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A Word From the Editor 200

A bereavement that affects the entire nation

It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Nechama Rivlin, the wife of our President Reuven Rivlin. We thank the President for his warm greetings on ESRA's 40th anniversary which appear in this magazine.

A while ago, on an outing of our ESRAmagazine volunteers, we heard the head of an educational institution, an Arab citizen, say that "for the first time in all my years I feel that Israel's President is my President". We too pay tribute to the Rivlins for their humane and encompassing acceptance and warmth towards all Israel's peoples, and for their humility.

Our cover features ESRA's wonderful 40th celebration where more than 500 English speakers joined us for an excellently organized and well-balanced day of stimulating speakers, a fair of goods on the beautiful lawns of Kibbutz Shefayim, getting together with friends and volunteers, and culminating in singing and dancing to our favorite Beatles' songs.

Another outstanding ESRA event, albeit grossly under-attended, was the celebration of our Short Story winners.

This 200th issue is, as always, an eclectic combination of stories and articles that you our readers have sent us, of issues that worry you, of fascinating places you have visited and enjoyed, of memories that you cherish, and of exciting ESRA projects.

Very timely, as we will once again be going to the polls, is a scathing appraisal by Anthony Green of our system of voting, with the ridiculous bits of paper with which we cast our vote in the booths. You'll no doubt identify with his views. But whatever, make sure you do vote on September 17th – a critical day for the fate of our country.

On that subject of our future, Bernice Lewak Zohn and Darylle Levinbach write, in Standing Shoulder to Shoulder, how Israeli and Palestinian women unite to wage peace in a bid to end the killing of our children. Gripping is a photo, taken in 2001 by Valerie Chernett, of a musician and a beggar outside the Pizza restaurant in Jerusalem on the corner of Jaffa and King George Streets, where minutes later a deadly terrorist bomb killed 13 people and wounded 130. Numbed, Valerie put the photo she developed in a drawer and rediscovered it now, 18 years later.

Deeply embedded in each one of us is our family's history, our Jewish history. And our efforts to memorialize it. Marian Lebor writes of the presentation by Susan Herold of the suitcase of poignant memories of her mother, Daisy Roessler-Rubin, a kinder, who left Berlin in 1939 on the Kindertransport. Gad Yakobi has created "Yankele's Shtetl" in Kfar Hasidim, a showpiece of what Jewish life was once in a small village in the old country of Eastern Europe.

Suri Ordman writes that her son, a student at the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, discovered Manchester House on the grounds. So he explored it and found out that in Manchester House, the foundation stones which were laid in 1918, is the Einstein Institute of Mathematics. The Jews of Manchester raised moneys for the enterprise, the most instrumental being Dr Chaim Weizmann, Professor Albert Einstein, and Alderman Abraham Moss. The vision of these Manchester Jews has resulted in eight professors receiving the Noble Prize. Join a special event there on Sunday July 7.

For historical sites to visit in Israel read Tel Aviv beginnings by Gillian Domnitz and in The Footsteps of our Fathers in the Galilee by Wendy Blumfield. And for the exciting future, Andee Goldman writes of the Galilee going through tremendous transformation, as young entrepreneurs together with the government are developing the region as a food tech epicenter. An amazing spectacle in the Jezreel Valley at the foot of Mount Gilboa is Peter Viner's "crop graffiti". He recreated in grain a photo taken 90 years ago of two kibbutz farmers, Lavi and Smilansky. Stephen Kliner writes of ESRA's visit to the Golan, to Kibbutz Mevo and Ayit Fall; and Helen Birnbaum tells us of their visit in the Negev to the exciting Lakiya projects of embroidery and weaving by Bedouin women, and of SodaStream.

As the world population ages, and we too in Israel, residential homes become a serious option of living for us. More and more luxurious residences appear on the Israeli scene. Lynette Karp writes of their move to Beth Protea and how much younger she feels since she and Matthew have been living there, which they love. Two more residential homes appear in our magazine – Vera Salomons and Palace Senior Housing.

Global warming is a reality, suffered by us all. Jack Shochat explains the phenomenon of the ever-increasing danger and writes that "for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we the people of Israel, must tell our policymakers that Israel must do its part in the global struggle against the climate change".

Volunteering is the heart and soul of ESRA. Read how: 100 ESRA members helped visitors to Eurovision; 50 foreign students from the Raphael Recanati International School at IDC Herzliya are helping ESRA in our activities; what it means to become a Befriender by Debbie Shwartzberg. Robert Golub tells how our Modiin bookstore is supplying children's books to underprivileged children in Mumbai. You too can volunteer – with your gift of English become involved in ESRA's tutoring program, and in many other aspects of volunteering. Please contact us.

Enjoy the words and photos in the very special feature in this 200th issue all about ESRAmagazine, its history and growth, and the volunteers involved in making it happen. My very grateful thanks to our designer Anthony Green who conceived these pages, pushed for them to happen, and designed them with his amazing talents. Without you Anthony, they would not be.

For fun stories read Grabbing Tiger by the Tail, which tells how Tiger Woods was defeated in Israel by the golfer Nameri; and I missed out on the Sixties: what you should feel at 60.

Have a good summer and please send in your New Year Greetings – fill in the form on page 26 and advertise in our 2019 – 2020 Calendar. 



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