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From the Editor 215

Life is full of surprises, changes, challenges – what will 2023 hold for us? 

I finally did get Covid, in the last lap of putting together this 215 issue of ESRA Magazine. The Ministry of Health and Maccabi, my health fund, were tremendously solicitous, prescribing the new Covid medication and phoning me daily to ensure I was faring okay. What worried them was my age, 85, and my history of pneumonias and bronchial problems. I caught the bug in the wonderful, exciting city seeped in history and culture – Istanbul. It was worth it as I spent four memorable days there with my three daughters reveling in this colorful city with its incredible little craftsmen shops and mouth-watering street food. We were in the heart of it all, living in the dungeon of a historical building with narrow winding spiral stairs. Being addicted to Turkish TV dramas, my dream came true – visiting Istanbul and its peoples.

2022 was the first year in our 43 years of producing ESRA Magazine that we cut down the number of issues from 5 a year to 4. Truth, it was difficult and challenging, adjusting to the reduction, but that is what life is all about, coping with the problems that face us. I have a wonderful, supportive editorial board and significant help from ESRA's CEO and small staff – thank you all for what you do for this magazine.

We are confronting one serious hurdle: a shortage of volunteer hand-deliverers. Many are now in their 70s and 80s and we need younger, stronger people to help us distribute ESRA Magazine. It is only 4 times a year that we implore you youngsters in your 40s and 50s to deliver a bundle of mags to our readers' homes.

Our beautiful cover is part of a painting by artist Pamela Silver, formerly of little Bulawayo, my home town. Thank you, Pamela, for this privilege and for enriching our lives with your cheerful, colorful art.

Our world is global, digitalized. Even our talented graphic designer, Joanna, lives in Johannesburg and we communicate by email and Zoom. We owe our beautifully designed magazine to her and to her mentor and art director, Liora. Many of our writers also live overseas.

Apropos overseas, Debbie Sinai discovered ESRA in Vienna! Also in Vienna, Stephen Fried describes Schmetterlinghaus, the Imperial Butterfly House. Ilana Shemesh volunteered "Catching Babies" in Uganda. Mel Farris writes about photography in the Alps. Helen Bar-Lev regales us with childhood memories of Bryant Avenue in the Bronx.

We proudly present the two excellent winning stories of our ESRA Magazine Youth Short Story Competition 2022 – Good Boy and The Photo Album - written by 15-year-olds, one of whose mother tongue is Hebrew. Fifty-seven young writers submitted their impressive stories which made our judging very difficult.

Indeed a milestone, Peta Singer and her mates celebrated 10 years of ESRA Tiberias | Jordan Valley – an impressive achievement of English speakers doing things together in this small area. For 30 years Lucille Edelman has been the face of Rehovot's indigent children in after-school day care centers.

Feel like going on outings? Read about: Akko gems and the Kahn Museum by Lydia Aisenberg; Beit Shemesh by Bob Gilmour; on the shores of the Kinneret, a Here & About ESRA trip; the nature of Ein Gedi by Julian Alper; the Tabor Winery, managed by Michal Akerman, a long-time woman viticulturist.

Excessive road accidents mar our streets: InCarEye is a cutting-edge technology that will prevent mobile phone distraction while driving; Wendy Blumfield was thrown onto the road (almost under the bus) by a bus driver who closed the doors before she got her feet onto the pavement.

Have you ever realized just how many Hebrew borrows there are from English – Shelly Schreter lists just some of them.

The Holocaust is always featured in our magazine. Read Tali Ironi's Documenting Survivors and Keeping Sane, and Albert Russo's story of fashion designer and empire builder Coco Chanel, a virulent anti-Semite. Visit Gan Eitan in Kibbutz Megiddo, in memory of Eitan Plonsky, the son of Holocaust survivors, who was killed in the Yom Kippur War.

So many of you are avid readers. Why not search for bargain books in our newly located ESRA Raanana store which Jack Copelovici writes about? And read our book reviews Also, on the last Thursday evening of every month, join Pamela Peled and Carol Novis on their Zoom book discussion.

Looking for something to do? Choose lectures, museum visits, trips, book clubs, luncheons, knitting groups, photography with our camera club, Mahjong (new in Haifa) from our ESRA Events and Social Groups pages, all over the country. Logon is staging "The Wizard of Oz" and the Israel Philharmonic is offering outstanding concerts writes Irving Spitz. Alan Caplan, our bridge correspondent, writes about Minor Matters; Stephen Schulman talks about his passion for jigsaw puzzles; and Martin Lipzcer for stamp-collecting. Visit ESRA's heart-warming projects for children – we'll be happy to organize this for you and your overseas guests.

Please donate to ESRA to keep our community projects going, and also become a member thereby receiving our magazine and reductions on all our activities. We need your help in 2023. Thank you.

May 2023 be a happy, healthy and full year for all you our readers. 

 

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