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.

Volunteer Awards 2008

Tuesday October 28, 2008 at Kibbutz Shefayim Auditorium

ESRA at thirty is a remarkable organization. It began as a group of English-speaking new immigrants who sought the ease and familiarity of socializing with other English speakers. It has grown into a registered charitable organization which presents to the public a rich array of social, cultural and educational activities and services as well as over thirty projects in the community for those new olim and veteran Israelis in need of support.

The secret of ESRA’s growth and development lies in the quality of its volunteers. ESRA volunteers are hands-on, hard working, innovative and intelligent. They speak with a broad array of accents, mainly in English, sometimes in Hebrew, and often in a mixture of the two. They have ideas and the willingness to act on these ideas, and there is an underlying respect for the individual and a system of support that enables the volunteer to develop his and her interests and pursue individual passions.

Tonight’s Honorees exemplify the diversity of backgrounds, talents and interests of ESRA volunteers. These men and women come from seven different countries and have a wide range of professions and work experiences. They contribute to different areas of ESRA. In several respects, however, they are very similar. They have all demonstrated dedicated and long-term leadership in ESRA and have made significant contributions for positive change in the organization and in the community.

ESRA’s unique strength lies in its willingness to embrace this rich cornucopia of dedicated and exemplary volunteers.

Debby Lieberman, Chairperson of ESRA

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Phyllis Bloch  

Phyllis’s first Aliya was in 1976 from the United States to Jerusalem. She was employed by Israel Television Children’s Department until 1982 when her husband was sent to the Israel Embassy in Washington. They returned in 1989 and settled in the Sharon area.
Phyllis has been the Coordinator and developer of ESRA’s Ethiopian Embroidery Project since its inception in 1993. Phyllis served as Vice-chairman of ESRA and on many varied ESRA committees. She has participated in many Community Projects in Kfar Saba and is a member of the Volunteer Umbrella Organization and a board member of Melo Ha Tene, Food for the Hungry Project in the community.   Phyllis was awarded the Geller Prize for volunteering in Kfar Saba, and the Jewish Agency Yakir Klita award, presented at the President’s house in Jerusalem.



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Frankie and Mike Cronin

Frankie and Mike made Aliya from England in 1977 to Herzliya, moving to Ra’anana in 1995. Mike is a Civil Engineer and has worked on such projects as the Hadera Power Station and the new Ben Gurion Airport. He was the Tel Aviv University engineer for 8 years, and most recently has been working with the team planning the new Tel Aviv Mass Transit System. Frankie is a pharmacist, having been a familiar face at the Golan Centre Pharmacy for many years. They have three children and four grandchildren.

Frankie and Mike were among the 250 English speakers who came to the first of Merle’s meetings to organize ESRA. This began a lifelong involvement with ESRA. In 1981 Mike organized a Bicycle Safety campaign and a Road Safety Survey in Herzliya; he helped organize the ESRA Conferences for 60 Plus and Volunteering, the early Supper Quizzes, and served as Chairman of ESRA in 1986-7. Frankie and Mike started the Hiking Club 13 years ago and recently organized three Sponsored Hikes to raise money for ESRA’s Community Projects.

Frankie helped establish the volunteer distribution system for the Magazine and has made sure that ESRA’s database has kept pace with the computer age. She has managed the ‘esra.org’ website for the last 8 years and edits the Monthly Bulletin. Mike and Frankie have been distributors of the ESRA Magazine since its first edition.



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Teddy Edelstein

Teddy was born in Rouxville, Orange Free State and received his medical education and specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology in South Africa, as well as rich experience in volunteering. In 1974, Teddy, together with his wife Marsha and three children, made Aliya, eventually settling in Ra’anana. Teddy became Head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Poria Hospital and later became the “Chief” of Gynecological Oncology at the Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah. Teddy was introduced to ESRA, was “extremely impressed with the activities and workings of ESRA” and became an active member.

He was involved in fund raising and organized many film premieres, barbecues, casinos, musical interludes and fetes. He chaired the Fund Raising Committee of ESRA and has remained a member of the present Fund Raising Committee.



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Renee and Michael Goldway

Michael was born in Lodz, Poland and studied Electronic Engineering in France, graduating in 1939. He joined the French Army, was captured and made a prisoner, escaped and in 1942 reached England. He joined the Army, and settled in England after the war. Michael made Aliya in 1951 where he taught in the Air Force and was sent on missions to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He then began working for the United Nations in UNESCO and ILO and worked for 17 years in Latin America. Michael retired from the UN in 1979 and returned to Israel and to active volunteering in ESRA.

Renee was born in Cairo, Egypt and made Aliya in 1949. She left Israel to join Michael in Latin America and returned with him to Israel in 1979. Renee was Chairperson of the Ramat Hasharon Branch of ESRA, served as Chairperson of ESRA from 1992-3 and encouraged new immigrant musicians from the Former USSR by organizing fund-raising concerts for them. Together, Michael and Renee established the first ESRA College, in Ra’anana, and the ESRA Travel Club with tours all over the world.



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Audrey Goodman

Audrey Goodman made Aliya in 1969 from Columbus, Ohio with her late husband Richard and their three sons. While her sons were in school, Audrey worked for the Rothschild Foundation, the Department of Family Medicine at Tel Aviv University, and was part of the team to establish the Open University.
Audrey’s volunteer work in ESRA includes serving as the Coordinator of the Beit Malinov Lecture Series in Ramat Hasharon, serving as Co-chair of ESRA and then as Chairperson. Audrey continues as the Coordinator of Cultural Activities and Chair of the Program Committee, as well as Chair of the Branches. Three years ago Audrey began the ESRA Cinema Club, and last year she helped establish the ESRA-Moadon Ha Zahav English Speaking College of Ra’anana. Audrey is the proud grandmother of 13 grandchildren.



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Adele Hunter

Adele Hunter grew up in Swansea, a small Jewish community in South Wales, UK where she became involved in Jewish and Zionistic organizations. Before making Aliya she was active in the 35’s women’s campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1980 Adele, husband Michael and their three children made Aliya and settled in Ra’anana. After working in Tel Hashomer Hospital and Beit Hatefutsoth, Adele then volunteered in ESRA and has been actively involved in all aspects of the organization. She served for two years as co-chairperson of ESRA and for 4 years as co-vice chairperson. From the beginning, her main involvement has been as coordinator of the Welfare Fund. Adele is also an active member of the Fundraising, Charity Shops, Finance and Ra’anana Committees. She has served as a member of the Executive Committee for 13 years. Adele has been actively involved in organizing to-day’s Festival. She and Michael have 8 grandchildren.


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Freda and Ralph Lanesman

Freda and Ralph Lanesman made Aliya from South Africa in 1980 and settled in Ra’anana. They both joined ESRA soon after their arrival. Freda worked with the Russian immigrants when they arrived in 1992, helping them with the details of immigration and working in the shop on Bar Ilan Street which she co-managed. Freda was the first chairperson of the Ra’anana branch committee and served as its chairperson or co-chairperson for 12 years. She is a member of the Ra’anana Group and of various committees in ESRA. Freda has worked in the Ra’anana office for many years and “still continues to be of assistance whenever required.”

Ralph qualified as a chartered accountant in South Africa, taking time out to serve with Machal during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948-49. From the inception of the ESRA Community Fund, Ralph served in the financial, administration and management capacity and attended to its accounting matters. Subsequently he was elected to the Control Committee where he still serves.


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Robert Langbart

Robert was born in Johannesburg, studied there and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa. Robert, together with his wife Rosslyn and two young children, made Aliya to Israel in 1962. After attending Ulpan in Dora, Netanya, the family settled in Ramat Hasharon where their third child was born. Robert served in the IDF during the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, and in the reserves until reaching the age limit. In the private sector he served on the Executive of Danish Interiors and Chief Financial Officer of Comasco Ltd. where he maintains a seat on the board of Directors even after retirement. Since his retirement in 1997, Robert has been an active volunteer with ESRA, serving as Treasurer and as Chairperson of the Finance Committee, a position he continues to hold.



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Noah Margalit

Noah Margalit, originally named Violet, was born in England to German refugee parents who were on their way to the United States. After finishing University, travelling in Europe, and teaching in Switzerland, she went to Israel “just to see”. In 1964 she returned to settle in Israel where she taught at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, studied for another degree at Tel Aviv University, and met and married a “vatik” sixth generation Israeli. They began raising their two children and Violet became “Noah”. She taught at the Alliance school until she retired, and then, by chance and good fortune, she met Adele Rubin and was introduced to ESRA. Noah has served as Co-chairperson of the Steering Committee, has been a member of the Executive Committee, founded the Tel Aviv Branch of ESRA and became its first Chairperson. Today Noah volunteers and tutors Ethiopian students at Bar Ilan University, coordinates ESRA’s Tel Aviv Bible Study Group and the Tel Aviv Short Story Discussion Group, and packs and delivers the ESRA Magazine.


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Rika Meyerowitz

Rika was born in Ficksburg in the Orange Free State, South Africa. A teacher by profession, she came on Aliya in 1969. In Israel, Rika gave up teaching and went into the fashion business, promoting the sale of Israeli products to major stores in Europe and the USA.

Rika began volunteering in ESRA when the large Russian Aliya started and she helped to collect and pack needed items for the new immigrants. In 1998 she took over the distribution of the ESRA Magazine, a job that she continues to be responsible for until today. She was Chairperson of the Herzliya Branch and volunteered at the Techushon until she moved to Netanya. In 2003 Rika, together with three other Netanya women, organized the Hand in Hand Food Pantry which collects, packs, and delivers food parcels once a month to needy families in Netanya. She and her husband also collect and deliver goods from Netanya to the ESRA Charity Shop in Ra’anana. The Netanya Music Evenings were started by Rika and these evenings are hosted in the Meyerowitz home with Barbara Blum presenting the programs. Rika is married to Willy and they have three married children and six grandchildren.




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Adele Rubin

Adele came to Israel from Capetown, South Africa in 1951 and married here in 1954. She and Mike have two children, a son plus three in New York and a daughter plus two in Israel. Mike is from the United States and came to Israel with Machal. Adele’s work with bereaved families during the Yom Kippur War led her to leave teaching and become the Volunteer Coordinator of the Herzliya Municipality from 1978-1985. Adele became the Coordinator of Volunteers on the Steering Committee of ESRA from 1985 and one of the first Coordinators of the Branches. Adele served as Chairwoman of ESRA from 1994-96. In order to deal with ESRA’s continuing growth and expansion, she has recently organized the new Volunteer Division which deals with all aspects of ESRA volunteering. Adele currently serves as the Coordinator of ESRA’s Volunteer Division.



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Joseph (Josie) Shlain

Josie was an active member of the Zionist Socialist Party in his native South Africa, and he was the founder of the Dror Youth Movement. In 1948, at the outbreak of the War of Independence, he came to Israel as a Machal volunteer. In the initial years he was active in the creation of the Hachshara Center, Beth Chever and the Moshav Shitufi Kfar Daniel. He is a qualified auditor/accountant by profession as well as a registered Real Estate Broker and Insurance Agent. Josie cites as his major achievement, his marriage to a wonderful immigrant from England, and his two children and nine grandchildren, all of whom are in Israel. The Jewish Agency called on him in 1961 to head the Department of English Speaking Immigrants. He later set up his private business, which dealt in the main with promotion of Business and Investments in Israel. For more than 30 years he was involved in volunteer activities of TELFED.

In January 1984 he moved to Herzliya and from that moment ESRA became an integral part of his life. Irrespective of the posts he held he was always involved in the organizational aspects of ESRA. He has served as Chairperson of ESRA, Treasurer, Business Administrator of the ESRA Magazine, and several times as Chairman of the Finance and the Administration Committees.



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Richard Stein

Richard was born and educated in Dublin and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1969. He came on Aliya in 1977. Richard is married to Rena, they have three children, and he is now the proud grandfather of one grandchild.

Richard has been involved with ESRA for the past 10 years, serving as Chairman from 2001 to 2005. At present he is the Chairman of the Fundraising Committee and is very committed to the Social Services side of ESRA.