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Clary Sage: Seed oil is safe to take during pregnancy

I was thrilled to have my article about Clary Sage published in ESRAmagazine #177 and am happy to share some of what I have learned about this special plant over the last four years.

The warning in the article was for using derivatives of the herb itself, i.e. leaves, stalk, flower and root. On the other hand, Clary Sage seed oil is on the FDA GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) list and there are no restrictions or objections currently being considered by the FDA regarding usage of the oil.

Additionally, Clary Sage seed oil has been found to be extremely beneficial during pregnancy and lactation for both mother and child.

Hannah E. Baum

In memory of Barbara Lyons 

We miss her here, we miss her there. We miss our Barbara everywhere. Her beaming smile lit up her face. There she was in ESRA's place Camera ready, a call to smile Who could resist her charming style? No gathering missed, no group unseen, She was there for all to screen. Memories saved for us to share, Barbara, we truly thank you for your care.

Barbara Blum Former chair of ESRA Herzliya

A fitting tribute to an inspiring man

CYNTHIA Barmor's article, Optimism is my opium (ESRAmagazine #177) was lucid and articulate.

With a subject like this, it's better to play it straight and let the content speak for itself: you've succeeded in doing just that.

A fitting tribute to an inspiring man.

Jeff Opland
Visiting Professor School of Languages: African Language Studies
Rhodes University, UK

Better future for our children

How lovely to read Brenda Katten's reference, in The Jerusalem Post, to the work ESRA is doing in Netanya. Her article in the magazine section (19 December 2014) makes a very important point about "providing a better future for our children - and ultimately for the State of Israel."

Phella Hirschson
Tel Aviv

You could end up on tablets with this cellphone scam

I asked ESRA for advice/information in English to help a friend who had apparently been 'taken' by her cellphone company.

a. She was offered a package deal over the phone that would substantially reduce her cellphone rates and was asked for her credit card details, which she gave.

b. When she returned from a month abroad she found that she had been charged NIS 3,000 for a period when she was able to prove that she had been out of the country. She was told she would be credited.

c. She then received an unsolicited tablet by messenger. She had no idea what it was or what it was for, and finally realized that it had been sent to her by the cellphone company and that she had been charged NIS 3,000 for it!

d. Over the phone she was told that she could return it to their offices and be credited, but when she tried to do so she was told the time to do so had run out.

f. To add insult to injury, the invoice in the package was for 36 equal payments, not a lump sum deduction.

This is an older woman who periodically travels for medical reasons both in Israel and abroad, has a minimal command of Hebrew and barely deals with her own cellphone. Finally the company agreed to take the tablet back, but we are still waiting to see if they have credited her with the NIS 3,000.

While researching this I discovered that a number of people have recently fallen victim to unscrupulous tablet salesmen, some representing other cellphone companies. Even a soldier passing through the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station was high-pressured into buying a tablet for NIS 3,000, actually worth NIS 1,500. When he tried to return it he was refused because 'the packaging had been opened'. So it was no surprise to learn that this year's tablet sales worldwide have leveled-off.

Apropos scams, beware of this one which targets the elderly in England and involves a bogus phone call from the bank. The victim is told there's a problem with their bank/credit card, and is asked to call the bank back on their emergency number.

When the victim hangs up and dials the bank number, the scammer is still on the line, never having hung up! Thinking that he or she is speaking with the bank, the victim gives his or her personal information and PIN number to the scammer. The victim is then told that a messenger will pick up the old card and a replacement card will arrive in a few days. The messenger picks up the card, but by the time the victim calls the bank to find out when the new card is coming, his or her bank account has been cleaned out.

So be warned: TRY NOT to give your credit card details over the phone to anyone who calls you - not even charities or the banks - if you can help it. Or at least make sure YOU initiated the call without prompting.

In the classic words of Hill Street Blues: "Hey, let's be careful out there!"

Siri Jones-Rosen, Eilat

How irritating! Clothes are cotton but labels aren't

I cannot understand the monumental stupidity of clothing manufacturers who label their garments "100% Cotton" - on a 100% synthetic label! I have to unpick the labels or cut them out anyway because they cause skin irritation – wasting my time and their money.

By the same token I very much appreciate manufacturers who print their labels directly on the fabric – and the printing hasn't worn out yet!

Siri Jones-Rosen


Still knitting, and the memory of our hard-working leader Shirley lives on 

Ladies of the Tel Aviv/Ramat Aviv Knitting Group

I would like to thank and congratulate the ladies of the Tel Aviv/Ramat Aviv Knitting Group for all their hard work this past year. Sadly, in August 2013, our energetic and hardworking group leader, Shirley Kirsch, passed away, and to say the least, the group felt bereft and wondered if we would be able to continue. Happily, in her honor, we continued to meet every Thursday morning, some weeks just a few of us, some weeks more, and today we are still going and fast growing. We knitted 240 sweaters and numerous ponchos, hats, scarves and headbands, and crocheted anything and everything to keep needy children warm. As you can see, we have been extremely busy this past year. We like to meet and chatter and knit, and I hope this coming year will be as happy and rewarding as the past years were.

Lucille Laketer
Coordinator of ESRA Tel Aviv/Ramat Aviv Knitting Group

Chanukah shoe boxes were brimming with gifts for the youngsters of Sderot 

A smile on their faces ... Sderot children with their Chanukah presents

On the second day of Chanukah Illana Bank, founder of A Spoonful of Hope (nonprofit), came to Sderot with Judith Madeleine Schwarcz to visit the Nitzan afternoon learning and activity center for children with learning difficulties. They distributed 80 decorated shoe boxes filled with gifts packed by children from Hashmonim Junior High School in Bat Yam and by residents of the Beth Juliana Retirement Home in Herzliya. Eighty per cent of the children from the center come from low socio-economic level families.

The idea of bringing the gifts to Nitzan was because Judith Madeleine had approached me with the offer from A Spoonful of Hope to contribute to Sderot. I remember when Judith initiated and helped run a support group for parents of children with learning challenges in ESRA.

Nitzan is funded by Mr Yehiel Spektor, the owner of Spectronix Ltd, a factory in the industrial area of Sderot, who himself had suffered from a learning disability as a child.

The distribution was beautifully organized by Yehudit Dehan, Director of Nitzan. The children from the first six classes of all the schools in Sderot (religious and secular and from all population groups) each chose a box with glowing faces and happy parents.

Illana and Judith had had a long day so we went to have coffee. We were so gratified when a mother phoned Illana to say that her little girl found a note with a telephone number of the child who packed the box and wanted to phone her and say thank you

and another mother phoned to say thank you. The unexpected climax was the lighting of Chanukah candles by the staff of the Café-only in Sderot.

Thank you A Spoonful of Hope.

Adele Rubin

Great interest in the secret Jews of Ireland

In ESRAmagazine #177 so kindly delivered today, I read with extra special interest the letter from Donna in Dallas, because Casa Shalom, the Institute for Marrano-Annusim Studies, has for the last few years been doing a special and subsequently most fruitful research on the secret Jews of Ireland. The great interest in the subject could be seen at the most successful seminar we had on the subject early in 2014, when we were honored to have the presence of H.E. the Irish Ambassador. See our website at

Gloria Mound

Note: Gloria Mound passed away in January 2017

. . . on the secret Jews of Ireland

CARL Hoffman's article 'When Irish eyes smiled on the country's secret Jews' (ESRAmagazine #170) mentions that: "Other secret Jews arrived later," Mound says, "disguised as Huguenots – French Protestants – another persecuted minority fleeing from Catholic France. "She notes the graves of two members of the Labato family, known Jews and purveyors to the army of King William of Orange, in the small recently restored Huguenot cemetery in Cork. Few people know that Labatt Beer in Canada was founded by an Irish Huguenot from County Laois, my home country. So may be related to the Labato family. I have Sephardic Jewish relatives in many places in South America, and some Ashkenazi Jewish relatives in Belarus, Romania and Russia and have Huguenot ancestry, so that may be the connection.

Paul Conroy Ridgewood
New Jersey, USA

You brought light into their lives, so thank you

The acquisition of a new language – speaking, understanding, reading and writing – is always perceived of as a little frightening and threatening, especially regarding English in this country.

Our girls at Bayit Cham in Netanya, who come from low socio-economic backgrounds and cannot afford private lessons in English, have a very difficult time with the language at school.

The turning point came for these girls with the arrival of Bella Gohary and Nancy Kramer as volunteers to Bayit Cham. Firstly, their warmth gave the girls the motivation to learn the language. Their ability and understanding of English has improved immensely.

We see that with their warmth, empathy and smiling faces they have won the hearts of our girls and with that, the ability to improve their minds too.

We feel that with Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, upon us, this is the time to say thank you to our ESRA volunteers for bringing light, understanding and the desire to help.

Keep up your strength!

Salit – Social worker; Moran – Counsellor
Bayit Cham Netanya

Quality of article touched every fibre

The quality and content of Ilan Shachar's article, Have they no shame? (ESRAmagazine #177) just touched my every fibre. I usually don't expect that from articles in ESRAmagazine, although I enjoy the magazine and think that it is improving in its depth. You put the issues so clearly and objectively and I hope many people of a variety of persuasions will be able to relate.

Jane Davidson

The enemy at the gate

AFTER I read about the forthcoming release of the head of one of the major crime organizations in the South, I realized to what extent his position in organized crime has acquired him a celebrity status in our society. Even mentioning his soldiers (or lieutenants as written in the paper) awakens in us true fear. Regarding fear, I cannot but chuckle when our president welcomed French immigrants to come to Israel out of love and not fear. Of course, starting from the beginning of the last century we are all immigrants and we have all come to Israel out of fear and lack of choice. But what makes me scared is the fear that we have just from living in Israel. I am not talking about the Arab terrorism. I am talking about the escalating violence in our society against women, the weak and animals, and specifically the ever strengthening hold that organized crime has over our country. If we do not understand that we have a real problem on our hands and stop running around like a chicken without a head to extinguish a fire here and a fire there, and if we do not unite and prepare ourselves within every faculty of our society to fight against this phenomenon, it will swallow us whole. It is already an accepted institution and a fait accompli.

Gideon Ben Yacov

Great way to put a spring in your step

Bright and early on Thursday mornings, a small group of ladies gathers together with Denny to stretch and limber up. Please come and spend 45 minutes of fun at Beit Fisher in Raanana. We start at 07:15, end at 08:00, and are ready to start the day refreshed and with a spring in our step.

Elaine Eitzman




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Wednesday, 19 June 2024

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