Science building in Kfar Silver Youth Village to be renovated

ORT national President Larry Kadis announced at the 45th annual ORT America Brunch on Oct. 30 at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights that the Ohio Region will renovate and equip a science building at Kfar Silver Youth Village in Israel. 

Kfar Silver is a school in southern Israel, 44 miles west of Jerusalem and 33 miles south of Tel Aviv that serves 700 students, many of who come from difficult backgrounds. Named after the late Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, the school was established in 1954 and is now a 370-acre campus. Of the students, fewer than half board and part of the renovation goal is to increase the number of students who live on campus. 

“It’s in an area where there are young kids who might not fit in elsewhere, so they have boarding opportunities, as well as education for the day,” said Suellen Kadis, a vice president of the Ohio region ORT board and national ORT board member. “They have the opportunity to learn not only classroom stuff, but the things that might be missing at home.”

Kadis added that science, technology, engineering and math have been priorities of ORT for the last decade. Renovations will include upgrading classrooms, installing internet, building smart science, technology and computer labs, and expanding and refurbishing dorms. Fundraising and upgrading the building for the 21st century, phase one of the project, will take place over the next two years.  

“They brought in a new head of school who we met when we were in Israel in May and he has a real vision for what he wants to accomplish,” Kadis said. 

Outgoing ORT Ohio region director Roni Wallace, who retires at the end of the year, also was recognized at the event for her commitment to education in Israel and around the world. A classroom in the science building will be named in her honor. 

Char Rapoport Nance succeeds Wallace as the new director of ORT Ohio. 

“The bottom line is that we really want to make this a really focused example of what our community can do. Our Cleveland community is going to take this building that is in terrible condition and make it into a serious STEM education experience for kids who…it’s kind of their last great hope,” Rapoport Nance said. “I think it is going to be a point of pride for the Cleveland community to have this building.” 

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