ESRA Magazine
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A Word from the Editor 196

I am constantly amazed at the widespread reach of ESRAmagazine via both the printed version and the online web version. Over 80% of the browsers who find us on the web are from abroad – the United States (30%), France alone averages 25%, other European countries, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, occasionally India, the Philippines and even Arab countries. Particularly interesting is the high percentage of people from France – are they potential immigrants looking for information on life in Israel?

Also our four pages of Letters in this issue show an array of writers from different countries and numerous towns abroad (Hollywood, US; Rome, Italy; St Albans, UK) and in Israel (Azur, Kfar Saba, Modiin, Netanya, Ramat Efal, Rehovot, Sderot, Tel Aviv). This cosmopolitan aspect of ESRAmagazine is exciting. It is what I have always believed and worked for – open-mindedness, broad-mindedness and reaching out rather than being parochial.

Rabbi Frimer's New Year message is important in today's Israel. He talks of thinking for yourself, and surrounding yourself with people who have high ethical and moral values so that you too imbibe these qualities. Many thanks for your New Year Greetings which we greatly appreciate. There are several articles related to the High Holidays, two by Lydia Aisenberg: Flying the Flag showing "the lovingly fashioned festive flags for Simchat Torah"; the wonderful special edition decorative chocolate tins created by Barton's Bonbonniere in Brooklyn, full of sweetness for Rosh Hashanah, Succot and Pesach (all of which were kosher); an elaboration of a Yizkor sermon on Yom Kippur by Rabbi Jeffrey Weill to his congregation – Ezra-Habonim, the Niles township Jewish Congregation - which prompt us to confront the forward march of years and to acknowledge the inevitability of mortality. Whilst on the subject of old age, read how Eli Libenson subtly brought together two residents of a retirement home in Chicago through reading books.

"Write Stuff" is a all about books, over ten fascinating pages, three of which are on ESRA's second hand bookshops in Raanana, Modiin and Zichron where you can find books for peanuts and enjoy the old-fashioned thrill of holding and reading books. Ronny Golding describes with passion the four book clubs he led for many years where the members, his likeminded friends, met on a regular basis to engage in organized discussions of books. There are several reviews, amongst them of a book written in 2011 which has prompted us to create a new section whereby we invite you the readers to write reviews on good books you have read lately, whether new or old.

Moshe Kwart captured dramatic photos of our brave fire fighters who fought the flames of hatred on the Gaza strip. Very poignant is the Kindertransport 906 km bike ride in which two of our members participated, Paul Minikes Alexander, himself a Kind, and Lawrence Lebor, the son-in-law of a Kind. It marked 80 years since the devastating Nazi pogrom of Kristallnacht and the humane Kindertransport program in Britain which saved 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. The ride started in Berlin at the sculpture of Frank Meisler's "Trains to Life, Trains to Death" and terminated at his sculpture in London "The Arrival". A few days later in Israel, Paul met Prince William at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

In these pages you can learn how to prepare for an earthquake and what to do during the quake; the role Israel plays in the world water shortage; that Americans living out of Israel can vote in mid-elections; how to get your senior citizen card – no hassle writes Lola Katz.

With the High Holidays on our doorstep, travel around Israel to visit: Eilat's luscious Botanical Gardens with their baobob and marula trees, water lilies and beautiful flowers; the Harry Sabel picnic area; Rishon, a city full of history; Haifa with its three sides; 'London in Jerusalem', an exhibition in the Tower of David which records the British contribution to the cultural life of the city during the Mandate (1917-1948). For overseas try San Miguel in Mexico – Herb Hahn regales its gems.

ESRA is offering you stimulating programs for the coming year. Study our adverts on lecture series in Netanya, Raanana, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv. Rishon and Rehovot open their year with music and singing. And if you want to enjoy non-sedentary activities, we are venturing on hiking the National Trail and all sorts of outings during the year. Something totally new, a photography group.

Enter now for our ESRA national Quiz on November 27 and mark your calendars not to miss Sunday, December 23rd, our 40th anniversary Gala with well-known pianist and composer Rami Kleinstein.

Happy New Year, and thank you for being you and involved in ESRA. 



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Friday, 17 September 2021

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