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My father knew 'last of red hot mommas' (see SOPHIE TUCKER 1884-1966)

MY FATHER was in vaudeville and claimed he knew Sophie Tucker (below), Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante etc. He said they all worked the Coney Island boardwalk and performed for tips. His act was called the Roman Gladiator, a two-man act that played the palace. He may have been on before Tucker. I remember her at a time when she was young and slim, before her weight gain. My father died in 1970.

I wish I had known Ms Tucker who lived in New York. We lived there too, and I would have loved to have met her.

Fannie Brustein

Queens, New York 

School says thanks to volunteer tutors

At the end of each school year, the English teachers and the principal of Sharett High School in Netanya invite their volunteer tutors to a 'thank you' get- together. And so it was this year. We all gathered together in the library, refreshments provided (and baked) by the teachers. The teacher in charge thanked the tutors for their wonderful work. She read out this beautiful letter below which she then handed out to each tutor.

At this point our meeting usually ends, the teachers go back to their classes and the tutors go home to have a well-earned rest during the summer.

But not this time. Having finished a conversation with one of the teachers, I turned around to see who needed a lift home, only to find everyone paired up… teacher – tutor, teacher – tutor, all oblivious of the time and deep in conversation with each other. So much energy in the air!

Little wonder tutors at Sharett love their 'job' and the teachers love having them there.

Ros Ben Ezra, Netanya

'Every week you come here . . . and help us to change the world for our students'

Dear Les, Sid, Sandra, Phyllis, Hyam, Tony, Elaine and Ros,

IT IS HARD to believe that we have completed another cycle, that another year has spun by. And with it, another year for which we have the true pleasure of thanking you, dear volunteers and Ros, our tireless coordinator, for your dedication and commitment to helping the students at Sharett School.I will open with a quote by the great Nelson Mandela who passed away half a year ago. On the topic of education, Mr Mandela said: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Every week you come here and help change the world. You offer our students one of the most valuable commodities on the market: the English language. These students are growing up in aworld where they will find it hard tocope without a mastery of spoken English. The world communicates in English, and adults, who do not want to be left behind, flock to Berlitz and other language schools. You have made it much easier for our students: you come to them and they need only to walk into the library and sit at one of your tables. For the students, it's as good as it gets. There are two things Israeli students love unconditionally: 1) they love to talk, and2) they love an excuse to leave class. You offer them all this in one package– plus the powerful weapon of spoken English which will take them into the future.

You often sit with students for whom this is the first time they are practicing spoken English. If it weren't for you, some of these students might have slipped through the cracks and never had such an opportunity. But it isn't just the opportunity you provide. It's how you go about it. You transform this library into an oasis of English conversation and laughter, jokes and learning. The students have a chance to express themselves, they tell you about their lives and often their secrets. You know their secrets and they know some of yours. They genuinely love being herewith you. We, the teachers, see in the huge smiles spread across their faces when they return to class. We see it in that new-found glow of confidence. We see it, for example, in students who will barely say a word in English class at the beginning of the year, and after a number of months with you, walk into their Oral Bagrut exams and come with100s. 100s! That's how you make them feel. 100%, which is perfect. They way all children should feel – that alone is a way to change the world. Thank you once again for helping to change the world, one student at a time.

Dr. Shoshana Avraham

Principal, Esti Davi, Sharett Junior HighSchool

Rachel, Haniot, Golit, Yoel, Sara, Irit andSharon: the English staff

We're not the only ones to descend from the 'lost tribes'

(Further to the article above by Carl Hoffman in ESRAmagazine #170, July-August 2013), I find it interesting that if many anti-Jewish people would look into their heritage they would very possibly find they are descended from Jewish ancestry, or at least from the lost tribes of Israel. There are ten other tribes that were not Judah or Levi and many authorities believe they went to the British Isles and then to America. There is a reason why many kings of North West Europe have the Lion of Judah on their shields.

Jason Darrow

New Hampshire, United States

Cultural boycott: When pop star's loyalties lie with the royalties

I READ with interest Pamela Peled's topical piece about the boycott of Israel by some pop groups and singers, 'You can't always get what you want', ESRAmagazine # 174.

One of the most vociferous is Roger Waters, a member of Pink Floyd, who constantly urges entertainers to shun what he calls 'apartheid Israel.'

What puzzles me though is why his CDs are freely available for sale in Israel's record and bookshops?

If Israel is such a thorn in his side, then shouldn't he be equally adamant that he and his group's music shouldn't be available to buy here? And shouldn't we, the Israeli public, shun his music? It seems only fair: he doesn't play here and we don't listen to his tunes, either live or recorded.

But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, methinks his loyalties lie with the royalties.

Anthony Green


How to make fish dish go with a zing

I feel I must take your resident cook, Lisa Brink, to task over her piece in ESRAmagazine 175, 'Fish is no great catch', in which she berates the selection of fish available in Israel.

My family and I made aliyah from the United Kingdom, an island surrounded by waters brimming with various types of fish, including haddock, cod, bream and plaice, to name but a few.

And if it's smoked salmon you want, you don't have to look further than Scotland where the best in the world is produced.

So, yes, when we came to Israel we found the selection of fish available rather disappointing and puzzling. After a few unsuccessful experiments with fish we weren't familiar with – they turned out to be very watery and tasteless – we have now more or less settled on tilapia (amnon in Hebrew) or grey mullet (buri). But the secret is to cook them in the microwave in a marinade of lemon juice and soy sauce.

The result is a delicious plate of fish with the juices oozing.

I suggest that Lisa and your readers give it a go. You'll be pleasantly surprised.


Tay Green


Testers needed to try new device for the visually impaired

A very impressive OrCam device for the visually impaired was recently demonstrated at a Wizo meeting in Eilat. It looks like a pair of eyeglasses that, when pointed at a printed page, read the text aloud.

OrCam is looking for more beta testers in the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem areas. If you know anyone who is blind or vision-impaired and speaks English, please contact Liat Negrin (trainer and customer support) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Siri Jones-Rosen


What a great prize

Thank you so much for a 2-night stay at the Carmel Forest Spa.

What a fabulous prize to win on your 2013 ESRA raffle.

My husband and I enjoyed the beauty of the grounds, the wonderful food and service, and a lovely room.

It was a wonderful experience and a great surprise.


Myrna & Nadav Kagan

Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak

Further reading on Gush Katif Center

Further to the article about the Gush Katif Center (ESRAmagazine # 175, June/July 2014), I encourage those who want to learn about Gush Katif to read Shifra Shomron's historical novel, "Grains of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim". Book information is available on the author's website:

Dee Hock once said, "The essence of community, its heart and soul, is the non-monetary exchange of value; things we do and share because we care for others, and for the good of the place." For me, this defines the 21 thriving and vibrant Jewish communities of Gush Katif, destroyed in 2005 in the failed effort to achieve peace in the Middle East. The heart and soul of these communities live on; they have been reborn anew across all of Israel. I pray for the continued growth and wellbeing of all the people of Gush Katif who are a living, collective testament to the resilience of individuals working together for the good of everyone.



Politics aside: The 'secret' of our success

One of the reasons I think the ESRA organization and magazine are so successful is that it leaves out politics and personal opinions.

Keep up the good work

From the ESRA Ramat Hasharon Magazine distributor and longstanding member,

Adrian Wolff

Banking experience saved us money, too

Many, many thanks to Eli Lato of Holon for bringing the banking benefits of Bank of Jerusalem to our attention in ESRAmagazine, #174, April/May/June, 2014.

Thanks to Mr. Lato and the helpful people at the Keren Hayesod branch in Jerusalem, we were able to save a significant amount of money. The customer service was so much better than the bank we had been using and there are several helpful English speakers.

No need to take a number, just ask the guard upon entering whom to see about your specific issue and he will point you in the right direction. It was the best banking experience we have had in the two months since we arrived here as olim.

Susie Zien (aka Susan Tzin)


Poverty and jobs in South Africa

I found the article by Cynthia Barmor (a school friend of mine) on her visit to South Africa (ESRAmagazine #175 July-August 2014) well written and interesting, However, I need to highlight two inaccuracies:

"Poverty among Whites, previously rare, has increased": there have always been poor Whites, but during the Apartheid years they were protected by the iniquitous system of 'job reservation'. Perhaps you, Cynthia, lived only among the affluent white Jewish community of Cape Town? For those of us brought up in the country towns, we went to school and played with those children whose parents were railway shunters and train drivers and who lived below the breadline, but the system protected them.

The second point: On the ladder of job candidacy, white males are on the bottom rung, with preference invariably given to black males. In reality, preference is given to black women. The pool of qualified applicants for various positions has gotten larger and this pool proportionately reflects the percentages of the various ethnic groups. The previous system of 'jobs for pals', especially in our community, has changed.

Shirley Bricker

Johannesburg, South Africa 

You're a real class act, and I'm so lucky to be your zumba teacher

THANK you everyone, for a great year. I love teaching this class, you are an amazing group of people, and I am so lucky to be your zumba teacher.

Keep coming to class, you have a great replacement.

Thank you again for being such a great class. I loved every minute with you guys.

I wish you all a great summer. See you all in September.

Stacy Shani, Tel Aviv

Language is slowly scrabbling into SMS talk of gibberish and mumbo jumbo

I VERY MUCH enjoyed Pnina Moed Kass' article Thanks Scrabble . . . ( ESRAmagazine # 175). It sometimes seems as if language is slowly evolving into what can be included in a brief SMS message, with multisyllabic words slowly disappearing from the usable lexicon. With such easy modern communication techniques available it seems to me that there is a lot of gobbledegook, mumbo jumbo, gibberish and flack on much of the social and news networks, mostly written in monosyllabic words, which will not get many points in Scrabble. I applaud Ms. Kass for indirectly pointing out the richness of the English language, which with the lack of a regulating linguistic academy, allows for neologism and the natural development of language.

Melvin E. Farris

Kfar Saba 



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Wednesday, 19 June 2024

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