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ESRA's Impact on Israel's Next Generation

Liraz Tamaño
Yasmin Harper
Maya Iyov

In the heart of Israel, where tradition and innovation intersect, ESRA, the home of English speakers in Israel, is making an impact that extends far beyond its name. ESRA has been at the forefront of creating a warm and welcoming community for local and worldwide students, providing them with a home away from home during their transformative university years here in Israel. As ESRA's CEO, I am proud to share some stories of these remarkable young people who are shaping the future of Israeli society.

Over the past five years, ESRA has witnessed a significant expansion, with over 1,000 students becoming part of our extended family. This number is four times greater than before, thanks to the valuable partnerships established with other NGOs and universities. Our collaborations with organizations such as Shachak – Social Community Service, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, and institutions like the Reichman University in Herzliya and Rothberg International School at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, have opened doors and opportunities for students to connect with Israel in profound ways.

These students play a pivotal role in our mission. They contribute to the functioning of ESRA in various capacities, from assisting in our secondhand shops to organizing social activities and events, all the way to supporting our daily office operations. Beyond this, they are actively involved in projects that impact communities across Israel through ESRA's educational and welfare initiatives.

One of our most impactful projects is Students Build a Community (SBC), operating in Netanya, Akko, and South Tel Aviv. This project offers financially stressed students free housing in disadvantaged neighborhoods, in exchange for mentoring local schoolchildren and becoming social activists. It's a win-win situation, where students receive support, and they, in turn, give back to their communities.

Moreover, our students are also part of ESRA's War Effort, demonstrating resilience and being proactive in volunteering to assist evacuated children during wartime. 

We spoke with some of them... 

Liraz Tamaño, a Business Administration student, helps children evacuated from Sderot, witnessing their traumatic experiences as they constantly speak of the terrorists in their homes and the weapons they carry. "I find fulfillment in seeing their initial distrust transform into moments of normalcy and smiles. My message: Guard our souls by doing what benefits them".

Yasmin Harper, a student of Geography and Sustainable Human Environment, returned to Israel after growing up in the USA. "Being part of the ESRA SBC South Tel Aviv community helps me connect despite language difficulties and to feel more at home here in Israel. I feel my work is meaningful and helpful, even if only in a small way. What is my message? Peace now."

Maya Iyov, a student of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy, tutors evacuated kids in Hebrew, Math, and English. "Hearing their stories is hard, but I must be strong for them. When I arrive, they run and hug me. My message: In the darkest times, I believe in our nation and the IDF. We will overcome; better days will come."

ESRA's commitment to fostering a sense of community and unity extends beyond the university campuses. We are proud to partner with Shachak (Social Community Service), enlisting new immigrant university students to volunteer in the community in exchange for a tuition scholarship. These students receive training and support, becoming an integral part of ESRA's Personal Support Services for English speakers during these challenging times.

David Dusi (USA)
Emily Benchmuel (Canada)
Naomi Sanders (USA)

Here are their testimonies: 

David Dusi (USA), 3 years in Israel, recently married, volunteering with ESRA through Shachak, recipient of an ESRA scholarship. Helping with relief activities. "My message: Keep your head up, stay strong, and love one another."

Emily Benchmuel (Canada), 4 years in Israel, Pre-Medicine student. "I make friendly phone calls to elderly English speakers during the war period. People are so appreciative and thank me many times for calling. My message: Be positive and stay safe."

Naomi Sanders (USA), 6 years in Israel, student of Chinese Medicine. "My message: I'm reaching out to the English community. One person can't fix the world, but a lot of people doing little things can make a big difference."

As we move forward, inspired by Israel's next generation, we are highly motivated to grow as a facilitator and expanded family for these remarkable young people. You can join us in making a difference by supporting ESRA's projects, volunteering your time and skills, or providing any financial contributions. Everyone and everything counts, as together, we can continue our mission of nurturing and empowering the future leaders of Israel.

You can find all the ways to help on the ESRA website: 



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Friday, 19 July 2024

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