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Michael Goldway 1917 – 2012

 Michael died on Tuesday September 18, 2012. Anyone who belongs to ESRA will remember this charming and witty man who founded and organized the ESRA Colleges and the ESRA Travel Club with his wife Renee.

But who was Michael Goldway and what can we learn from his life?

Michael was born in Lodz, Poland in 1917, so his life spanned most of the 20th century.

From an early age he showed a talent for electronics and it was that which he was to pursue as a career. He went to train in Bordeaux, but little did he know that this was the last time he was to see his parents and sister. He had just graduated when the Second World War broke out and he joined the French Army. On the retreat to Dunkirk he was taken prisoner, and on the way to Germany he escaped and returned to Paris where he joined the French Resistance. As the Germans were closing in on him again, he made his way to Free France and from there to Spain and Gibraltar, finally arriving in England in 1942 where he joined the Signal Corps of the Middlesex regiment to become an instructor. The Jewish Brigade was formed in January 1945, and Michael asked to be transferred to it. The brigade was shipped out to Naples but arrived three days after the armistice was declared. He then joined the British Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and eventually went back to England where he was demobilized to become a project engineer in a private company for the design and construction of electronic equipment.

In 1951 Michael became director and commanding officer of the Electronics School of the Israeli Air Force Training Center and in 1959 became chief supervisor in Technical Education at the Ministry of Labor and Education, having completed degrees at the Technion in Production Engineering and at the Hebrew University in Business Administration. It was because of this combination of unique skills that he advised the Israeli Government on the establishment of an electronics industry in Israel which today has become a multi-billion dollar enterprise. He was also an advisor on the need for skilled technical manpower training, which was a critical matter in the country at a time when the economy was based on agriculture. These were astonishing achievements.

In 1962 Michael joined the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Department of Technical Cooperation responsible for planning and organizing technical assistance in developing countries, and his duties for the next three years took him to Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Peru, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Costa Rica.

In 1964 he was approached by UNESCO and this was the start of a long career lasting many years with the United Nations, for manpower studies and vocational training in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Haiti and Bolivia. In 1978 he was invited to serve as a visiting professor for a year at Stanford University School of Education, after which he became a consultant for the World Bank.

There were hidden forces which pulled him towards Israel again and in 1980 he taught at the Afro-Asian and Latin American Institutes established by the government for students from developing countries.

Even when he retired in 1988, Michael continued with voluntary work, becoming one of the founders of Beit Malinov, the Center for the Retired in Ramat Hasharon, and responsible for courses at the Tel Aviv Museum. He established the ESRA College first in Ramat Hasharon and later in Raanana, the ESRA Travel Club, and in both ventures was assisted by his wife, Renee.

Clearly Michael Goldway was a man of the world - modest, erudite, scholarly, a raconteur, humorist and linguist, with a lovely attitude to life, conversing fluently in six languages, sometimes to statesmen and ministers and always with a charming smile.

Yes, all of these things, and yet he was a warm family man who delighted in his four children and wife Renee. One can hardly mention Michael without thinking at the same time of Renee. Renee called him 'one of my projects - he just drops things on me!'

He used to say that whatever he thinks of, Renee does it better.

Michael, you had a great deal of influence on the lives of young people in Israel and in many other countries through your educational and vocational training. They will always remember your contribution. You had a critical influence on the development of the electronics industry in Israel. You made many friends all over the world in countless countries for the benefit of Israel.

The Goldway – that was your way in life.



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