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From the Editor 216

 I feel deeply sad that my country is so split

Friends and relatives from overseas are calling or emailing me, because they are so distressed about our Israel. What about those Israelis leaving Israel? My neighborhood launderette told me that in one day two of her clients, a rich man and a young man, had decided to leave Israel; and my cousin, who has worked for the government for 40 years, is relocating to Greece. "I shall raise my eyes to the mountains, from where will my help come? (Psalm 121)

Let us look at the good side of Israel. Max Moss' daughter, Dr. Keren Moss, found herself in Kahramanmaraş (50 kms from the epicenter of the earthquake in Turkey) as part of an Israeli Medical Rescue Mission. El Al on a special flight transported nearly 50 Israelis and rescue equipment 36 hours after the environmental tragedy. In addition to medical support to Turks injured under collapsed buildings, Keren crawled into a small tunnel and rescued a 7-year old child who had been trapped under a large concrete slab for 70 hours.

The Community Fridge project, now in 13 towns, provides food to the "shadow needy" who face the distressing issue of food insecurity, describes Norman Silbert. Ecological Burial, carried out by the Land of Israel Burial Association and based on an ancient practice, is an alternative to traditional burial options that will save enormous amounts of land, money, and physical resources, writes Clive Graham. Then there are small pockets of projects we can take pride in, such as Gan Zlil, a kindergarten for autistic children where ESRA Tiberias/Jordan Valley provides animal therapy; or the 90-year-old knitters in Protea Village and Manof who knit sweaters for needy children.

Women have been in the headlines the past few weeks – March 8th was International Women's Day. Our cover is in red, the color that the valiant women in Israel wear in their determined protests. We feature several articles on women's issues: Sara Rabani was very insulted when she was made to sit at the back of Dan bus 82 on her ride home from Bnei Brak. Shalva Weil's research revealed that Femicide in 2022 in Israel went up 50%. In her poignant article "Every Place where the Soles of your Feet will tread", Galia Miller Sprung writes that when she and her husband divorced, "I, the woman, had to pack up and leave. I, the woman, had to give up my rights to our home, land and the life I loved. My name was stricken from the Aguda — the cooperative. I lost my membership — and my sense of belonging".

Grandparents, parents, teachers, tutors please encourage 8th, 9th and 10th graders to write their stories for our 2023 Short Story Competition. The 2022 competition was a great success – 57 stories were submitted, two excellent ones which you can read here, "Blindly" by Yael Abramowitz and "Departure" by Steven Finberg.

As a Jew who chose to live in Israel, how can you not be passionate about our small country, even in its turbulence? Shawna Goodman Sone in "Abundance and Beyond" expresses her feelings: "…People who choose to love and make Israel a part of their life is what contributes a special light to the country. So many people from all parts of the world connect to this ancient land that has few natural resources except the most basic one … to plug in and belong… and participate in the growth of our unique country".

From April 23 to May 7 there is an unusual art exhibition at the Jerusalem Biennali Gallery, describes Lydia Weitzman. Created by former businessman and passionate Zionist Myron Zaidel, it focuses on Israel's 12 prime ministers up to the end of 2020 in the art form, pointillism. These great personalities are dots on the canvas that makes up the Jewish people and the Zionist vision. Read Nina Reshef's fascinating story about Limor Ulukaya, the artist who designed the cover.

Spring is a wondrous season to visit Israel's sites, such as Safed, a city of spirituality, writes Lydia Aisenberg, and Herodium – the mountain Herod built during the Roman rule. If you like hiking, read David Broza's account of the hike to Ma'aleh Tzellim and Nahal Mishmar; he says it's hard to find the superlatives to do justice to this sensational hike in the Judean Desert. Stephen Kliner in Pam's Story whets our appetite to visit the Khan Museum which has a visual depiction of how the Burma Road came into existence and helped break the blockade of Jerusalem in the War of Independence. Suzanne Schwartz's visit to the new Hannah Senesh Museum at Sdot Yam inspired her to write about this hero and her dedication to Israel and the Jewish people. She was only 23 years old when she was captured and killed by the Nazis after being sent on a mission to help Hungarian Jews during WWII. Susan Lurie took a trip to ElSaig, the triangle of enclosure, an area between Beer Sheva, Arad and Dimona where the Bedouin were permitted to settle after the War of Independence and she learned about the Bedouins and their struggle for legal rights to their villages.

Ilana Greenberg Kraus participated in a journey in the footsteps of her parents, on the route they used to escape from Soviet-held territory after World War II in Poland. The routes they and more than 250,000 other Holocaust survivors followed were set up by the Bricha, that helped these Jews smuggle across borders and mountain passes to reach DP camps in the American zone of occupied Germany, and from there to Palestine or the US. In his book "Witness to the Dark", Wolf Holles, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen, sets his story from the time his family fled Germany to visiting Bergen-Belsen. That he survived the ordeal and is now living in Israel is a tribute to his endurance and perseverance

We expose ourselves to dangerous abuse on the Internet according to a survey by the Israel Internet Association wherein 22% of Israelis stated that they experienced cursing and verbal abuse on social networks, 18% stalking or harassment, 9% said that intimate or embarrassing pictures of them were disseminated without their permission. Maybe we should stick more to human contact, as Leonard Romm writes in "You can't hug a video".

In "Create your own Time Capsule", Lisa Starr cites the enormity of Covid, the virus that changed the world.

Reverse Mortgage is a financial option available to retirees to supplement income flow, explains Attorney Shavit Ben-Chorin, and Long-Term Estate Planning should be taken seriously, says Dr. Guy Carmi.

Enjoy ESRA activities organized by the revived Haifa branch, writes Wendy Blumfield; or From the Tayelet in Nahariya, describes Gabriel Mayer; and of course you will see masses of activities in our Future Events.

Happy Pesach,




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Monday, 22 July 2024

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