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 2010


Ros & Henry Ben Ezra

Australians, Ros and Henry married in 1967 on Israel Independence Day, immediately  coming to volunteer in Israel  during the Six Day War, staying on  for a couple of years as teachers in Nahariya.

Back in Australia they completed their studies and started a family, making aliya in 1974, Both worked in their profession as High School teachers until their retirement. Now, they divide their time between six grandchildren, gardening, gym, quilting (Ros), carpentry (Henry) and volunteering for ESRA.

They work together in ESRA's Right-Track Centers in Netanya.

Ros also organizes the 'English Without Borders' tutoring program, a joint venture between ESRA and AACI where volunteers are placed in Netanya schools to help pupils with their conversational English. Henry is chairman of ESRA branch in Netanya.

Annette Bode

Annette was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and made aliya in 1971 with her husband, Morris, and 3 daughters. She lives in Tel Aviv and has 5 grandchildren.

Annette was administrative assistant to a UNDP project for improving and developing computer professionals and was captivated by the field of systems analysis.  She became a programmer and systems analyst in 1978 and worked for many different organizations.

Since retiring, Annette has volunteered her professional knowledge to help create and maintain database systems for many organizations including ESRA.

 
Shuka Harel

Shuka was born in Israel and educated at the Tel Aviv University receiving both a BA Economics, an MBA and graduated Bank Hapoalim’s Managers' Training course.

He has 30 years of experience as V.P. & C.F.O  in leading private and public companies, in the fields of: industry, communications and hi-tech, and also served as a senior management member, and controlled groups of employees of various sizes. Shuka completed his army service as a Major (retired) and was Communication Chief Officer of an armored brigade. He joined ESRA as a Treasurer 4 years ago and devotes many hours to the organization

 
Susan Kurnedtz

Susan grew up in Manchester., England, where she volunteered in the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for eighteen years and later with the Probation and Aftercare Service helping battered wives and other disadvantaged people.

After completing DSS tribunals Susan became a magistrate, a position she held for 20 years.  She is a founder member of Care Concern, a bereavement support group where she trained as a counselor.

Susan and Pincus made aliya 4 years ago to join their children in Israel. She was introduced to ESRA on an ESRA trip to the Dead Sea.  Susan initiated  a support and counseling project which she developed and has coordinated with great success for the last three years.  The group today has 14 counselors who have helped dozens of individuals.

 
Freda Lanesman (Recipient of  Raanana 'Alan Katz Trophy')

Freda and her husband Ralph made aliya from Pretoria, South Africa in June 1980. Whilst still at the Mercaz Klita in Raanana they attended an ESRA meeting and became long standing volunteers, starting with delivering magazines in Raanana.  When the Russian immigration began Freda helped first in the shop in the miklat in Bar Ilan Street as well as taking requests for assistance by needy Russian immigrants. Freda has been a volunteer in the Raanana office for many years and was ESRA Raanana Branch's first chairperson.


Aliza Marks

Born in Wynberg, Capetown, Aliza joined the Zionist youth movement at age 10, the beginning of a life-long relationship. On leaving school, she joined the staff of the local Zionist Office and became editor of a youth magazine which was designed to maintain contact with young Jews who lived in small communities far from the cities. Readers would write to her (and every letter was answered) and take part in the competitions; many of those readers live in Israel today.

In 1956 Aliza and her late husband David, came on aliya and settled on a small moshav 5 kms north of Netanya where they both took active part in their community. In 1995 Aliza joined the ESRA Ethiopian Embroidery Project and spent 14 years helping make it the success that it is today. For the last 2 years she has single-handedly coordinated the running of the shop in Netanya.


Aggie van Der Laan

Aggie van Der Laan was born in Hungary and is a Holocaust Survivor.  She lived in the United States and Brazil before making aliya.  A retired hotel professional and volunteer community worker, Aggie joined ESRA Tel Aviv 12 years ago and is a Tel Aviv Branch committee member, events coordinator and organizes the lectures and museum visits. Aggie is also a member of ESRA's Program Committee.

 
Hannah Wende

Hannah and Les made Aliya 31 years ago from Australia, with 5 of their 6 children.

Although a maths and science teacher Hannah became a full time Mum, and enjoyed gardening which prepared her for her venture in Israel. They had intended to be semi-retired after making aliya, and use their expertise for growing plants suitable for Israel's soil and climate conditions. This venture took off after a number of years and resulted in a very large and diverse nursery. In time they handed over the running of the nursery to their son.  She then formed HANNAH'S ESRA NURSERY and volunteers were found to help there. Although the nursery has now closed, Hannah together with a volunteer, continues to grow and develop plants.

 
Ruth Wood

Ruth was born and grew up in Liverpool, England. Her first teenage taste of volunteering was with the Jewish Youth Voluntary Service, painting the homes of clients of the social services, and with the 35's in which her mother was active. After university she moved to London where she qualified as a chartered accountant and married Francis.

Ruth and Francis made aliya in 1982. Ruth worked for many years in various financial positions during which time their 2 girls and son were born. Whilst taking a break from work in 2004 she became active in ESRA, coordinating the volunteer English tutoring in Raanana and giving invaluable assistance to the Volunteer Division. She also jointly founded and developed the ESRAlist.