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A Word From the Editor 198

'Things are a changing,' writes Emily Levy-Shochat, in her story, That Takes the Biscuit, when she discovers that the bakery, which had been the source of the delicious broken biscuits with ends dipped in chocolate that her family loved, had closed, to be replaced by a new tall building. And that she would have to look for a new source. We too have had to move our ESRAmagazine office. For forty years Herzliya Municipality has very kindly availed us an office, but now they need the office and we have had had to look for alterative premises. Fortunately, Kfar Saba municipality has come to our rescue, and our magazine office will now be located in the Volunteer House there.

There are other changes in ESRA: we have new chairpersons in Eilat (Hannah Berg) and in Rehovot (Sharyn Levisohn) and we wish them good luck and creative fun.

But changes don't always come easily, certainly not institutional religious changes. Bill Strubbetells of the tremendous tribulations and years it took him to convert to Judaism, due to the inflexibility of our Orthodox demands. Gila Silverman recounts her struggles to be allowed to say kaddish to honor her mother in the presence of community, as required by Jewish tradition. How uncomfortable she was made to feel, despite the fact that the community were her academic peers and as an academician she was fully accepted, but as a woman she was expected to say kaddish behind the black mehitzah in the women's section.

Amos Oz, despite his criticism of Israel and fear of losing our democratic and humanistic qualities, loved this country, as I do too. His last book, Dear Zealots, in effect his will and last testament, summarizes his conclusions regarding the "curse of nationalism" and the threats posed by Jewish fanaticism and supremacy. He longed for peace and enriched us with his words and wisdom. Others too strive to make changes towards peace. Lawrence Fisher, a stamp collector, created a thematic exhibit called 'The Jewish Homeland – Our Struggle for Survival' which he displayed internationally. He felt it could be useful in the public diplomacy struggle Israel faces to explain our view to the general public and to fight BDS. Susan Zaidel, at a conference on innovations in conflict resolution, went to sessions that focused on cooperative enterprises and peacemaking of Jews and Arabs in Israel and on regional issues involving Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She asks herself what she is doing towards that goal. In fact, what are we all doing to help promote peace.

One of the most moving and inspiring peace efforts is made by ceramics artist Tsamerit Zamir, who lives in Moshav Netiv, in the north-west Negev, literally on the edge of Gaza. She has combined her ceramic talents and her burning wish for a more peaceful existence for all the peoples of the region, both Israeli and Palestinian in a project she named 'Path to Peace'. On the huge concrete wall physically dividing the Israeli residents from the Gazans, she has made a large dove and an olive twig in beak that can also be seen by Palestinians. On the outer portion of the inner wall – in clear view of the Gazans - are thousands of brightly colored tiles that spell out peace in different languages and form flowers. The colorful tiles, in different shapes and sizes, are inscribed with words such as happiness, joy, hope, friendship and even the ban-the-bomb emblem, all of which were prepared by Tsamerit in her studio. She has been creating art from the heart with messages of Shalom-Salaam-Peace on the repellent, but also comforting, concrete security wall.

Remembering our past is reflected in several articles: Mimi Tanaman describes vividly the trip to Ethiopia (our cover story) where ESRA took Israeli students of Ethiopian origin to retrace their roots. Svia Epstein and her sister Elishama Jacobs spoke to ESRA Modiin about their growing up in Pakistan. Carol Elias relates the remarkable survival of J, a baby in 1940, thanks to tactics for hiding their son that his parents developed in the work camp in Ladjin. Early murderous "selections" carried out by the Nazis were done in order to rid the camp of unwanted populations, especially young children, who disturbed the adults at their work. Lydia Aisenberg takes us down Jaffa Road in Jerusalem to see historical buildings and the innovative tourist information bus. Sholom Weinfeld tells us of how a close college friend, now a professor at the college where they both studied, is being moved to the dorm he slept in forty years ago.

If you have the itch and the wherewithal to travel abroad, read Esther Elias' account of her trip to Singapore, or the Porters trip to Hong Kong. And for sightseeing in Israel, visit Peki'in, Ramle, or Beth Hagdudim, Museum of the Jewish Battalions in WW1 in Avichail – or all of them, including a visit to Kibbutz Ein Hashofet to see the creative prayer wheels.

For food enjoy Janine Levy's recipes of strawberries now in season; savor Michael Rothschild's Swedish delights at FiKa's – kanelbullar cinnamon rolls, the vacuum Cleaner – a chocolate-covered pastry filled with almond paste – and the Coconut Mountain – a creamy coconut pastry; enough sweet gorging, time to avoid unhealthy foods says Dr Miriam Maisel.

Two exciting theatrical productions – Logon's musical Down in the Woods and Santa's Story, a production from South Africa. And an exhibition of ceramics by UK Chris Keenan.

You'll find Important practical advice in Ira Grinberg's account of the bureaucratic hurdles he encountered after the death of his wife, Annice; and Attorney Ben-Chorin guides us through the terminally ill patient's law.

And three more winning stories to read from our Short Story Competition 2018. 

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