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From the Editor 218

I'm excited to welcome our new Executive and our new Chairperson, Nella Feldsher, who stresses the importance of unity within our ESRA community of people from various backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. Writes Nella: "By celebrating our diversity and embracing the strength it brings, we can create a harmonious environment where everyone feels valued and heard, but also actively considered in the decision-making." She sees ESRA as a platform for growth, personal development, and community enrichment. For the first time in eight years we have at our head a woman and women have qualities, intuition and sensitivity, which will benefit all in ESRA. Also exciting is that Nella is from the former USSR, showing how ESRA opens its arms not only to English speakers but to others who want to embrace us. Amongst the members of our new Executive are native-born Israelis, something ESRA has dreamed of for long years, bringing into our midst Israelis. We wish Nella and our Executive a challenging, fulfilling and fun time in revitalizing and rejuvenating ESRA.

With this promising future we augur the new year. Thank you for your new year greetings and good wishes which cheered our hearts. Galia Miller Sprung's poignant memories of Rosh Hashanah 1972, two days after the tragic massacre of 12 Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, is so close to the bone, to the dichotic situation of Israel today. "True to Israeli life," writes Sprung, "the juxtaposition of this tragedy with the joy of Rosh Hashanah two days later was a challenge." So too, must we face our sad Israel today as a challenge. Our past is part of our future. This is brought into focus by Pessy Krausz in her story of her Uncle Leo, who, at thirty-three, was the youngest State Prosecutor Berlin ever had, until removed by Nazi edict from public office. And whose new bride was murdered in the Holocaust. Encouraged by Robert Manewith's story, may the blowing of the shofar this year during the high holidays bless and heal Israel.

Whilst dwelling on Israel's history, read Ilana Greenberg Kraus' story about the real Exodus 1947, the plight of Holocaust survivors attempting to reach the shores of Palestine, her mother being one of them. Read also Lydia Aisenberg's account of the Japanese Red Army attack on Ben Gurion airport in 1972 when 26 Israeli and foreign passengers were brutally murdered and 80 injured. Another Aisenberg story, on how destruction from the Syrian-Israel wars can blossom into something positive, is the new Pereh Hotel on the Golan Heights, once a French outpost. The Bauhaus buildings have been renovated in a multi-million-dollar development by Israeli businessman and former defense and security consultant, Leo Glazer. Lest we forget Israel's outskirts, Siri Jones-Rosen wrote an engaging story of Eilat in the 1980s - 90s when she and her husband were members of Eilat's Civil Defense. A great feature of Israel, how volunteers protect us against infiltrators and terrorists. They had obsolete guns and no shooting range to practice.

There are wonderful artists. Steffa Reis, aged 92, who fled from Nazi Germany as a child, is still painting, and has a rich and prolific history as an artist. Sam Halabi is an Israeli-Druze artist of many colors. His work is mind-boggling, beautiful and original, and it is worth visiting the House of Colors on Dalia al-Carmel to see the 35-year-old's drip paintings and to meet him, the humorous creator of them. At Kibbutz Ein Carmel, Dagan Shklovsky, in 1992 walked away from his computer science at the Technion and dedicated his life to the spirit. He dragged a 6-ton stone of basalt from behind the cow shed to his yard in Kibbutz Merchavia, where he was born in 1965. Since then, he has devoted his life to sculpting with passion outstanding sculptures displayed in his Garden of Sculptures. Art of another sort and scale, the Tiberias | Jordan Valley Knitting Club is clicking its needles with vigor making teddy bears for children with chronic illnesses, as well as items for babies in maternity wards and blankets and covers for catheter bags for old people.

We are proud to have initiated this year too a Young Writers Competition in English for 8th, 9th and 10th graders. You can read about the 12 winners, the schools they study at and their native languages. And also about some of the English teachers who encouraged their students to participate in ESRA Magazine's 2023 competition.

Collections of various sorts absorb their collectors. Isabel Berman shows us her fascinating collection of bells, which started out when she was given her first bell because of her name. Why not share your collection with us for future publication?

Anna Bondar, found the tools to help Ukraine, her country at war, via IsraAid. IsraAID is Israel's leading international humanitarian NGO which had been responding to the Ukraine crisis. It always responds to overseas crises, showing how Israelis help countries which suffer huge environmental or other tragedies.

For people interested in health, read Dr. Goldkorn's tips on how to keep your heart healthy; David Fellerman's close encounter with open heart surgery; Machon Dvir's mental health care for Anglos; and Dr. Morton Leibowitz's moving story of Promises Kept.

Enjoy our recipes for the chagim, wine story, book reviews, poems, bridge advice, crossword, ESRA events and social clubs.

Happy New Year and thank you for supporting us,

Merle 

 

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Thursday, 29 February 2024

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