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24 Feb 2014 12:41 Age: 5 yrs
Category: Special Update, FSU

ORT Student's father killed in Ukraine unrest

The father of a student at the ORT school in Chernovtsy has been confirmed among those killed yesterday during violent clashes in Kiev. Alexander Scherbatyuk, 46, had three children, one of whom, Dan, is a student at our school. The funeral is expected to take place in Chernovtsy early next week.


“The ORT family extends its deepest sympathies to Dan and his family for their tragic loss and will do everything we can to support them in the days ahead,” said David Benish, Head of the World ORT Representative Office for CIS, Central Asia, Caucasian States & Baltic States.

While the situation was calmer today anxieties remained for the future, Mr Benish said.

The ORT school in Kiev was closed today as the Ukraine capital reels from a sudden escalation in the violence there.

“Yesterday, people were panic buying, leaving supermarket shelves bare; there were long queues for petrol. But that’s not the situation today,” said Mr Benish.

Kiev is divided north-south by the Dnieper River: the ORT school and office are situated on the left bank, about 8km from the fighting on the other side of the river. The Jewish community is dispersed throughout the city. Mr Benish closed the ORT office early yesterday amid rumours that the city’s bridges were going to be closed.

“The school is on the safer side but many people live on the other bank so I wanted to make sure they could get home,” he said Mr Benish. “Feelings of insecurity have increased greatly over the past two days. Today, there have been suspicious people walking around – in situations like this criminals are freer to act.”

People, particularly those living closer to Independence Square do not leave their homes after dark and parents are keeping a close eye on their children.

“Lots of children, younger teenagers, are very curious about what’s going on so we have to watch them to make sure they don’t go anywhere near the fighting,” said Mr Benish.

ORT has four schools in the country – in Kiev, Odessa, Zaporozhye and Chernivtsi – as well as close involvement with the Levi Yitzchak Schneerson Ohr Avner School in Dniepropetrovsk, affiliated schools in Lvov and Odessa, and several ORT KesherNet training centres. All except Kiev are operating normally.