To celebrate Lag B’Omer, 40 students from around the ORT network came together to mark the end of an epidemic two millennia ago which killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s followers.
Students from last year’s World ORT STEM Summer School, which took place at ORT Braude College in Israel, led an afternoon of interactive games – which they themselves had created.
Following some inspiration from ORT’s education team in London, a core group of around six students worked hard to develop games which incorporated concepts both of Lag B’Omer and the current Covid-19 situation.
During the Zoom session, participants took part in dozens of activities – coordinated by Galia Iskenazi of CIM-ORT in Mexico – on the Thinglink platform (above right) and were split into small groups to solve puzzles, find clues and finish the tasks in the fastest time.
Tomás Korenblit, an ORT Argentina student and STEM Summer School graduate, introduced the session by telling his peers: “It is not an easy situation and many projects and events were cancelled so it’s okay to feel sad. We saw Lag B’Omer as an opportunity to get together and do something both educational and fun. It is a perfect opportunity to get to know each other… in these difficult times.
“This is the time to learn that there are certain variables that are not controllable and the only thing we can do is face the adversities with ideas, creativity and enthusiasm. Obviously, we will not always be able to look on the bright side, but it is always good to remember this.”
The event gave the students – from countries including Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Panama and Spain – a break from their new routines. For many it was also a chance to learn about and celebrate a Jewish festival while meeting new friends from across the ORT network.
Fellow ORT Argentina student Antonella Macoretta added: “A long time ago there lived a very wise man named Nachum Ish Gamzu, a rabbi, who in the face of any problem used to say ‘gam zu le-tovah’, this too is for the good. We hope that as students and young people, we can say ‘this too is for the good’ and take advantage of the situation to embark on new projects.”
Abraham Braverman, of CIM-ORT, concluded the session with a clear message: “Curiosity is the most valuable tool we have and it is the reason why everyone talks about how ‘the future depends on young people’.
“We have to stop repeating this phrase and start embarking on more adventures like this one, to keep on being curious and to accept the fact that we are not the future, but the present. You don’t have to reinvent Google to change the world – just by dedicating your time to your passions and doing a good deed from that place, you’re already doing it.”