Fulfilling the Mission of ORT
Alice Kohn is a member of the Metropolitan Chicago Region of ORT America, and is a member of the Guardian Society and the De Gunzbourg Society. Recently, we asked Alice to tell us why ORT is so important to her.
Alice, how long have you been a member of ORT?
I joined Women's American ORT in the spring of 1982, 32 years ago. What were the things that first drew you to join? I joined the organization because my best friends asked me to. I am also part of an "ORT family." My mom and mother-in-law are longtime members. I enjoyed a long professional career as an educator, so education is in my heart. From the beginning, ORT's important mission of providing an education to Jewish people really resonated with me.
Are those the same reasons that keep you with the organization today?
My reasons for staying committed to ORT remain the same today—to support the mission of educating Jews worldwide. I have served on the Metropolitan Chicago Regional Board (as Treasurer, Major Gifts Chair and Annual Tribute Dinner Chair), was President of the Brittany Chapter and Co-chaired the Design House Project in 1991.
If you had 30 seconds to convince someone to support ORT, what would you say to him or her?
I'd tell them that ORT's mission is essential to the survival and future of the Jewish people. ORT Argentina is just one example of providing education to a Diaspora population. Our schools there are so renowned and cutting-edge that they are the schools of choice for 80 percent of Jewish parents.
Can you tell me about one or two memorable ORT events you attended through the years?
Our Metropolitan Chicago Region used to hold a huge annual tribute dinner. At one of these dinners, our featured speaker was the legendary Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban. We were so honored. His speech made a deep impression on me. A current event making an impact is our region's Lunch With a View, which invites authors to come and speak. Lunch With a View is a popular outreach vehicle for us. The event attracts people unfamiliar to ORT and they learn about our mission and education programs and become supporters.
You signed a Declaration of Intent in 1991, which means you have included ORT in your legacy plans. Why?
ORT is an important part of my life. I wanted to find a way to continue supporting the organization so important to me and to ensure that its mission continues after my lifetime.
How easy was it to do and what was the process?
It was so easy. Since my husband and I have a will, we contacted the person who prepared our will and asked him to include a gift to ORT.
Why was it important to provide for ORT in your legacy plans?
In addition to knowing that my planned gift will help ORT keep its mission in the frontlines of Jewish education worldwide, I wanted to provide a lesson for my children, too. Both of my children grew up knowing that ORT was important to me, and my bequest tells them that ORT is a commitment to me past my lifetime.
Why does ORT remain important to you?
Through the years, I have come to realize more and more the importance of our ORT mission to the Jewish people.
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