ESRAmagazine

A Word From The Editor 197

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Everybody has a story and each person adds to the making of our world. This issue gives us insights into the lives and doings of so many people, each exceptional.

Our cover features Jean Cohen, 91 years old, who has been hand delivering ESRAmagazines for 40 years – almost 4000 magazines. Susanna Kaufmann, originally from Denmark, is one of the very few master watchmakers left in Israel and over the past five years, every watchsold in the ESRA Vintage Shop in Kfar Saba has been checked by Susanna, and brought into good working order. Hilary Meir, a speech therapist, widowed early when her husband, chief pathologist of the IDF, died of injuries in the army, took to painting now on exhibition. Jennifer Shwartz, The Maven Baker, was a pre-med student but soon found that her passion became baking overtook her studies. Young Haim Tukachinsky, a very talented musician from the Haredi community, was recently tragically killed in Jerusalem by a drunken driver – Ruth Corman writes poignantly of how Haim taught her to sing. We also have a story on Yehudi Menuhin, one of the greatest violinists ever, written by Malcolm Singer who worked very closely with this famous Jewish musician.

Cynthia Barmor looks back on her 50 years in Israel, reminding us fondly of Israel in its early years. Talking of early Israel, Ann Bar-Dov, a new immigrant who arrived in Israel when the Israeli lira was soaring high, writes of how overnight devaluation bought her a home. For a fascinating personal glimpse into the war with Lebanon, Operation Peace for the Galilee, read former Israeli pilot, Eddie Shapiro's extract from his autobiography. And still of Israel of yore, Marion Stone regales us with memories of her life in the rag trade, once so vibrant, in Israel.

So often adversity brings in its wake creativity, positive action, help to others in a similar predicament. Shari Mendes, herself a breast cancer patient, created the Lemonade Fund seven years ago when she realized how the tremendous costs to a patient cripple so many women. The LF so far has helped 380 patients, totaling almost 1 million shekels. Shuki Levinger, father to a special needs son, 30 years ago founded together with his wife Yael, Kishorit, a kibbutz in the Northern Galilee for adults with psychological needs and mental illnesses, who work and live there in dignity and in control of their own lives. Julie Fisher, wife of Dan Shapiro, former US Ambassador to Israel, distressed by the plight of refugees here, formed the Consortium for Israel and the Asylum Seekers and in an exciting initiative she has persuaded kibbutzim to house families, particularly single mothers and their children.

There are small pockets of coexistence here and there, which kindle hope. Lydia Aisenberg writes of one of these – Kibbutz Metzer and the Palestinian village of Meiser on the Green Line, who have tried against all odds to uphold good inter-community relations in the light of humanity and mutual respect and a wish to live in peace.

With great pleasure we publish in this magazine the twelve winners of our ESRAmagazine Short Story Contest 2018, and the first three winning stories. It is fascinating that each of these stories is on a different topic, each a vital part of Israel's life. Gabriella Fulda in "Paris 1955" writes of her horrifying experience as a child in Nazi Austria; Richelle Shem-Tov in "The Clock" tells a heartbreaking story of a little Arab boy caught in the fire; and Rachelli Fuld in "Season of Change" focuses on a Haredi wife battered by her husband. Thank you to our 79 entrants for your excellent stories. You did a great job. We had extreme difficulty in judging the stories – so many were so very good and absorbing. We will publish more of the stories in future issues.

No doubt many of you will identify with Debbie Morgenstern's article on "Golden Age is killing me". I find it so interesting that doctors often become excellent writers. Over the years we have published stories written by doctors, one of whom, the late Eric Cohen, wrote regularly for the magazine and won third prize in our short story competition in 2004. There are two interesting articles this time – how Emil Murad became a confidant of the head surgeon, and Morty Leibowitz's story of a patient, a terrorist, who broke the rope to escape from the Bellevue Hospital Prison.

Jerusalem, so full of history, has so many intriguing places to visit. Lydia Aisenberg wandered in Ethiopia Street and discovered the home of Ben Yehuda who revived the modern Hebrew language. Bill Strubbe writes vividly of his love of exploring the Jerusalem Ramparts. Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv is a beautiful area to walk in, picnic, boat, play sports – if you haven't tried it, be tempted my Mike Porter's experience.

ESRA is always dynamic - Modiin has new leaders whom you can read about, and Beer Sheva has started a skateboard project and the kids are truly excited. Our Students Build a Community Project surges into another year and always expanding.

As our cover augurs in ESRA's 40th anniversary, please save the date for our big event on May 14th, Israel's Independence Day.Our annual fundraising event is on December 23, well-known singer Rami Kleinstein will be performing and if you haven't bought tickets, please hurry as they are running out. For more activity, browse our Future Events pages to find what you would like to do.

 

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Thursday, 26 November 2020

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