After working as the director of the Georgia Tech and Georgia State Hillels since 2015, Veronica Beskin moved outside the Perimeter in December to become the assistant director of ORT America’s Atlanta Region, based in Sandy Springs.
Beskin, who replaced new Jewish National Fund employee Evan Alberhasky at the international educational agency, is No. 2 at ORT Atlanta to Regional Director Rachel Miller, who herself joined the nonprofit in the summer, replacing Jay Tenenbaum.
Beskin answered the AJT’s Four Questions.
AJT: You worked with Hillel the past few years. What made you decide to explore this opportunity?
Beskin: I’m passionate about education and the Jewish community. I’m also excited about the opportunity to make an impact on ORT programs through local fundraising events and activities that reach a broader audience in our Atlanta community. As ORT continues to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, I look forward to establishing partnerships with institutions such as Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as with companies in the high-tech Atlanta community in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Hillel at Texas A&M, Georgia State University and Georgia Tech over the past few years, and I will always support the work Hillel promotes across our college campuses.
AJT: What are you most excited about in this new position?
Beskin: ORT raises money for global ORT programs. In my new role, I’ll focus on fundraising by offering many different kinds of events. It’s also very exciting to develop our Next Gen programming for Jewish professionals ages 30 to 45 in our area, and I want everyone to meet ORT students from around the world who will visit Atlanta. A number of fun and engaging programs have already been planned for 2018 — like our ORT Atlanta Facebook page for updates on our events.
AJT: What do you think some of your biggest challenges will be?
Beskin: Bringing the ORT mission to more people is a challenge, as is securing major gifts. It depends on outreach. Younger generations in Atlanta are either not familiar with ORT, or they know it as their mother or father’s ORT. ORT has changed its educational initiatives to keep up with the high-tech advances of the 21st century, and we’d like people to know more about us and how our programs give ORT graduates knowledge and skills relevant to today’s employment market. With a good education, you can accomplish anything, and ORT provides a solid foundation. I plan to share ORT’s mission and goals with as many people in our Jewish community as possible and ask them to get involved.
AJT: What makes ORT different from some of the other Jewish organizations in Atlanta?
Beskin: We have a global scope, both in terms of our schools and programs in 37 countries, and in terms of our international seminars that bring educators and students together from different countries for specialized and unique learning experiences. As a Jewish organization, all our programs are infused with the spirit of tikkun olam — repairing the world — and Jewish values.
In addition to STEM, students are taught about the importance of giving back to their communities, about the virtues of caring and compassion, and the concept of determination: setting goals and reaching for them. ORT graduates make a difference in their communities, and this is part of the ORT concept of “educating for life.”