A friend once told me that every August there’s a Christmas song she can’t get out of her head. You know it: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
That’s right, our children are heading back to school. They’ll be asking for help with homework, they’ll need to be driven to myriad after-school activities, and they’ll need help navigating the complex social issues that come with being a kid.
It’s a good time to reflect — and be grateful for — the quality education our children are privileged to have. Whether in a Jewish day school, a public school, or any of the private schools around Atlanta, we can sometimes take for granted the opportunity our kids have to learn reading, problem solving and the social skills needed to be successful adults.
It’s also a time of year I’m reminded of how many children around the world, including in Israel and the United States, don’t have access to a quality education and what that means for their future. That’s why I became involved with ORT. In the world of Jewish nonprofits, ORT is the only one that addresses the educational needs of at-risk children and young adults around the globe, Jews and non-Jews alike.
On Aug. 7 you read in the Atlanta Jewish Times about Hodayot, a boarding school in Israel that houses, educates and provides technical training to some of Israel’s most at-risk children. To them, Hodayot is not just their school; it’s their only home. To many, it’s also the only family they have.
However, the sorely needed renovation Hodayot requires to meet the highest educational standards ORT provides could cost upward of $1 million — a daunting amount, but far less than what our community has spent to make Atlanta Jewish Academy, Davis Academy, Epstein and Temima the showplaces they are. If everyone were to earmark a small percentage of annual giving to Hodayot — perhaps 1 to 2 percent — we could accomplish our goal by year’s end.
Perhaps more than any other, our community understands the importance and transformative nature of a quality education. So please call the ORT Atlanta office at 404-327-5266 or mail a check with “Hodayot” on it to ORT Atlanta, 270 Carpenter Drive, Suite 360, Atlanta, GA 30328, and give what you can.
I’ll be making my tax-deductible commitment. I hope you’ll join me.
Kerri Katz, Norcross, president, ORT Atlanta