The accession of Madrid’s Estrella Toledano School to the World ORT network is an historic moment in the rebuilding of Spain’s Jewish community.
Speaking after the Spanish capital’s only Jewish day school formally joined the ORT family, the Chair of the organisation’s Board of Trustees, Dario Werthein, said the development “gives power to revive Jewish life in Spain”.
“More than 500 years ago the Jews had to go through the Inquisition and expulsion. The culture of the academy, the art and intellectual life of Jews, which was so important, was lost. Now that the local Jewish school has joined ORT we can work together for the resurgence of Jewish life in Spain,” Mr Werthein said.
Striving for excellence
David Hatchwell Altaras, President of Madrid’s Jewish community, said he was ecstatic that the school had joined World ORT.
“We believe in striving for excellence and we feel that of all Jewish organisations involved in education ORT is the leading one,” Mr Hatchwell said. “We always want to learn from the best and that’s why we sought ORT. We’re very proud to be part of it.”
Estrella Toledano Principal Luna Alfon Coriat said that taking part in World ORT programmes in recent years such as the Ecology Summer School in Panama, the Digital Skills Academy in Bulgaria, and the Davidson-World ORT Science Summer School in Israel had changed the vision of her students.
“Being part of an international network is really interesting because it offers our students the chance to be in touch with other countries, other students and with other Jewish people. Now, with globalisation, we have to be ready to adapt and feel comfortable everywhere,” she said.
Founded as a kindergarten in 1965, Estrella Toledano School now teaches children all the way through to matriculation at 18.
World ORT President Dr Conrad Giles said signing the agreement formalising the school’s new status had been the highlight of the Board of Representatives meeting in Madrid.
“We are proud of the addition of a school and ORT Spain to our network, knowing that it will be a relationship of mutual satisfaction and that it will benefit the children of Madrid in the coming years,” he said.