ORT Jewish School "Pri Etz Haim", Bishkek

The “Pri Etz Chaim” school functions as a centre for Jewish education in Kyrgyzstan, having been established by Belgian Jewish philanthropists. Set up in 1993, the aim of the school was to stimulate the rebirth of Jewish identity and culture in the country.

In 2004, the school became part of the World ORT network, and an ORT Technology Centre was installed in 2006. The school was the first in Kyrgyzstan to adopt the NetSchool program, providing an integrated information and administrative environment.

The school accepts students who are defined as Jewish according to Halacha. As a result, the school also operates a Centre of Jewish Family Education, a preschool educational group and a Jewish Sunday school, attended by young people who cannot attend the school for reasons of Halacha.

Alongside teaching the state curriculum, the school offers in-depth study of Judaism, computer technology and English.

Name of School ORT Jewish School "Pri Etz Chaim"
Location Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan
Type ORT institution
Age range Elementary, Junior High, High School
Students 82
Teachers 23

Jewish Education

Hebrew is studied from the 1st through to the 11th grade for 2 to 3 hours per week. The curriculum follows the Heftsiba program. Teachers make extensive use of computer technology in the classroom and encourage students to create presentations and videos in the ORT Technology Centre. Teachers regularly attend training seminars, and Hebrew native speakers are sometimes invited to provide the students with conversational practice.

Drama performances are put on in Hebrew and Hebrew essay competitions are organized.

This course is taught to students in the 1st through to the 11th grade and includes daily tfila and Kabbalat Shabbat on Fridays. Lessons are taught in a project-based learning approach.

Students become familiar with the work of classic and modern Jewish authors.

Jewish culture is studied in a number of ways:

  • Art – while painting, students learn about Jewish traditional handicraft techniques, such as shiviti.
  • Songs
  • Dances

Informal Jewish Education

The school organizes Shabbatonim in which whole families take part.  These Shabbatonim focus on boosting observance of traditional religious ceremonies and encouraging healthy living.

Technology Education

Lessons are held at ORT Technology Centre. Students and teachers are active participants of international competitions conducted by ORT such as Animated Cards Competitions and Art Works Contests.

Students follow a comprehensive ICT curriculum from the 1st though to the 11th grade. Students in the 11th grade learn to use the programming language “Visual Basic”.

This is an optional course for students in 6th to 11th grade, making use of LEGO Mindstorms Construction Sets. School teams participate in robotics competitions between ORT schools in the CIS and Baltic States.

Students in the 10th grade take an HP LIFE training course on the usage of technology in business, created by the Micro Enterprise Acceleration Institute (MEA-I). Teachers attended an ORT seminar in Odessa for training on this.

Grants

With support from the L.A. Pincus Fund between 2008 and 2011, the school hosted Jewish studies for adults and young people, combined with computer literacy courses, craft classes and English language courses.

Contributions to the National Education System

  • In 2014-2015 school’s methodologist was a member of developing team at the national testing of Kyrgyzstan