You can undermine the malevolence of BDS by becoming ‘keyboard warriors’

Of late I have become a Keyboard Warrior, firing off letters to university presidents to protest attacks on Jewish students on American campuses. Anyone with an Internet connection can take part in the war against the Bully, Deceive and Slander movement, otherwise known as BDS.

I had been aware of the growing BDS movement but didn’t think I could do anything about it since I live in Israel, far away from the epicenter of the storm. This movement is far more malevolent and dangerous than its stated goals of divesting from Israeli companies in the West Bank. They want nothing less than the destruction of the Jewish state as their chants on the TV news make clear: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” They are infiltrating the future of American power, indoctrinating today’s students who will graduate to be voters, politicians and journalists. They are perceived as legitimate because of their alliance with the human rights movement. They deliberately brand their messages with slogans such as ‘Equality for all’ when in reality, their goals are more aligned with Al Qaeda and Hamas. 

I had joined various pro-Israel groups on Facebook, but felt they mostly preach to the choir. What changed things was finding an FB group called Stop BDS On Campus, a network of over 4,000 activists who mobilize to fight by posting Action Alerts with details of the incident, the relevant email addresses and a sample letter or two.

Finally I could do something other than just rage over the injustice of it all.

The interesting part is that most of the time I get responses, which means that university officials know that someone is watching. Now they may get only hundreds of letters, but as more join our ranks they will get thousands. 

Contact details: either look on Facebook for Stop BDS on Campus or, to get Action Alerts by email, write to me 

Shula Kopf

Tel Aviv

In a hurry, I copped for the wrong cab!

After taking the No. 63 bus going the wrong way in Tel Aviv, I was extremely late for an appointment. I hastily flagged down a cab, threw open the passenger door and quickly asked the driver, “How much to take me to the American Embassy?” He just gave me a dirty look.

I was undisturbed when I saw more than a few weapons in the front of his car –many people carry guns in Israel. I was just about to repeat my question when I realized I had flagged down a police car, not a cab. Oh, shoot!
Bonah Bachenheimer, Modiin

Cover of issue 182

Mausoleum photo ‘was perfect for Chanukah cover’

I feel that criticism of the cover photo of issue #182 ESRAmagazine as expressed in a letter in the February/March 2016 edition #183 is misplaced. When I first glanced at it, I thought it was so impressive and fitting to print the photo of the Mausoleum built by Simon the Maccabee. It is not just graves – sad and miserable – but a photo of history coming alive, reflecting the strength and grandeur of a family that began a Royal dynasty in the Jewish story of survival more than 2,000 years ago. The Editor chose to use a topical illustration connected with the Maccabean story for their Chanukah issue to tie in with the piece written by me which was featured inside. It is certainly a much more original visual than yet another Chanukiah. And at least they haven’t lost track of the fact that there was a lot of darkness, misery and pain before the lights of Chanukah could become a symbol of our celebrations.

Marion Stone


This appointment service for picking up packages is really first class

In and out of the Post Office in ten minutes? Yes! It can be done.  But you have to know in advance when you  want to go.     The frustration of waiting nearly an hour just to mail a small package or pick up a registered letter can be entirely side-stepped with a few clicks on your cell phone, tablet or computer.  The Israeli Postal Service will make an appointment for you at the branch of your choice, and you will be called to  the clerk's desk within 10 minutes of  your chosen time. The web address for this service is:, and you simply choose the date and time you wish. Sometimes you have to be flexible by an hour or so if all the appointments for a certain time are taken, but all in  all, it's a great service. Suppose you know you are seeing your attorney to sign some important documents that must be sent as soon as possible.  Your attorney will see you at 09:00, and you make an appointment at the nearest post office for 11:00, and by 11:15 you are on your way, instead of wasting time on the hard red benches. It also means you can make an appointment for any given morning on your way to work and still get to your desk without losing the best hour of the day. Next time you need to go to the post office, plan ahead, reserve an appointment, and save your precious time.    

Karen Davidoff


Shiputznik left me very satisfied with his work, so thank you, ESRA!

Thanks to ESRA's directory I have achieved the impossible. I had a shiputznik who left me feeling completely satisfied!

I commissioned Ron Caspi to do renovations in my flat (60 years old - not an easy place to work on). I was very happy with Ron's high standard of work, and that of his assistant, (something that you might say I had a right to expect, but unfortunately we all know that this is rarely the case when doing renovations!) What was especially noteworthy was Ron's one hundred per cent commitment to the job in hand, which made what is never an easy experience as pain-free as possible!

Unlike every other "professional" who has been involved in renovation works in my flat over the past eight years, Ron came when he said he would, did not disappear once he had started, and in fact made me feel that my home was the most important thing to him too. Now THAT is a worthwhile attribute which allows me to wholeheartedly recommend Ron for any renovation you may be thinking of doing.

By the way, Ron also had creative solutions to problems that I thought I simply would have to continue to live with. So not only did he fulfill every task to my satisfaction:  he also gave me some pleasant "bonus" surprises!

Thanks Ron - and thanks ESRA!

Pamela Levene

Tel Aviv


Sofa so good ... your advertisers are great

I am writing to praise your selection of advertisers as a great source of service-providers to English speakers. I spent weeks looking for a replacement for my worn and aging lounge suite, but found nothing I liked as well as the one I already had. I had seen the advert for Amit Designs in your magazine, and I contacted them. True to their advert, the owner himself came to my house with fabric samples, we negotiated a price and I sent my furniture to his tender mercies. The sofas were returned to me, looking absolutely amazing; the workmanship was superb, and the cushions are quite a bit more comfortable now. This is not the first time I have looked to ESRAmagazine for service-providers, and I compliment you on your community of advertisers.  

Terry Mowzsowski 


Cover of the Tel Aviv Food book ... buy it for NIS 90 from the author direct

Review captured the flavor of my food book

Thanks for that delightful review of Tel Aviv FOOD in your Feb/March 2016 edition of ESRAmagazine. It certainly captured the essence and flavor of the book, and as the author I have to admit that I couldn’t have worded it better myself. I do believe that every city worth its salt & pepper deserves a cookbook, and this is my tribute to this incredible city.

Please note that ESRA members can purchase the book directly from me at NIS90.

Keep up the good work.

Debrah Marcus

Tel Aviv FOOD

050 770 0740

Any voting questions? Then just ask me

Americans living in Israel, if you have any voting questions about voting in the upcoming U.S. elections, I will be happy to assist you. My email is: or for your Absentee Ballot Request, go to

Andee Goldman,

The knives are out


Knives easily available to pick up at store tills in Israel ... it would only take seconds to stab someone

I must be living in a parallel universe here in Israel. There’s not a day goes by without another terrible terrorist atrocity – a shooting or a knifing. 

“We must all be vigilant” is the cry. 

Well, the public being on its guard is one thing, but some businesses are not helping the situation by being downright stupid for the sake of making money. 

Twice in two days I’ve been in local branches of two national shops selling household products, and at the tills in both stores sharp knives are for sale – freely available to pick up, examine, choose and buy. 

It’s not rocket science to come to the swift conclusion that it would only take seconds for someone with malicious intent to grab one of these knives and stab members of the public or the shop’s staff ,-  or both. 

They aren’t big knives by any stretch of the imagination, but they do have sharp blades. No matter the size – they can still cause a lot of pain and do much damage. 

I’m not saying that these implements shouldn’t be on sale – but in today’s climate of fear, shouldn’t they be under lock and key in secure cabinets with only staff being able to access them for customers? 

By having them on open display these ‘weapons’ are being handed on a plate to potential terrorists. 

Anthony Green 


Welsh artist who drew the country’s synagogues


Sara Elkes   (Right) One of Olwen Hughes’ drawings

Reading Liz Trakeniski’s obituary about the influence of Sara Elkes on her life (ESRAmagazine #183), brought back memories of hosting a wonderful couple who came via the Elchanan Elkes Association for Inter-community Understanding that  was directed at bringing non-Jews to Israel.

In the 1980s Sara Elkes, who ran the association, invited Jeff and Olwen Hughes Pool to Israel, and we were lucky enough to meet the Pools. He was in education and she was an artist. On a later visit Olwen held an exhibition of her drawings of synagogues in Wales at the International Cultural Center for Youth in December 1987 in Jerusalem, sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the British Settlers Association. Sara Elkes and Rebecca Fine came from overseas to attend the opening of the exhibition in Jerusalem, and we were fortunate to be there too.

How Olwen came to do the drawings fits in so well with what Sara Elkes stood for, and is described in an article in the Leicester Mercury (December 10, 1987). Olwen explains that a Jewish family settled in the Rhymney Valley in South Wales in the 1930s where she herself comes from. Rebecca Fine, who was a little girl then, many years later wanted to show her gratitude for the kindness shown by the Welsh to a refugee family. She had two paintings made of an ancient Cardiff synagogue, one of which was given to the Museum of Wales. As a result, the Jewish Community of Cardiff commissioned Olwen to document in drawings and paintings the Jewish synagogues in the villages in Wales.

So thanks for bringing back memories from over 30 years ago and reminding us of Sara Elkes’ contribution to community understanding.

We have sketches that Olwen did for the Leicester Mercury from 1978-1985.

Adele and Mike Rubin



Cover story reminded me of statue created by my daughter which now adorns university building entrance

I was excited to see the cover of magazine #183. Two of our grandchildren are graduates of IDC Herzliya. Evan completed his BA in Business and Economics and Yaara completed her degree in Psychology. Evan is now working in his field and will soon begin his MA. Yaara is completing her MA in Psychology at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Her brother is also planning to register for his first degree there when he returns from his "tour" (now in New Zealand).

Last year we dedicated a beautiful statue my daughter Elana created for the entrance to the Psychology building at IDC. So you see, we have a firm relationship with this university. We recommend it highly to all ESRA children and grandchildren!

Meira Applebaum

Tel Mond

If it’s self-defense ideas you’re after, then we have the answers

It was brought to my attention that in ESRAmagazine #183 (Feb/Mar 2016) there was a letter on page 11 by Milton Franks-Lhermann who was looking for self-defense ideas.

Our organization K.A.M.I. is probably the biggest self-defense (krav maga) () association in Israel. We have branches countrywide (including a few branches in Petach Tikva) where the writer was from. We are a nonprofit association with all of the accreditation from the governmental bodies. In the past few months we have held free seminars countrywide.

Information about us can be found on our English and Hebrew website

Akiva Nalkin, General Secretary, K.A.M.I. Association

More getting relief from Nordic Walking

Of the first 40 people who started Nordic Walking a few months ago as a result of our ESRA article on the subject (ESRAmagazine #182) and who had back, hip or knee pains (for an average of 11 years) despite medications, exercises and, at times, surgery), over 90% have shown improvement, with less pain on walking and the ability to walk a greater distance. On the average, their pain on walking has been reduced by about 70% and the distance walked has increased by about 400%. We hope these early improvements are maintained or even improve, but they certainly look optimistic. The instruction is free of charge and the poles cost about 200-400 shekels. Others may be interested in trying it out, and I can be reached at 052 933 0039 or 09 866 5715 or by email at

Don Silverberg



How I got medical supplies sent to hospital in the war
Naomi Wall ... medical aide

I went to Israel on the 2nd day after the Yom Kippur war broke out (flew over with the help of General Motta Gur), and was working at the Safed Military hospital as an aide in the orthopedic wards. The hospital was brand new and was opened for the wounded in the Golan, mainly. It lacked everything -- medical equipment, sheets, blankets and even staff. The C.O. of the hospital and I got together along with some other staff members and made a list of what was needed desperately. I then contacted Dr. Wall (my husband) in the U.S. and asked if he could have these items flown over as soon as possible), which he did. I worked there for six very difficult weeks, both physically and emotionally. (Dr. Wall and I were married in Israel in 1947 and divorced in 1980).

Naomi Wall

Pottsville Pennsylvania, U.S.

Generous grants for trio of Ethiopian students are really appreciated

We wish to thank both ESRA and specifically yourself, Adele Hunter, for your efforts on our behalf in acquiring grants for our Ethiopian students for the generous amount of NIS 3,000 (NIS 1,000 for each of our three students, Ashgarei A., Yahani M. Yisrael A). Although the boys have returned from their holiday vacations and the halls are once again buzzing with activity, all is tempered with an undercurrent of anxiety and concern for the current security situation. Your interest and support are both appreciated and valued. We are proud to be partners with you in our ongoing efforts to prepare our boys for the future. We are doing all that is in our power to ensure their safety and security, as well as their growth and success and helping them to become spiritually strong, well-educated and dedicated to their country and people. We still look forward to the time when you will be able to visit Boys Town personally in order to see the fruits of your contribution first hand and to observe our students’ many achievements, alongside our many needs to continue helping boys from limited backgrounds turn into men with unlimited futures. Wishing you much health, happiness and the continued ability to help others.  

Yoni Strimber
International Development Executive Boys Town Jerusalem

We were lucky to have Colleen here in Israel
Colleen Davis was a “righteous gentile”. How lucky we are in Israel to have had her and still have her husband and son here with us in Raanana. The Davis’ spent their time singing the virtues of Israel every opportunity they had. Her obituary in ESRAmagazine #183 was by Sarena Bodner Zarbiv (not as printed). We will miss Colleen (pictured). May she rest in peace. 
Edna Koren
Now I can fulfill my education dream
I always dreamed of developing and   actualizing myself, but my difficult   financial situation practically prevented me from even thinking about obtaining   a higher education. Thanks to you I   now can fulfill my dream.   I want to thank you with all my heart   for your decision to grant me the   money to pay for my education.   Your heartwarming response has   given me tremendous motivation to   dedicate myself and succeed in my   studies.   God willing, I hope that in the near   future I myself will be able to donate to   you and to pass forward your   marvelous initiative.

Daniel K.   

Har Bracha 


Your assistance has lightened our load

Several months ago I applied to you for financial aid due to my husband’s worsening health   situation. Since then, his condition has  worsened and along with that so has our difficult financial situation. The assistance we received from you enabled us to manage and has considerably lightened our load.  I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your assistance and encouragement during this difficult time.      

Tadeg and Laikon H.     


Financial help is easing our burden

We want to thank you very much for the significant financial help that we received from you.  As we wrote in our application, we have enormous expenses, a large portion of which are not included in the     health basket of Kupat Holim.  We appreciate your great help and salute your wonderful work.      

D. family

Modiin Elite


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