Community Projects

Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Science, Education, Cultural and Sports Campus in Kiryat Yam

Nearly 40% of Kiryat Yam’s total population of 38,000 are immigrants, mostly from Ethiopia. The city faces many socio-economic challenges as it strives to assist and integrate its large immigrant population and its other inhabitants.

In 2010 World ORT Kadima Mada, in conjunction with the Kiryat Yam municipality, built the Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Science, Education, Cultural and Sports Campus - with the aim of transforming the city. The campus comprises: the D. Dan Kahn Science Center, complete with high-tech laboratories; the Margot and Jozef Rethazy Planetarium Building; an oceanarium; a library; a performing arts auditorium; an athletics stadium; a sea sports center; the renovated Rodman High School; and the Nate Lipson Ethiopian Heritage Center. It is a sea-side magnet attracting hundreds of children and youth seeking enrichment activities in the north of Israel.  It is an important part of the municipality’s vision to transform the city into a leader in science and technology education.

The goal of the Ethiopian Heritage Center is to host cultural and educational activities for Kiryat Yam’s Ethiopian community, providing them with the necessary education and vocational training to help ease their integration process into the local community. The center also aims to teach Kiryat Yam’s residents about Ethiopian culture and to increase tolerance and understanding among the city’s inhabitants. Activities and classes offered at the center include traditional Ethiopian storytelling, Ethiopian dance, arts and crafts, youth leadership training, ICT training, and matriculation assistance for students.

The MadaPark Campus serves as an activity center for the residents of Kiryat Yam and the surrounding areas.  It includes the city’s D. Dan Kahn Science Center which incorporates a number of science and technology labs, as well as an open-air science park full of hands-on activities that demonstrate physics theories, an oceanarium, a planetarium, a professional athletic field, the Nate Lipson Ethiopian Heritage Center and a sea sports center.

Educational and enrichment MadaPark programs, developed by World ORT Kadima Mada in line with the national curriculum, are attended by children of nursery school age up to senior high teenagers.  In addition, MadaPark welcomes groups of students and adults who undertake educational and experiential scientific activities in a variety of disciplines ranging from astronomy to marine biology.  During school holidays, MadaPark runs science-themed ‘summer schools’ and every year it organizes an annual “Ilan Ramon” Space Day event in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space. The campus played host to over 48,000 visitors during 2015.

Madapark is an important part of World ORT Kadima Mada’s vision to make science and technology education accessible to younger generations in Israel’s peripheries.