ORT was founded in St. Petersburg in 1880 by Russian Jewish financiers and intellectuals. This organization is intended to help the impoverished Jewish population to build a new existence for agricultural and craft work.

Obschestvo Remeslevono i zemledelcheskovo Trouda, i.e. the Society for the Development of Crafts and Agriculture, was founded with the help of Russian Jewish financiers, including Baron Gunzburg. The organization, officially recognized by the Russian government in 1905, had established schools in Russia alone. In 1919, Leon Bramson and David Lvovitch were sent to Western Europe by the ORT Committee to find help. They went to Paris where ORT France was created (1921). The French ORT association is first and foremost a work of propaganda and fundraising for the financing of ORT institutions in Eastern European countries. At the same time, ORT England and ORT Germany were also created.
Thanks to the will of Leon Bramson, the year 1921 also marks the foundation of the ORT World Union, created during a Congress in Berlin. The headquarters was set up in Berlin. Through the efforts of Leon Bramson and Aaron Syngalowski (Secretary General of the World ORT Union), the American ORT was formed in 1922.
The headquarters of the World ORT Union was transferred to Paris in 1933, the year Hitler came to power. As German Jewish refugees poured in, the ORT set up vocational retraining courses and helped them find work. On the eve of the war, ORT France had three training centers (Paris, Montmorency and Chelles). The women were trained in fashion (styling, sewing, hosiery, fashion accessories) and the men in radio electricity, mechanics and cinema. They were also trained in agriculture. In 1937, the Association of Parliamentary Friends of ORT was formed (with Paul Painlevé and Edouard Herriot).
ORT was particularly active during the war, creating training centers in the ghettos of Kovno and Warsaw, taking care of refugees and survivors. The movement settled for some time in Vichy, rue Carnot, from 1939 until January 1940, then returned to Paris, went back to Vichy in June (before the Vichy government took over), to Marseille in November 1940 (where Leon Bramson died in 1941), then to Voiron. ORT was authorized by the Vichy government to continue its activities in about twenty cities until 1942. It was also present in some internment camps in France (Brens, Rivesaltes, Gurs, Recebedou and Septfonds).
In 1943, the Collaboration and the deportations forced Aaron Syngalowski to transfer the headquarters of the World ORT Union to Geneva. ORT was present in 1945 in the displaced persons’ camps to teach manual trades.

ORT centers developed all over the world and in Israel where the first schools opened in 1949. ORT was present in Muslim countries, in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco (until independence), and in Iran (until 1980). That same year, the headquarters of the organization was moved from Geneva to London.
In 1990, after 52 years of absence (Stalin had dissolved the organization in 1938), ORT was reborn in Russia.

ORT has remained faithful to its founding inspiration, which could originally be summed up in a famous formula: give a man a fish, he will have food for a day; teach him to fish, he will be able to feed himself all his life.
At the dawn of the 21st century, ORT’s teaching, faithful to its Jewish roots and open to all, integrates the most recent technological developments in the industrial and tertiary fields. From the young electrician with a vocational diploma to the student who joins a top engineering school, the paths taken by ORT students are many and varied, but the principle remains the same: to give each person, at his or her best level, the best chances of academic, social and professional integration. The personal investment and belief in their educational mission of all the professionals involved are amply supported by the active network of associations, Local Committees, Women’s Committees, and the constantly renewed membership of thousands of companies that pay their apprenticeship tax to ORT every year.

ORT is now present on all continents:

– In North America: USA and Canada
– In Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Cuba.
– In Australia
– In South Africa
– In India
– In Europe: France (nearly 5,000 students, 550 employees, in 7 centers: Choisy Le Roi, Lyon, Marseille, Montreuil, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Villiers-le-Bel), England, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania and Latvia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, and in Israel Translated with (free version)


The phrase “We take pride in our students’ success” means that we are not committed to maximum performance. For us, it is more important that a student has the degree for which he or she is competing than the time it takes to obtain it. Whatever the length of the curriculum, it is essential that the student obtains his or her professional BAC, his or her general and technological BAC, his or her BTS or that he or she integrates a Grandes Ecoles of Engineering, even if it takes time to reach this goal.


An education for life is the common value of all ORT schools around the world. It has a double meaning: it is at the same time a solid education and training to integrate in the best way the professional life, but it is also an education to life thanks to the transmission of universal values: Tolerance, Solidarity, Fraternity, Humanism…


The ORT is at the forefront in offering training courses that call upon technical and technological innovation (Computer science, Dental prosthesis, Optics….) and in providing students with cutting-edge technological means that allow for quality teaching (Computers, interactive boards…)



ORT strives to have high quality teachers with state-recognized degrees (Agrégation, CAPES, etc.). In addition, these teachers follow training programs to ensure that they are always at the highest level of performance. Most of them are so attached to the Institution that they do not count their time outside of their duty hours.



By asserting its identity, ORT is a school open to all, allowing for the exchange of cultures and histories according to each person’s experience. It allows to forge extremely strong friendships and to fight against the prejudices of each one.

The personal investment and educational mission of all the professionals involved are amply backed by the active support of the public authorities (State, Regions, Departments), a network of associations (Local Committees, Women’s Committees, Foundations) and by the ever-renewed support of thousands of companies who pay their Apprenticeship Tax to ORT every year.

ORT sits in the European Parliament as an NGO.

ORT is active in more than 235 schools & universities, with over 300,000 students per year, more than 9,000 teachers and 138 years of experience.