ORT is an organization that was incorporated in Russia in 1880. World ORT is headquartered in the UK.
ORT is an organisation born of necessity that endured and flourished because of its ability to adapt to change. The history of ORT began officially in 1880, but a series of events beforehand created the conditions in which the need for such an organisation was imperative.
On 22 March 1880, by order of the Russian Minister of interior Affairs, the Organisation for the Distribution of Artisanal and Agricultural Skills among the Jews in Russia ORT was established. The first ORT committee distributed money to Jewish schools for new handicraft and agricultural training. It provided loans to artisans and purchased small tracts of farm land for families to work. For Jews, most of these activities had been expressly banned by law until that point. For more on the history of ORT see http://ort.org/asp/article.asp?id=117
World ORT is the world’s largest Jewish education and vocational training non-governmental organisation. ORT’s network of schools, colleges, training centres and programmes in Israel, Russia, Argentina and many other countries worldwide, benefit more than 200,000 people a year, young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish. For more, see http://www.ort.org/asp/default.asp
ORT Israel is the largest educational network in Israel. Established in 1949, it has trained over 500,000 graduates, most of them in science and technology. The ORT Israel network provides educational programs for over 100,000 students in 160 schools and colleges with 8,000 educators and administrative staff. For more on ORT Israel – see http://ort.org.il/en/scripts/about.asp
ORT Israel sought and received an injunction against World ORT to prevent them from using the ORT name. On appeal to the Israel Supreme Court, this decision was reversed.
A sad event in the history of two important organizations that may now be separate, but certainly had common roots. There may well be some likelihood of confusion and philanthropists should be able to donate to projects in Israel or abroad according to their preference. One wonders if the institutions couldn’t agree to use the term ORT together with the word World or Israel in a consistent manner, thereby avoiding confusion.
One suspects that donors are interested in funding vocational training not legal battles.