On a balmy summer evening some 60 volunteers came together for a delightful cheese and wine reception (special thanks to Gad Dairies for the donation of the cheeses). The purpose was to say thank you to our volunteers who cover the entire spectrum of ESRA activities. The concept, originally initiated by Netanya's Nina Zuck, ESRA's Project Chair, was the third such event - the last one held in 2013.
The informal reception offered the opportunity for guests to mingle and meet each other. As one volunteer said "We don't take such events for granted because it seems we are all always so busy working, we forget to stop and get to know our colleagues and to hear about their interesting lives and activities. I made many new acquaintances."
ESRA Netanya has 90 plus volunteers with a number having more than one responsibility. The branch is especially proud of the 40 who distribute this great magazine from door to door – no mean feat considering the ever growing size of the city of Netanya.
Netanya Chairperson, Barbara Kliner, welcomed the guests at the start of the formalities explaining the importance of offering our wonderful volunteers the opportunity to meet one another in a social environment. She personally had discovered how much ESRA had helped her integrate into her new life in Israel following her and her husband's aliyah some four years ago.
Nina then introduced Ofir Orenstein, a member of the Netanya City Council for the past 15 years and a candidate for the position of Mayor in the forthcoming municipal elections. Nina thanked Ofir for the tremendous support he has always given to ESRA from the time ESRA initiated its flagship project "Students build a Community" some 11 years ago; he has been at the forefront of ensuring the growth of the dynamic partnership between ESRA and the Municipality. Ofir praised the work ESRA carries out in areas of severe deprivation stating that the Municipality is truly indebted to ESRA for ensuring a better tomorrow for the children we serve.
The highlight of the evening was the performance given by one of our Ethiopian teenagers, Aviva Katahun, who learned to sing and play the electric keyboard at Hefzibah's Volume Center – yet another ESRA project. Aviva's wonderful voice moved her audience who were impressed not only with her singing and playing but also by the fact that she composed one of the songs herself.
Chairman Baruch Tanaman brought greetings to the event expressing appreciation for the success story that belongs to the volunteers of ESRA Netanya.