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A Word From The Editor - 206

Another year is augured in, a year that promises to be easier than the past half year. We wish you all a happy new year, one of health and hope. Thank you for warm new year greetings which we so appreciate, as we do your help and support throughout the year.

A fresh year, a new look to our magazine, some new writers, some challenging thoughts, and plenty to do. You just need to read all our pages to savor the mélange of articles, ideas and activities.

Israel is in our hearts, our soul. You can feel it in so many of the stories. Trevor Janes, a Canadian postdoc who spent several years at the Weizmann Institute, fell in love with Israel and brought Laura, his love, to be with him here, and she too, slowly, albeit, fell for Israel.

Pamela Peled reviews Dreams Never Dreamed by Kalman Samuels, who swopped philosophy and math for theological studies in Jerusalem, and married Malki, a Hassidic. They had seven children, one of whom, Yossi, had severe cognitive disabilities. So they established Shalva, a home for people with disabilities, and you were surely moved by the inspiring performance of the Shalva Band at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv.

Carole Rosenblatt, who immigrated from Canada with her three young children, opened the Beach House which became the local hangout in Yamit. She was one of the evacuees from Yamit in 1982, and her courageous and adventurous story is told by Caroline Simon. Siri Jones-Rosen shares her exciting experience of taking part in Moses the Lawgiver, starring Burt Lancaster, which was filmed in Eilat in 1974.

Peta Singer, who heads ESRA's Jordan Valley/Tiberias branch, ten years ago emigrated with her husband from Manchester. She shares some of the differences in culture that she found. Moving to a kibbutz meant moving from a city to the countryside and instead of owning two cars they became the owners of two bicycles. She learned to love the rural, simple life, reveled in the celebration of the Jewish festivals, and missed some of the foods she was so used to. But today she can buy her favorites even on the kibbutz – cheddar cheese, Samson's vinegar, HP sauce, McVitie's biscuits. Still on the UK theme, Lilach Barak appeals to British Jewry who made some practical contribution to Israel during the Mandate period to tell her your story.

The miraculous discovery of natural gas in Israel, Renelle Joffe tells us, has not only changed the fuel basket beyond recognition - heavy fuel is no longer part of the fuel basket and coal's portion has dropped from 70% to 30% - but led to the opening of international markets and enhanced Israel's position in the Eastern Mediterranean and Israel now exports gas to Jordan and Egypt.

Talking of our Arab neighbors, what about our own Arab citizens within our midst, asks Neville Singer, who discusses the words in our national anthem, Hatikva; and Lydia Aisenberg, a humanist, who has lived in Israel for over 50 years, gives us a wake-up call. She writes: "So much for dreaming that peace would come, that my children should know no more war, that Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat standing together, hands clasped, saying: 'No more war, no more bloodshed,' would have been more than just another fashionable mantra. Dreams and reality are poles apart, with every hurdle possible in between."

Some exciting news on Israel's international scene: the Technion has opened in China, writes Shlomo Liberman; and hard to believe but true, Israel's baseball team will be competing in the 2021 Olympics, writes Danny Grossman.

Israel sites have opened again and in the months ahead you can enjoy visits to a remarkable collection of scientific antique instruments at MadaTech - The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space, in Haifa; to the beautifully landscaped helicopter memorial site near Kibbutz Dafna, honoring 73 Jewish, Muslim, Bedouin and Druze IDF soldiers and aircrew who died in the crash when two IDF helicopters collided close to the Lebanese border in 1997. The Castel National Heritage Site, although heart-wrenching because you feel the enormity of the loss of so many young men and women, is an impressive literal hands-and-feet-on experience commemorating the pivotal battle that eventually ousted the Arabs fighters in 1948 at Mount Maoz, thought to be Mount Ephron, the biblical border between Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15.9).

ESRA too offers so many activities for you – lectures at TAMA, in Netanya, on Zoom; hikes; book clubs, sewing circles, mahjong and so much more; a variety of volunteer opportunities… please carefully browse the magazine page to page.

How can we ignore our life during Corona time? Claire Rabin gives us a helpful low down on couple relationships; Sharon Bacher looks at the trees in her garden; Carol Novis titles her review of Julia Gray's book, The True Adventures of Gidon Lev, "Love in the Age of Corona". Good reads in Vera Freudmann's recommendations of three books; Maia Aron's review of Blood, Sweat and Tours, the autobiography of pianist Rami Bar-Niv; reviewed by Judy Shapiro is the story of Kathe, an ordinary girl, who left no diary and who was destined for obscurity as her family and all their belongings were destroyed in the Holocaust were it not for the book by Espen Søbye, a statistician and a writer. In her story, "The Kindergartener Graduates' silent Cry for help", Judi Argaman writes that the kindergarteners have lost out but who is listening to them?

Our cover features a sculpture by Jeanne Kidd and her story is on these pages. The beautiful embroidery of Sderot's Ethiopian women was shown in the Knesset, and that too you can see and read about.

Israel has memorialized Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who during the Holocaust granted thousands of life-saving transit visas to Portugal, to Jews and non-Jews, contravening his government's orders, by naming a square in Jerusalem in his honor. For more memories, read Judy Fisher's story of her grandfather's kosher butchery in Liverpool, and Roger Lavender pages some of his father's WW11 diary.

For a good laugh you will enjoy Stephen Schulman's Push Tomatoes into the Bull, where he records bloopers of his pupils' English mistakes and Jennia's humor page.

Thank you for everything,

Merle Guttmann



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