Helping children at risk ... a visit to Neve ESRA, Modiin’s afternoon care center, with Chanukah gifts. Standing: Stuart Razin, Beverly Rockman and Ilana Hars. Seated: Judy Goldstein, Rhona Berzack, Flori Cohen and Katrina Manobla
Neve ESRA, Modiin’s afternoon care center for children at risk, was decorated with colorful Chanukah symbols around the walls, giving the place a bright holiday atmosphere. The festive room was packed with children, parents, visitors, volunteers, teachers and counselors, all chatting and having a good time. Before the festivities began some of the girls were dancing and prancing around, and the boys were busy with their games - all with bright smiling happy faces which warmed our hearts.
Etti Eini, Director of Child and Family Welfare in the municipal social services office, and Talya Fishler-Wittenberg, coordinator of Neve ESRA, opened the event by wishing everyone a happy Chanukah. They described the daily activities in the center, the hot lunches, the homework assistance provided and the additional support given whenever and wherever needed. For the care center it is important to let the children know how important they are - each and every one of them - and how much they matter.
Three young volunteers who come to Neve ESRA every Tuesday spoke enthusiastically of their commitment to play with these children whom they love, and to create enjoyable activities. “There is such a need for this, and it’s very rewarding and a mitzvah," they added.
Neve ESRA is the focus of ESRA Modiin’s efforts, including income from its popular bookstore in the mall. Cynthia Barmor, Chair of ESRA Modiin, devotes endless time and energy to seeing that everything runs smoothly. She meets with the municipal social services department on a regular basis to ensure that necessary improvements are carried out. Currently, funds are being invested in a new modern kitchen with new appliances, and outdoor improvements that will enhance physical activities. Also, the entire place will be repainted in warm and welcoming colors.
Bev Rockman (left) and Rhona Berzack hand out neck warmers to the youngsters for Chanukah
Rhona Berzack and Bev Rockman, coordinators of ESRA Modiin’s Knitting and Crocheting Circle, distributed matching neck warmers (scarves for the boys, and buttoned collars for the girls), and gloves which the group had knitted for the children. The kids loved them! In addition, Cynthia presented each child with a colorful bag filled with Chanukah goodies which further thrilled the excited children. There were smiles of happiness both from the children and their parents.
And then it was time to party. The table was decorated with sweet cakes and cookies, complete with donuts, hot and cold drinks and more. A long table was set up with various items for the children to prepare their own Chanukah candle-holder for the festival.
These children are precious and deserve to be celebrated. It was a holiday celebration to remember. Certainly, it was a heartwarming and rewarding prelude for a joyful Chanukah for all.