovot

By Ofir Abikasis,
Director of the Torani Teachers Garin,
Orot Israel College Rehovot Campus

A few years ago, the Rehovot neighborhood of Oshiot was on a downward spiral. Residents were afraid to go out at night. No one wanted to come to the neighborhood and everyone there wanted to leave. But if you were to ask one of the residents now, you would hear that there's no longer any reason to leave – Oshiot is blossoming again! Police statistics show the crime in the neighborhood has dropped by 50% since 2005, the year the Torani Teachers Garin came to the neighborhood.
Since the Torani Teachers Garin began around ten years ago, it has succeeded in effecting social change in the targeted neighborhoods and populations in Rehovot. The Oshiot neighborhood, which was known for its high density of new immigrants from the FSU, Yemen and especially Ethiopia, has seen a renaissance due to the Torani Teachers Garin members who came to live in the neighborhood.
The garin started as a small group of students and graduates of Orot College's "Moreshet Yaakov" campus in Rehovot and the Yeshivat Hesder "Orot Yaakov", with almost no resources. However, they saw the need for social change in Israeli society as a national mission, and they set for themselves the goal to impact every needy household in the Oshiot neighborhood through a number of social initiatives.
One such program concentrated on Ethiopian olim, helping to close social gaps and advance their integration into mainstream Israeli society. The garin members received training to run leadership development seminars, pre-enlistment preparatory courses, cultural and social events for the Ethiopian youth at the local community center. Before that the local Ethiopian youth had no place to meet except the street. Now they flock to the center where they are occupied with positive activities.
Another garin project is the "Advocacy Initiative" in which each volunteer advocate from the garin agrees to adopt one or more families in distress and to become personally involved in securing solutions for their day-to-day, as well as long-term needs. Each advocate must have prior experience in social activism and community work and is supervised by social workers from the municipal Welfare Department. The advocates make a long-term commitment to the family, assisting them in seeking whatever support the family members need to overcome obstacles and give them the tools they need to realize their full potential and become productive members of Israeli society.
The garin members have earned the respect and gratitude of the Rehovot Municipality and the Oshiot neighborhood residents for their concern for the community, and for their activities promoting the integration of diverse groups into Israeli society. The presence of the garin has not only raised the quality of life in the area, but the property values too. The light of hope kindled by the garin in the Oshiot neighborhood continues to burn brightly today.