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We never sleep!

It was Frank Sinatra who coined the phrase "The city that never sleeps" in his song "New York New York". Our very own Tel Aviv has also achieved the same reputation making it THE place for the younger generation (who also "never sleep"!).

How about coining a new phrase like "The ESRA that never sleeps"? It is simply amazing what ESRA has on offer for those looking for entertainment, lecture courses, tiyulim, volunteering in a multitude of ways and giving us the opportunity to help create a better tomorrow for those youngsters benefitting from the meaningful support that ESRA gives. Yes October was filled with Chagim but for sure ESRA did not sleep – activities and tiyulim continued with Branches planning great programs for the coming year.

Just prior to Rosh Hashana a "Solidarity Trip to Sderot" brought a coach load of ESRA members to Sderot where we were able to see our ESRA Sewing Class in action – one of our more recent projects that has given new life to a number of Ethiopian women. This came about thanks to the generosity Meira and Jack Appebaum who were participants on this trip and delighted to see "their" project in action. We also had the opportunity of meeting some very special women – residents of Sderot - now retired from a working career and who today are volunteers. It was they who cooked us a most delicious lunch. Each one explained what it is to live in Sderot. Yes the Iron Dome is a miracle saver of lives but the trauma suffered by those in the South is quite horrific. The constant 'Red Alert' sound (the siren that indicates a rocket is about to land at any second). As we listened to these women none of us could really begin to imagine just how traumatic it must be to find a safe room or shelter within 15 seconds. On our trip was a psycho-therapist, Wendy Fielding, who specializes in treating trauma victims. En route to Sderot Wendy took the microphone and explained how trauma manifests itself and can be quite difficult to diagnose. Wendy, a recent olah from the UK had been in touch with me during Operation Protective Edge because she wanted to volunteer her professional skills. However, as a relative newcomer to Israel the therapy sessions would have to be conducted in English. We were not sure we would find English speakers but, as it transpired, one of the Sderot women we met was able to avail herself of Wendy's professional help and how appreciative she was. Meeting these residents made us realize the full significance of ESRA's enabling some 10 families to have "time out" – away from it all. This was a direct result of the funds raised by you during "Operation Protective Edge". Do take a look at page … where you will find an exceedingly moving letter of appreciation to ESRA written by one mother on behalf of the ten families. Our thanks go to Cecily Hanson, who arranged the visit and Adele Rubin – ESRA's super activist in Sderot.

The month of November is a month of historic significance for the Jewish people. November 2, 1917 is the date when Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote his famous letter to Lord Rothschild committing the British to provide a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine – this became known as the Balfour Declaration. ESRA, together with IBCA held a most successful commemorative lecture on the actual day when we were all privileged to hear Dr. Jonathan Spyer of the Gloria Center address us on "Israel in the changing Middle East – Threats and Opportunities". Whilst the Balfour Declaration can be seen as the catalyst for the rebirth of the State of Israel the tragedy for the Jewish people was that we had to wait 30 years until November 29, 1947 when the United Nations voted on the Partition Plan for Palestine.

November also saw our Branches coming together within their respective Regions. This twice a year gathering of our groups has proven to be an excellent way of staying in touch as well as sharing the successes and challenges. The lifeblood of our branches remains its members. The hope is that this coming year we will find a way of reaching out and making new members for ESRA. We must encourage newcomers to join "the ESRA that never sleeps" – an added bonus for them and a big plus for us!

Chag Chanukah Sameach to you and your dear ones. 



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Thursday, 30 March 2023

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