Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeevveez/3409510566
The timing of the distribution of this edition of ESRAmagazine coincides with the anniversary of the First Zionist Congress held on August 29th 1897 in the city of Basel in Switzerland. It was here that the World Zionist Organization was founded and the Basel Program approved, declaring the prime aim of Zionism to be the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Herzl’s personal experience of anti-Semitism, following the Dreyfus trial, was the catalyst that drove him to do everything possible towards this end. He firmly believed that with the coming into being of a Jewish state anti-Semitism would be eradicated. As we look around the world today we recognize how wrong he was. Anti-Semitism in 2013 is on the increase even in places devoid of Jews. It is against this background that Israel today has become an even greater beacon of security for Jewry worldwide.
Israel is without doubt a country that defies reality. One that has faced war on too many occasions, whilst at the same time successfully absorbing millions of new immigrants. Nevertheless, so much that is positive has been achieved – whether in the field of research and development, whether through our multitude of medical discoveries geared to help mankind or whether simply in our desire to help one another. History has taught us that if we respect each other and pull together, so much more can be achieved.
ESRA‘s raison d'être is to give support where it is most needed. We have played a vital role in helping both new and old immigrants to feel part of the Israeli fabric and all this has been carried out with the ESRA brand of warmth and sensitivity.
At the beginning of July ESRA experienced a personal happening that reflects a major aspect of what we are about – namely our volunteering within the community. The Volunteer Section of the Netanya Municipality presented ESRA with a special award in recognition of the significant role played by our Netanya volunteers, at the Right Track Centers, the Students Build a Neighborhood project, the Project of Excellence, Tutoring in 11 schools (both Primary and Secondary) as well as The English Center to which children from a diversity of backgrounds come together, and with ESRA’s help, successfully manage to produce a magazine of their own.
This past year we have welcomed new ESRA branches both in the North and in the South. We are increasing our activities and continue to endeavor to find ways of raising more funds for our wonderful projects. In all of this we look to you, the readers of this great magazine, to assist us in finding new members and additional volunteers and create new branches. What makes ESRA the special organization it is? It has to be that all who work in ESRA do so because they know they are playing a meaningful role in the success story that is Israel. If Herzl was around today and ESRA did not exist, for sure he would have made it his second Zionist happening!
Wishing you and your dear ones Shana Tova – let it be a year filled with good health, happiness and the peace for which we all crave.