Project of the Month

ESRA Computer Centers provide free access to computers and innovative instruction in computer skills for underprivileged children, youth and adults helping to close the cultural and educational gap.

Message from the Chairman of ESRA


The current edition #190 of the ESRA Magazine relates to the fifty-year commemoration of ‎the Six Day War. Many of us in ESRA volunteered to come to Israel in 1967. Some stayed, ‎some returned and made Aliya later, but all of us are still volunteering for Israel through ‎ESRA.

With concern for its members, the needy of our society and especially for the ‎education of our youth, ESRA is driven by the intensity of the same ideals that brought us to ‎volunteer in Israel back in 1967. As ESRA is apolitical, I will leave aside any discussion of our ‎path from then until now. Suffice to say that whatever our politics, all of us in ESRA share a ‎love for Israel, and we care deeply about the future of our country and its citizens.

And what ‎better way to show that love, than to volunteer for an organization that does so much for the ‎future of our children. ESRA’s projects are designed to help the recipients help themselves. ‎By helping our children succeed in their education, we empower them to become self-‎sufficient and productive citizens. By working in the neediest areas, we help children develop ‎worthwhile values and keep out of trouble. These are not idle slogans. Due to ESRA projects, ‎real change has occurred in the fabric and character of these communities, change that has ‎been noted and acclaimed on many levels. Students Build a Community continues to be our ‎flagship project, and it is our fervent wish to be able to bring this project to other communities ‎in need. The key is having the volunteers to help run it and the local bodies to partner with us.  ‎

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” ‎ -  Stephen R. Covey, American author

Our Campaign this year is dedicated to the theme, Embracing Differences. Not only do our ‎members and volunteers come from many English-speaking countries, but we assist those who made Aliyah from ‎diverse countries with cultures that are entirely different from those we grew up in.

But we ‎are all Israelis, whether we speak Amharic, Hebrew, English, or any other language, and we ‎share a common future. In large part, that future will be determined by the education of our ‎children. That is the very good reason so many of ESRA's projects focus on education. ‎

ESRA’s volunteering spirit is personified by Janet Kiesari, our Southern Regional ‎Coordinator. Although recently hospitalized and still recovering from illness, she insisted on ‎attending the regional meeting in Modiin, and as branch chair of Rishon Lezion, she has been ‎in constant contact regarding the branch's two projects. The Rishon projects are great examples of what can be established locally by ESRA branches, especially the ‎Darbuka (hand-held drum) Club, teaching children from distressed backgrounds about rhythm ‎and allowing them to bang out their frustrations! This project ‎is totally supported by the ‎Rishon branch. The second project provides scholarships to students in exchange for their ‎mentoring children at risk; this project is run in association with Aharei (‎אחריי‎), a social ‎educational organization that develops young leadership and promotes social involvement ‎among youth from development towns, absorption centers, boarding schools, and shelters. ‎Kudos to the Rishon branch.‎

Another super volunteer, Annette Bode, a previous long-standing member of the Executive, ‎developed and ran our database for many years. She has now decided that she wants to spend ‎more time with family. We would like to say how much we appreciate her years of active, and ‎often single-handed updating of the database. Thank you, Annette. ‎

It is amazing to note that in two years we will be celebrating ESRA's 40th Anniversary. The ‎occasion will be marked with an event worthy of our organization, our volunteers, our ‎members, and our Life President and Founder, Merle Guttmann. ‎

ESRA is managed and run by volunteers together with a small, dedicated professional staff ‎now led by our energetic General Manager, Sunny Marshansky, who not only ensures getting through the day-‎to-day work, but keeps things running with an eye on future development. Our Executive Committee was elected at the recent AGM - together with all the other dedicated volunteers ‎working in the branches and nationally, they will run ESRA for the coming year. A short report and ‎details of the new Executive can be found on this link. ‎
With warm regards and wishing you all interesting and entertaining activities, satisfying ‎volunteering, and an enjoyable and cool summer.‎ ‎

Baruch Tanaman