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90th anniversary of the WW1 Battle of Beersheba: Australian riders prepare for their mounted parade

Electric bikes: Laws being ignored

There is a growing, very worrying, phenomenon in Israel.

Simple basic laws to protect our children and citizens in general are simply ignored— endangering us all. Consider the following facts.

The photo is of a large notice that is attached to the fences and walls of schools and reads as follows: "PARENTS! Riding electric bicycles under the age of 16 is PROHIBITED by Law –PREVENT danger of life to your children and pedestrians." 

Notice outside schools warning parents about bikes

The laws state that:

  • cyclists wear helmets at all times
  • bikes have a white front-light and a rear red reflector
  • talking on the phone is illegal while riding
  • more than one person on the bike is illegal
  • riding with headphones is illegal
  • riding a bike over a pedestrian crossing is illegal. Cyclists must dismount and walk across
  • riding on the pavements is illegal

We are all witnesses to the fact that most of these laws are blatantly disregarded—both by cyclists and law enforcement officials.

It all starts with the parents who provide their children with electric bicycles without due compliance with the law. The children themselves don't seem to care. And where are the middle school principals who should know that many pupils are disobeying the law? Why are they not setting an example of law enforcement as an educational message?

It seems that no-one cares about the hazards and accidents. Unlike car accidents where identification is clear from the number plates, there is no means to identify a cyclist who knocks someone over and disappears. There should be a law requiring all bicycles to have some means of identification clearly visible— like a number plate.

What is frightening is that the children who are disrespecting the laws of the road today will become the drivers of cars tomorrow and then heaven help us all. Our road accident statistics are already horrible.

Hertzel Katz


ESRA and Mezach to work together to further Ethiopian community in Sderot

We would like to express our gratitude to ESRA regarding your decision to partner with the Sderot Social Rights Center (SSRC-Mezach) in expanding its work to reach the Ethiopian community in Sderot.

Mezach began working with the community a number of years ago however our first real breakthrough was much more recent when our social work student, herself of Ethiopian origin, was able to create ties of trust with the community.

We know that ESRA has been committed to the Ethiopian community through your sewing and embroidery project and we are both proud and excited to know that our common interest in the Sderot community has now enabled us to come together through and with them.
We look forward to a wonderful partnership with you.

Dr. Merav Moshe Grodofsky
Chair, School of Social Work, Sderot College
Founder, Academic Director-Negev Rights-based Community Practice Network

Honoring 100 years of ANZACs

On the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beer Sheba in World War I, in which the city was captured from the Ottoman empire by the ANZACs—the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps under General Allenby, we would like to recall a brief account of a charming, short period during that war. To read the story of "When the ANZACS came to Rehovot" see the following link on the ESRA website

Myra Olswang, ESRAmagazine Webmaster

Ramat Hasharon 

‘Golden couple’ who sowed the seeds that became ESRA’s sewing centers

I read Brenda Katten's wonderful article about the Applebaums, their aliyah and their contribution to Israel (ESRAmagazine #191).

Meira and Jack, friends of ours for many years, came to see us when we moved to Sderot ten years ago. Meira suggested opening and supporting a sewing center on the model of ESRA Sewing Centers under the guidance of Nina Zuck, at the Atzmaut Ethiopian Community Center in Sderot which we visited with the Applebaums.

The sewing center has now been running for five years. Since September 2016 there has been an emphasis on cultivating traditional embroidery with great success. This came about when our wonderful volunteers from kibbutzim around Sderot saw the embroidered mezuzot, and other items I brought from ESRA.

Esther Niv, our volunteer sewing teacher and Dr Gli Zivan, an artist, went crazy about the embroidery. I was dubious at first as I didn't realize that the embroidered items were new to the people around here.

Another kibbutznik volunteer, a business consultant, was born in Sderot and wants to help. I am proud of the synergy between the kibbutznikim, Sderot and Sapir College which supplied us with a scholarship student who speaks Amharit.

The embroidery project has revitalized the Atzmaut Center for the Ethiopian community in Sderot.

Meira and Jack, none of this would have come about without your support, both financial and moral. Thank you.

Adele Rubin


Glove story in Beer Sheva

I spent the most wonderful six months at WUJS from September 1968, the 2nd intake. the lecturers/teachers were inspirational, the aspiring leaders and shakers of Israel. The outings were great. Oh yes, in winter it was cold and i had frostbite in my hands for three weeks. Sheepskin gloves from the shuk at Beer Sheva helped.

Helen Mass (nee Weinberg) London 

Judy Copeland in 1968

How Judy, Copey and Institute changed my life

How I have thought of Judy Copeland and copey over the years. WUJS changed my life. Two of my three children have been to Israel on the Birthright trips and my youngest, Ilana, promises to get there some day. as I approach retirement, aliyah seems wonderful!

Kim (Lambert) Badillo

Note: Judy Copeland's article about how the Six-Day War played a big role in the Institute's birth appeared in ESRAmagazine #190.

I converted to Judaism – then later found out that my grandparents were Jewish

Thank you for the article "The Jews of Sicily" (ESRAmagazine #188 February 2017). I have just learned that my grandpa Picone and my grandma were Jewish. What is ironic is I turned Jewish in 1962, not knowing that I was Jewish. In 2009, I had a stem cell transplant for Leukemia. There were no matches except in the Mediterranean area of Italy where both my grandparents were from. What a blessing to know your heritage. My grandma was rescued from a convent and was the first cousin of my grandpa. She was only 14 when she married my grandpa, her first cousin, and they migrated to the United States.

Patrica Picone Beitere 

In the shade of the Shikma tree

We found the article about the tree in Gan HaShikma in Mintz Street in Netanya very interesting (ESRAmagazine 191, September 2017).

From 1987 to June of this year we lived directly opposite the tree. In fact bits of our building are visible behind the tree in the photo you published.

One point we have to argue with Stephen Kliner is 'that people no longer rest in its shade'. On Saturdays families come, spread out their blankets and picnic there. Many a birthday is celebrated there and students study in its shade too.

We as a family spent many years on Yom HaAtzmaut in the park when our grandchildren were young, not having to worry about parking or clean toilets.

It was a delight to open our salon windows every morning and see its beauty.

Jeanette and Harold Schechner, Netanya

Time we spent with Chabad is more vivid than places visited

In the course of traveling abroad, my husband and I have had occasion to spend Shabbat courtesy of Chabad.

I have wonderful, warm memories of these Shabbatot in Barcelona, Athens, New Mexico, Nashville, San Diego and San Antonio.Indeed, they remain more vivid in my memory than many of the sites we saw.We have remained in contact with some of these wonderful, open, non-judgmental, idealistic Chabad emissaries, who offer an inestimable service to all Jewish people around the world.For those looking for an Orthodox alternative, there is Chabad inside the Ala Moana Hotel (across the Convention Center) at 410 Atkinson Drive, Honolulu, HI 96814, tel 1 808 735 8161

Judy Shapiro, Kfar Saba 



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Sunday, 29 March 2020

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