Celebrations at opening of renovated ORT Simcha school in Kiev

Hundreds of students and officials have celebrated the opening of a renovated ORT school building in Kiev.

The secondary school building at the Simcha complex in the Ukrainian capital will attract Jewish pupils from across the city and will add to the work ORT is doing to strengthen the Ukrainian Jewish community.

The re-opening of the secondary school will see students from grades five to 11 start the new academic year in state-of-the-art facilities. More than 330 children in 14 classes will be accommodated in the building.

The school features computer rooms, foreign language rooms, physics and chemistry labs, a sports arena, music hall, playground and kosher canteen.

All classrooms in the building are equipped with computers for teachers and interactive whiteboards.

The improvements to the Simcha complex – which is operated by Chabad – are the latest efforts in ORT’s mission to support Jewish education and life in former Soviet Union countries, including in Ukraine and within Kiev itself.

Avi Ganon, ORT Director General and CEO, said: “The revival of Jewish life in Kiev is a great thing, and Simcha is one of the most famous Jewish schools here – it is a symbol.

“In ORT we are doing our best to make the Jewish schools the best we can, for the benefit of the whole Jewish community in Kiev.

“We have invested a lot of funds in this school to make it the best in town. This school is not just a part of the organisation, but a part of the ORT family around the world along with the Ukrainian-Jewish community.

“I am grateful to the city administration, the Ambassador of Israel, and the Jewish community for everything they did today. But special thanks to David Benish, who led the construction of this wonderful building and I want to wish all the children success and Shana Tova.”

David Benish, ORT regional director in the former Soviet Union, said: “I am very pleased to see the children who gathered with their parents in this renovated building.

“Here, not only a wonderful building arrived, but also great opportunities for conducting the educational process, in which we invest a lot.

“It is very important for us to provide you with the opportunity that any child in the whole world deserves: the opportunity to develop, to receive knowledge, to acquire good friends.

“We want the learning process to be useful and enjoyable for you, so that you feel good, because children are our future. Your future is our future. I wish you much success.

“The older children who study here will be an example for the younger ones. Parents, you have a very important role in the life of your children and the school, and we hope that you and your children will pass this year with pleasure and advantages. Shana Tova!”

Oles Maliarevych, a deputy of Kiev City Council, said: “In the last three years this is the fourth educational establishment that has been actively rebuilt. I want to thank our partners from ORT for such important work.”

The Simcha complex first opened in 1999, joined the ORT network in 2015, and features a kindergarten and elementary school which were renovated and re-opened last year.

The new facilities in the secondary school building include 3D printers and microelectronics sets.

The opening ceremony on Monday was attended by a large number of guests, including Petro Onofriychuk, Head of Dniprovsky district state administration in Kiev; Avi Ganon; representatives from leading Ukrainian Jewish organisations, and Natalia Ivanina, head of the local education administration.

Eti Benjamin, from the Israeli embassy in Ukraine, told the pupils: “The New Year is like a new book. Dear children, we hope that you will have a year of knowledge.”

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