ORT UK announces focus on mental health and wellbeing at annual dinner

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ORT UK announces focus on mental health and wellbeing at annual dinner

Charity changes direction in response to terror attacks

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing

Nick Ferrari. Photo: Blake Ezra
Nick Ferrari. Photo: Blake Ezra

On Monday night 200 guests gathered at the Nobu hotel in Portman Square for ORT UK’s annual dinner.

The dinner was planned to showcase four new ORT JUMP Employability Programmes that have been delivered to students in the UK, and World ORT’s international projects, but the situation in Israel has shown an urgent need for educational and psychological support for students and ORT’s priority now is to protect them from the impact of the conflict.

Opening the event, ORT Chair Annette Kurer said: “For each of us here, this evening holds a unique personal story, and together we share a collective sense of apprehension regarding what the future may hold. It is heartening to witness students and educators from ORT schools worldwide standing in unwavering support of Israel.”

Guest speaker LBC’s Nick Ferrari spoke passionately about Israel’s right to defend itself. He said that he himself has been on the receiving end of abuse for his stance on the conflict. “As soon as I switch on my mobile the abuse has started – some would say it’s a bit like being married again,” he quipped. He said that he was fortunate enough to visit Israel with ORT that “education, as it has been for me, has to be the key. Everything that this fantastic country does is rooted in education and that has to be the way forward. I assure you, over the time I have breath in my body, I am with you with the radio shows that I present. You have my love, you have our support, and we’ve got your back.”

We heard from Amos Gofer, CEO of Kfar Silver, World ORT’s youth village in Ashkelon, just eight miles from the border with Gaza. He sad that in every class one or two students had a relative who died in the terror attacks on 7 October.

Participants of the ORT Jump programme in collaboration with MDA. Photo: Blake Ezra

Daniel Burger, CEO of Magen David Adom UK, talked about saving lives in unimaginable circumstances and a collaboration between the two charities that took place in the summer. He also paid tribute to two MDA volunteers who were killed in the line of duty. Burger introduced six participants of the joint programme, who spoke of their experiences with overwhelming positivity. “The Jump participants came up with some amazing initiatives, some of which can be implemented easily.  I was personally thrilled to have met such a great group and MDA remains grateful for their feedback,” said Burger.

The late Lord Young, ambassador of the charity, and long-standing trustee Ros Morris-Wagman were both honoured.

The evening concluded with a musical performance performance by Jeremy Sassoon, “allowing us to unite in song, solidarity, and harmony,” said Annette Kurer.

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