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 2014

ESRA's 2014 VOLUNTEER AWARDS CEREMONY took place on Thursday 4 December 2014 at Mifal Hapayis, Hachayil St. in Raanana.

Introductions were made by ESRA Chair Brenda Katten, ESRA Life President Merle Guttmann and Mayor of Raanana, Ze'ev Bielski. The audience was entertained after the ceremony by the 'Chord-ially Yours' A Capella Ensemble.

2014_rika_adler.jpgRIKA ADLER 
was born in Israel in 1951, lives in Kfar Saba. Married to Meir with three daughters and three grandchildren.  Rika worked worked as a teacher for 14 years and then for 20 years as a teacher for adult immigrants in Ra’anana. She has adopted immigrant families and volunteers at “Bayit shel Benji” in Ra’anana.  Rika says “For my soul, I did challenge sports in “Etgarim” for 10 years such as rappelling, skiing and sailing"
 
For the past four years, Rika has been a volunteer in the ESRA Shop in Ra’anana. In spite of being dependent on the use of a walker, she collects parcels of goods for sale in the shop.  At times these parcels are large and heavy.  She goes to addresses in Ra’anana, Kfar Saba, Ramat Hasharon, Kfar Shmarayahu, and even as far as Tel Aviv.  Nothing is too much for her, she does it with all her heart, and she is always smiling and cheerful.  If she is not well, her husband Meir assists her, and they describe their involvement as “a family affair”.  Her Manager describes her as an amazing person, who is very well-informed and an excellent conversationalist, and she is much loved by all the staff in the shop.

2014_flori.jpgFLORI COHEN   was born in Shanghai, China, where she grew up, married and gave birth to her eldest child.  After the Communist takeover of China in 1949, life became extremely difficult for foreign nationals, and, being British citizens, the family emigrated to London in 1951.  They lived there for five years, and their eldest daughter was born in London. The family made aliyah in 1956, and two other children were born in Israel.
 
Flori worked as Managerial Assistant for two very large Israeli companies for over 50 years.
 
Being on her own, she moved to be closer to one of her children in Modi’in in 2007. Since the inception of ESRA Modi’in in 2009, she has been involved in a very broad range of activities, from media relations to business support. She is a key member, a major asset and an untiring ambassador for ESRA and its activities.  She is described as being “immensely energetic, conscientious, enthusiastic, accomplished and creative”.  Among her many activities are:  “window-dressing” the Ethiopian craft cabinet, shouldering the burden of set-up and clean-up for events, maintaining relationships with the press in Hebrew and English, and is a frequent and generous supporter of Neve Esra, the ESRA afternoon care centre for kids at risk.  

2014_lucille.jpgLUCILLE EDELMAN   was born in Cape Town, studied at UCT and made aliyah in 1973. Lives in Rehovot, with her husband Benny (also an ESRA volunteer).  They have three daughters and five grandchildren.  Lucille is a retired Hospital Social Worker.   She states that her life is filled with grandchild-minding, bridge, travelling, attending lectures, reading and volunteering.
 
Lucille has been an active member of the ESRA Rehovot Board since the inception of the branch.  Her pet project is the Moadonit, which provides after school programs for disadvantaged and problem elementary children.  Over the years she has spent countless hours visiting them to assess how ESRA can help, buying needed items for their premises, such as furniture and computers, and communicating and consulting with the social workers involved.  She has helped to create a warm, homely atmosphere, and helped the children to value and respect their “home” and to treat the purchases with great care.  She brings her professional training and experience to her volunteering for ESRA, thereby making a major contribution.
 
Some activities are: the initiation of a garden in Kiryat Moshe (an underprivileged neighbourhood in Rehovot) to encourage “garden therapy”; the collection of clothing for those inadequately dressed; the rehabilitation of a traditional Ethiopian hut used as a tool for communication between troubled and disconnected youth and their parents and organization of a trip for ESRA and a donation to the Rehovot agricultural farm.

2014_brian.jpgBRIAN FINK  and his wife Natalie Wood (he says “no, not that one!) made aliyah in 2010 from Manchester and now live in Karmiel in the lower Galilee. They moved to Israel upon Brian’s retirement as a bookseller and publisher’s agent. He writes a monthly piece on Israeli life for the magazine of their former synagogue in Manchester, which awarded both of them Life Membership upon their aliyah for their work there.
 
Brian is a founder member of the ESRA Karmiel Committee. He attends regularly and contributes to the monthly meetings with ideas and practical help.  He also acts as Minutes secretary. He assists with setting up the room and clearing up afterwards at events and activities.
 
He initiated the Annual Quiz, which he has been running for over 4 years, each time bringing in larger audiences.  He devises the questions and acts as Quizmaster. Most recently he organized a Car Treasure Hunt, which will hopefully become an annual event.
 
He also volunteers with English speaking High School students in Karmiel and is volunteering at the Karmiel Children’s Village, for which ESRA Karmiel Branch raises funds.

2014_marion.jpgMARION FREDMAN   (nee Rubenstein) was born in Johannesburg, married Gerald Fredman in 1954 and came on aliyah in 1959 with an 11 month old son, Danny, and settled in Haifa.  Two more children were born in Israel.  Danny was a fighter pilot and was killed while still serving in the airforce in 1983. In 2000 they moved to Zichron and Gerald died shortly thereafter.
 
Marion is a speech therapist. (B.A. and M.A. Wits. and PhD. Bar Ilan).  Before retirement she was in charge of speech therapists at the Hanna Khoushy Child Development at Bnei Zion Hospital in Haifa.  She continued to work privately and was very active in IALP (International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics) as Chair of the Multilingual Affairs Committee.
 
Marion joined ESRA in 2006 and took on the task of selling Ethiopian handicrafts from her home.  Since the opening of the bookshop in 2008, she has been a keen and dedicated supporter of the project.  She became one of its two co-managers, and has taken the responsibility of organizing the roster of workers, which she continues to do, even since the bookshop relocated to Binyamina.  She invariably covers for those on holiday or who are unavailable, and sorts out donations, which are dumped in bags or boxes.
 
Marion states that “keeping the bookshop running smoothly is my main contribution to ESRA and to the community”.

2014_geeta.jpgGEETA GARIBY  was born in Sydney and emigrated to Israel in 1966.  Geeta married her Israeli husband, Shimon, in 1971. They have four children and six grandchildren, all living in Israel.
 
Geeta worked with the management of the Military Industries and later with the Director General of the Weizmann Institute. In 1987 Geeta joined the Sharon Hotel, Herzliya, working directly with the owner, the late Sir Bernard Schreier and his representative. She became the Business Department Manager there until her retirement in 2003.
 
Geeta joined ESRA in 2003 where she worked in the office and in magazine distribution.  She also volunteers as a Befriender for ESRA.

2014_joe.jpgJOE GOLDBERG    was born in Melbourne, Australia and made aliyah with his wife Chana and three children from Perth in 1972.  Their three children are married and there are eight grandchildren (one married) and all living in Israel. Joe retired from Dentistry in 1989.
 
He has been involved in ESRA since its inception, previously mainly with the distribution of magazines.  For the past 11 years, Joe has been a “permanent volunteer” in the Gan Rashal office doing “computer work” (in his words).  Probably a more accurate description of his contribution comes from the staff in the Gan Rashal office.  He is in the office any time from 5.30 am.  He volunteers in the accounts department with receipting of activities, campaigns and database input.  He issues membership cards and helps with magazine distribution.  No job is too large or too small for Joe.  He works independently and stays until his work is completed, and even takes work home when there are large mailings, spending hours filling envelopes.
 
Joe states that ESRA offers a great deal to the English speakers and after retirement voluntary work in many ways is a lifesaver and almost all the volunteers love their work and are appreciative of having it.

2014_cecily.jpgCECILY HANSON    was born in Cape Town, is married to Avron, and they have lived in Israel for 45 years. Their home is in Kfar Saba and they have three children and four grandsons.  Cecily is a retired music therapist, and has worked with severely handicapped, non-verbal children and youth.
 
Cecily has been a member of ESRA for 25 years and actively involved for about 20 years.  She led the ESRA Garden Club until it ceased activities 5 years ago, and she received an ESRA volunteer award in 2004 for this contribution.  She has long been a member of the Ra’anana and Kfar Saba committees. She has worked on the Ethiopian Embroidery Project for a number of years. 
 
Since joining the Programme Committee some years ago, Cecily has suggested ideas for travel, organized and planned day trips and led them.  The trips are most successful and popular and are invariably sold out, with a waiting list.  She spends countless hours on the travel programme, carefully researching and preparing each itinerary. She is appreciative of the help and backup from the staff and volunteers at Beit Fisher.


2014_leslie.jpgLESLIE HENAN    was born in Bethal, South Africa and came on aliyah at the age of 13 years in 1969, with his mother and brother, Jonathan. He is married to Brenda and they have three children. Their home is in Neve Amirim in Herzliya.  Leslie was an Attorney and Notary and was in full time practice for 24 years.
 
Although Leslie suffered an aneurism several years ago he has made great strides in his recovery process and today is an asset to ESRA in many areas.
 
He has been volunteering with ESRA’s Kfar Shmaryahu Handicapped Group for over three years, where he is greatly appreciated.  Leslie rides to the center with one of the special cars taking the young participants. He has become an integral part of the group’s activities and has given many hours of dedicated volunteering in the group. The youngsters love him, he keeps in contact with them throughout the week on Facebook and never misses a week if he can possibly help it. He also volunteers once a week for ESRA in Ramat Hasharon, helping pupils to prepare for their oral Bagrut exam.

2014_sam.jpgSAMUEL KIRSCH   Sam Kirsch was born and grew up in South Africa. He is married to Denise and they have three children and four grandchildren. The family made aliyah in 1977 and have lived in Ra’anana since 1978.
 
Sam is a qualified chartered accountant, and has also completed the Costs and Works Examination and the Israeli CPA. Earlier this year, Sam received a Municipal Ra’anana Award for Volunteerism.
 
He has been volunteering on the ESRA Control Committee for the past seven years.  The Registrar of Amutot in Israel requires that a Control Committee certifies that business is conducted in terms of an Amuta’s constitution and recommends adoption of the Annual Financial Statements.  Sam has performed many audits of the various activities of ESRA and recommended changes and improvements that have contributed to making our organization more secure and efficient.  He performs these tasks with energy and responsibility.  He has regularly been attending meetings of the Finance and Executive Committees over this entire period.

2014_bernice.jpgBERNICE MYERS is single, and came on aliyah to Israel in 1964. She studied occupational therapy in Jerusalem and has spent most of her professional years working in the field of pediatrics. She retired in 2007.

For over five years Geeta and Bernice have worked as a team, complementing each other, and have been responsible for the administration of the  distribution of the ESRA magazine in the central area. The process is long and complicated and entails many, many hours of intricate and tedious communication with the magazine packers, bundle deliverers and distributors. They spend hours sending e-mails and making phone calls; they prepare thousands of labels and lists for packers, and on packing day they work extremely hard. They oversee the whole project, five times a year, and are involved in all the aspects, from dividing the premises according to areas to physically carrying magazines. They have developed personal relationships with many of the magazine team, and their attitude draws other volunteers to return. The work is exhausting and sometimes frustrating but they manage to run it efficiently and find means of overcoming obstacles


2014_jack.jpgJACK RABINOWITZ and his wife Esther made aliya from Manchester in 1983, and have lived in Ra’anana since then.  They have three children, all married.  Two of their children are in Israel and the third is hopefully making aliyah in 2015.   Jack worked as a dentist in Hadera for 16 years, before retiring in 2000.  Esther has volunteered in the ESRA bookshop, since its inception.
 
Jack took over the mid-week hiking group 15 years ago and he ran it for over 10 years.  It is an important activity for those who do not travel on Shabbat, and who want to make new friends and have healthy exercise.  He still walks with the group.

 
Jack organised seven hikes per year, with an average of thirty participants per hike.  His patience and kindness are legendary.  He showed understanding to those who found it difficult and was firm and encouraging with those who preferred a faster pace. 
 
Jack’s dedication and commitment to the group were remarkable, and Lawrence Bertfield, who has succeeded Jack, describes him as “a Mensch in all aspects”.



2014_jean.jpgJEAN ULLMAN
    came to Israel from South Africa in 1978 with her husband Max, who is now deceased, and four children. She currently lives in Kfar Saba. 
 
Jean has been an active member of ESRA for the past five years. She has taken the responsibility of being the co-ordinator for the very successful Kfar Saba/Hod Hasharon Open House programme.   This involves calling, e-mailing and setting up dates with prospective speakers and presenters.  It also entails ensuring that the facility is properly prepared for the speakers and that all runs smoothly.  She has brought many very interesting speakers to this programme.
 
Jean also transports other ladies to the bi-monthly ESRA magazine packing, and she participates in that activity. She also participates in the ESRA English tutoring project as well as teaches Mahjong.  She is always ready to assist the Branch activities in whatever other ways are needed.  


2014_audrey_goodman.jpgAUDREY GOODMAN  ז''ל   -   ESRA SPECIAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEERING:  2014
 
The decision to give Audrey Goodman ESRA’s Special Award for Outstanding Volunteering was made several months before her sudden and untimely death a short month ago. When she was advised that she was to be the recipient of this award, her response was characteristically modest. She wrote:
‘I was so surprised to receive your email from the office that I am speechless.  Thank you very much for your very kind letter and the honour of a special award’.
 
Audrey, a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, came on aliyah from Columbus Ohio in 1969, with her husband, Richard, and their three sons, Jeffrey, Daniel and David.
 
While their sons were at school, Audrey worked for Keren HaYishuv (the Rothschild Foundation) and for the Department of Family Medicine at Tel Aviv University.  She was also part of the team to establish the Open University.
 
After her husband passed away, Audrey continued to be a source of inspiration and strength to her family. She was the proud grandmother of 13 grandchildren and great-grandmother to 4 great-grandchildren.  
 
In the early 1990s Audrey attended the ESRA programmes at Beit Malinov, which were organised by Hazel Cameron, and she also volunteered as an English tutor at a Ramat Hasharon elementary school.  When Hazel retired, Audrey stepped in to organise and expand the lecture series and inaugurate end-of-year parties to honour local volunteers.
 
During the 1990s, she served with Adele Hunter as co-chairperson of ESRA, and she also served as chairperson. 
 
From that time and until this year, Audrey was a member of the executive committee of ESRA, and of the magazine editorial board, as well as being the co-ordinator of the cultural programmes and chairperson of the programme committee.
 
For many years she was the chairperson of the ESRA Branch Forum, but with the expansion of the branches into regions in 2012, that position fell away.
 
Audrey was someone with a great spirit of innovativeness. In March 2005, she started the ESRA Cinema Club which has shown many outstanding films over the years. It has been an extremely popular activity, always supported by packed audiences.
 
In 2006, she helped to establish the ESRA - Moadon Hazahav English-speaking College in Ra’anana.  This has become a thriving and hugely popular activity which draws large and enthusiastic crowds on Monday mornings.
 
Audrey’s constant goal was to bring to English speakers a variety and a high level of English programmes.  She succeeded in achieving this goal to a remarkable extent.
 
She brought the activity of volunteering to a new and greatly elevated standard and status, and was a major and highly valued asset to ESRA.  She was held in the highest esteem by all and her presence will be sorely missed.