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Readers' Letters - 208

To Rhona Berzack

We are lucky to have two apartments for Chayalim Bodedim (lone soldiers) in Modiin, and are currently establishing a third. The soldiers depend on us for all of their needs, but thanks to ESRA Modiin's knitting group, we are confident they will be comfortable and warm this winter. As in the past, the knitting group has graciously and generously provided our dear lone soldiers with handmade hats and scarves to keep them toasty warm wherever their service to our beloved country may take them. The support and caring that the knitting group has demonstrated in giving these valuable gifts is as much appreciated as their hard work and the many hours spent knitting them. Kol hakavod and many thanks to the ESRA Modiin knitting group for all that they do for our brave soldiers.

Janice Waldman, Chayalim Bodedim, Modiin

Dear Rhona Berzack,

On behalf of Hadassah, I would like to thank you and the members of the ESRA Modiin knitting group very much indeed for your generous gift of knitted hats and clothing for Hadassah patients. The hard work invested into creating these adorable pieces is highly appreciated by the recipients and their families at Hadassah Hospital. It is the time and effort of generous donors such as yourselves that help Hadassah maintain its standard of excellence in treatment and care of its patients. In the name of Hadassah management and staff – and most importantly – our patients, my deepest thanks for your generosity and kindness. ,

Gidon Melmed, Director Development, Donors and Events Dept., Hadassah Hospital

Insulting to mock students' errors in English

I would first of all like to compliment ESRA Magazine on its new layout and design - so much cleaner and easier to read.

Secondly, I take issue with Stephen Schulman's article "Push the Tomato into the Bull" (ESRA Magazine #206). While I think it's great that he is a grader for the English bagrut exams, I find it insulting and offensive that he takes the errors from those test results and publicizes them. These young people are struggling to learn English and yes, they make errors, just as we ourselves do as immigrants, dealing in a language that is not native to us.

Would we want someone to post our Hebrew mis-speaks in a magazine, and not only that, but also make a joke about them? How unkind to mock the students' test results in this way. They are trying, they are learning, and they trust that the grader will not then find it acceptable to mock their errors.

Just FYI, I checked with my Israeli grandchildren who were horrified by the article, and said they know that their peers would be terribly hurt to know that the bagrut grader was making fun of their efforts.

Susan Leibtag, Modiin

What an amazing magazine I picked up today. The cover, the contents so full, so energetic, so informative, so inclusive. Thanks

Honey Stollman, Ramat Gan


Friday's Soup, a worthy winner

Well done to the judges of the ESRA Magazine Short Story Competition 2020. "Friday`s Soup" is such a worthy winner of any accolade, made even more meaningful by the article by Carol Novis following that story, where we are introduced to the author Bill Strubbe and learn that it was inspired by an event he witnessed when much younger, but treasured, unpublished for the next 25 years. The motivational message for this year's stories was "Timeless", and this winner truly is a tale for always.

There have often been beautiful stories published in the ESRA Magazine - and wonderful winners of this competition over the years. I have no doubt that there are many contributions that may not have made the final cut this year but have great relevance, and I am sure I am not alone in anticipating the pleasure of reading some of them in the coming editions.

The new layout and format of ESRA Magazine is fantastic, another reason to congratulate you on not letting the crazy world we find ourselves in distract you from producing such a successful periodical for our pleasure. Kol Hakavod!

Lynette Karp, Herzliya

Really lovely design

The new graphic design of the last ESRA Magazine is really lovely - clean, elegant style and professional. Well done.

Riva Garmise, Netanya

More about Hatikvah

I was delighted to read Neville Singer's piece on Hatikvah in your #206 issue, September 2020.

Despite having done my "duty for my country" in past years, for a long time now I have been unable to join in singing the Hatikvah.

As Mr. Singer wrote, this is not an anthem for all of our citizens and it is about time that a new national anthem was composed that could be suitable for EVERYONE and not just the Jewish population. Where would we have been in the last coronavirus year without our Arab/Palestinian doctors and nurses?

I was therefore shocked to read a follow-up letter by Mr. Bachmann "singing the praises" of Hatikvah, an anthem comprising music which is not original and text which is strongly apartheid.

There are so many great Israeli composers and writers. How about a contest for a new anthem, with a prestigious jury composed of members of all Israel's diverse population?

Chapeau, Mr. Singer, and kol hakavod to the editorial team of the ESRA Magazine for printing your article (in the wonderful new-look magazine). This goes to show that all voices and views can be expressed in your columns.

Alice Krieger, Tel Aviv

I read it from cover to cover

This latest issue of the Magazine #207, December 2020, is a real GEM. I LOVE the cover.

I read it from cover to cover. The articles are so varied and so interesting; fantastic how many people are able to produce such great writing - there is literally something for every taste. The pandemic has not stunted creativity.

I was pleased to read Lillian Unger's letter - she agrees completely regarding the wearing of the very essential mask. I loved Stephen Schulman's article about his biking trip to Holland. Stephen was our supervisor for the many years I volunteered with the English tutoring program at Rishonim High School in Herzliya so I know him fairly well; he has a lovely sense of humor.

Merle dear, may you be able to continue your good works for many more years.

Inge David, Herzliya

Amazing ESRA programs on Zoom

I've been watching amazing Zooms from ESRA. I even watched a children's program telling a musical story of a penguin. It was more than fun. It was a delightful production by Savannah, a very talented young woman with a beautiful voice. Her energy really energized me. We're never too old to appreciate professional performances, no matter what age group it was intended for.

So thank you ESRA for providing us with a lovely evening. And thank you Merle for starting ESRA which never stops growing and has so much to offer.

Fonda Dubb, Eilat

Banking for Senior Citizens

I would like to thank Adv. Shavit Ben-Chorin for his article "Legal Guide to Senior Citizens' Bank Account" (ESRA Magazine #207, December 2020). It was most informative and certainly covered all aspects of banking law in an outstanding professional manner. Kudos!

Ingrid Barzel, Beer Sheva

Moving article on Second World War diaries

As a new ESRA member, receiving the magazine came as an unexpected and really pleasant surprise. One article in particular caught our interest by Roger Ian Lavender, who wrote a moving article on his father's Second World War diaries (ESRA Magazine #206, September 2020). And thanks again for the bonus of the ESRA Magazine.
Yvonne and Jon Lipman, Haifa

Stories I enjoyed in Magazine 207

Thank you to Merle and the editorial board for yet another excellent magazine. I definitely liked the new cover design on the December edition and even more so the one on the previous edition, #206.

To mention a few of the articles I liked in particular: Of course, being a South African and from Polokwane like Fonda Dubb, I loved reading her "Cooking Up A Better Life'', where she tells of the course she gave to local domestic workers. In those apartheid days that was a great contribution. Wherever Fonda has lived she always gives of herself for the good of others. I am proud to be her friend.

Another story I enjoyed was that on Helen Suzman, that grand fighter for black rights, way before her time.

Yet another South African captured my heart; Lynette Karp. I don't know her but feel we are kindred spirits. She writes of books on her shelf and amongst a number of others, she mentions "Out of Africa" and Nelson Mandela's "Long Road to Freedom". I share with her the love of Africa and memories of growing up there.

I could write of many more but will just briefly mention the winning short story "Friday's Soup" and as always Lydia Aisenberg's articles - this time on the "Heroines of the British SOE": Both of which I thought excellent.

Richelle Shem-Tov, Kiryat Ono



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