ORT India, based in Mumbai, provides ICT and other training for the community, with both residential and day school courses. It has been engaged in the provision of education and vocational training to India’s Bnei Menashe community since the early 1990s. ORT India runs a number of courses and projects, which are outlined below.
Department of Early Childhood Care & Education
The Department of Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) at ORT India has been in operation since 1996. The department offers a full-time one year Diploma in ECCE in affiliation with World ORT.
The course is designed as a qualification for students who would like to acquire more knowledge, understanding and competence in the education and care of very young children. The curriculum provides in-depth theoretical knowledge and hands-on training, and is designed for candidates who are in full-time education, are contemplating working with pre-schoolers or who are already working with pre-schoolers.
The course content includes seven units of study:
An average of 30 students graduate from this course each year.
The department also runs a pre-primary school for children from 2 to 5 years. The school has a strongly inclusive ethos and welcomes children with special educational needs.
ICT & Computer Training
ORT India established a computer center in 1987. The center offers courses in basic computer literacy, Microsoft Office, desktop publishing, animation, print media (Corel Draw, Photoshop, Illustrator, Quarkxpress), web design & multimedia (Dreamweaver, Flash, HTML) and video editing (Adobe Premier, Soundforge, After Effects). Training comprises of classroom exercises, quizzes and home assignments, in addition to continuous evaluation and feedback during the training.
ORT India has also provided the Bnei Menashe Jewish Community in Manipur with computer training since the early 1990s - first at the ORT India educational center in Mumbai, and then in Manipur since 2003. The following courses are offered at the Manipur Computer Center:
This programme benefits between 50 and 60 members of India’s Bnei Menashe Jewish Community annually by giving them the tools to become citizens who will make a positive contribution to their society, whether they choose to remain in India or to make aliyah to Israel.
Jewish Educational and Resource Centre
ORT India's Jewish Educational and Resource Centre provides resources and materials to students, researchers, film makers, members of the press, tourists and other interested parties. The centre caters to Jewish and non-Jewish people alike.
Jewish Studies on Skype
Jewish studies classes are offered via Skype to community members who are unable to travel to classes for any reason. A variety of topics are covered. Approximately 10 people are engaged each week in this programme.
Jewish Studies Classes
Throughout the year, many members of the Jewish community require special training in various areas like Bar/Bat Mitzva training, leading festive celebrations, learning to pray and leading prayer services. ORT India arranges classes to cater for these needs, sometimes in conjunction with local synagogues.
ORT India also arranges community-wide seminars on topics of Jewish interest, which attract up to 100 people.
Jewish Youth Camps
Approximately thirty Jewish young people go away each year to an adventure campsite for several days, and are engaged in Jewish learning through lectures, debates, music and other activities. The objective of this programme is to promote Jewish learning and Jewish community growth.
Communal Passover Seder
Each year a communal Pesach seder is conducted at ORT India for the community. The seder attracts approximately 80 people.
Kosher Food Services
At its Mumbai headquarters, ORT India maintains a kosher kitchen, a kosher bakery, a kosher winery and a supply of koshered chickens to assist the community in keeping kosher (observing the Jewish dietary laws).
In addition, Jewish students - including those from the Bene Israel and Bene Menashe communities - are given instruction in the laws of kashrut.
Services from a Jewish Scribe
A full time sofer (Jewish scribe) is available at ORT India to provide a free service to the community. Services on offer include Torah repairs, Tefillin and Mezuzah scroll checks, and Tallit repairs.