Helped back to sanity
Nearly six years ago I lost my beloved sister in a car accident.
Left dazed and unprepared for living with grief, I soldiered on, assuring all those who asked that I was “fine”. I did look into grief counseling, briefly, but the price of each meeting was prohibitive, and I was sure I could manage by myself.
However, a few years down the line, all the sadness and yearning rose to the surface, and I found the simplest tasks overwhelming.
Then I spotted a small ad in the Five-Towns Yahoo! group, offering bereavement counseling free.
I carried the phone number around in my purse for another few months until finally I got the courage together and called.
That phone call changed my life.
Even the initial contact with Susan, with her caring manner and soothing voice, made a difference. She put me in touch with Ralph, and I was finally able to let out all the unspoken words and all the hidden feelings in a safe environment. I was helped back to sanity with kind words, simple instructions, reassurances and helpful tips.
I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you to Ralph for his time and efforts and healing voice, and to ESRA for providing such a valuable service.
*Full name given to ESRA MAGAZINE.
To contact ESRA’S Counseling & Support Service call Susan 054 698 9088.
Thank you ESRA Welfare Fund for making it possible to fulfill our dreams
- Thank you for a grant of 2000 shekels which I received from you. I am nearing the end of my studies and my husband is a trainee accountant. We are both new immigrants with much of our family still in Canada. For now, we are investing in our future and at the same time coping with the difficulties of the present. The generous grant will help me to invest more time in my studies and will lighten the burden on me and on my family. I thank you with all my heart. It is heartwarming to know that there are people who care about new immigrants. I hope that I will be able to repay this investment by giving back to the community in the future.
- It is not easy for new immigrants to study at university, considering the problems of learning the language, and of being accepted at university. New immigrants also encounter economic problems during their studies, such as paying student fees, covering board and lodging costs. All these problems present serious obstacles in the way of new immigrants achieving their degrees or even being accepted at university. As a result, they cannot fulfill their dream of a higher education. I too have experienced these problems, and so I would like to thank the ESRA Fund and the people who donate to the fund with all my heart. With your financial grant, you have made it possible for me and others like me to fulfill our dreams of achieving university degrees.
- Your prestigious grant will help me greatly. Thank you for enabling us students to develop within our chosen field. As I'm writing this letter, I have tears in my eyes - tears of joy because my family and I are in a very bad state financially. We had nobody to turn to for help, and I had no money to return home, and even the college website was closed to me. And then your grant arrived, like a light in the dark, and brightened up my life. It has given me the chance to pay for the rest of my studies, and allowed me to continue studying without financial worries. I promise you that I will do everything I can to advance and succeed so that I too can help people like me in the future. Hopefully, with your help, we will be able to raise a new generation to create a brighter and more successful future.
Serendipity with Ruth Reuven 99
I was delighted to read Esther Tolkin’s article about this remarkable lady (ESRA MAGAZINE #163) which prompts me to relate a personal anecdote which attests to Ruth Reuven’s charitable nature so admirably described by Esther in her article.
About 10 years ago, a Mancunian colleague recommended me to Ruth to provide a legal service, knowing that I grew up in Leeds. I promptly visited Ruth in her flat and was immediately captivated by her personality and fascinated by her life story, especially the trials of her late husband in WWII and also the fact that she and her family had hosted three Kindertransport children (my interest obviously due to the fact that I was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, of the 10,000 kinder that found sanctuary in the U.K. before the outbreak of war). To my astonishment, Ruth said that she had known my parents back in the 60s in Leeds. She had taught and conversed in Hebrew with my mother. After we finished our little business matter, just before leaving, Ruth stopped me at the door and said she wanted to give me something. I was flabbergasted to find that she had placed in my hands that same Soncino Chumash given to me by my Barmitzvah teacher 50 years earlier. When I asked her how she had obtained it, she related that one day in 1966 she had stopped by at my mother’s house and found my mother packing to emigrate to Florida. She had seen a number of sifrei kodesh in a carton (including several Gothic German/Hebrew machzorim that my father had brought out of Buchenwald) and with my mother being at a loss as to what to do with all these books, Ruth had said “Don’t worry Eva, these books are in safe hands.” And so it came to pass that by sheer luck and good fortune I got my Chumash back: she had already given the machzorim to a yekke shul in Haifa and all this due to the big heart of this amazing lady who (אי"ה)will turn 100 in June and who is incredibly lucid today…… ad 120 !
Only in Israel – Uzi Eilam
Leafing through the December/January issue of ESRA MAGAZINE, I noticed an article called Emeritus Chamber - Portrait of an Orchestra written by the orchestra's leader, Sam Zebba. In it he mentions his two trumpet players, one of whom, Uzi Eilam, is a retired Brigadier General and former Head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission. Uzi, he wrote, had recently published his autobiography.
I had the privilege of meeting Uzi Eilam twice, once in London and once in Jerusalem, and well remember that he led one of the battalions that fought their way through to the Kotel in 1967. Indeed, it was Uzi the trumpet player, standing next to Rabbi Shlomo Goren, then head of the Military Rabbinate of the Israel Defence Forces, immediately after this hallowed site had fallen into Israeli hands, who blew the shofar when the Chief Rabbi was too emotional to do so. I naturally, therefore, wanted to read his autobiography.
So I emailed Merle Guttmann, Editor of ESRA MAGAZINE, asking how to contact Sam Zebba for Uzi’s email address. Sam, in turn, replied straight away with Uzi Eilam's details. And, before going to bed, I emailed Uzi requesting details of his book and whether it had been translated into English.
This morning I found a response from Uzi, saying he remembered me well and giving me details of his book and its title in English - Only in Israel.
Invaluable Help of Volunteer Tutors
The big test was today and all the kids were outstanding! Seriously, they did better than we ever dreamed they would.....many got 100 and certainly most were over 95!
We want to thank you for the invaluable part you play in the success of our students. You are the ones who sit patiently with them and go over and over the interview and presentations, offering handy tips along the way. Your efforts also give them a chance to not only speak English, but to practice speaking to an audience, so to speak. You saw how the kids all wanted to come to you every week.....the volunteer days are certainly the most popular English days.
So, again, on behalf of our students and our school, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your wonderful efforts.
The Metro English Staff
TA Knitting Group donated 312 items
Hi – I’m Moshe, the mascot of ESRA’s Tel Aviv knitting group.
I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of my friends. By the end of last year, they had donated 312 items to two charitable organizations which care for children all over the country. Fifty-one of the items were knitted teddy bears, all dressed in shirts, and trousers with braces, hats, bow ties and pockets with handkerchiefs.
We received warm, appreciative letters of thanks with comments on how the children were enjoying their teddies. It always warms our hearts to produce the jerseys and the teddies.
I’d better leave now before my chest swells too much for my shirt!
Organizers: Shirley Kirsch & Noelle Pelleg
Sense of belonging, involvement, identification with ESRA
Four years down the line as an ESRA volunteer has made me think about what this involvement has meant to me.
Without a doubt, it has meant the world to me as a newcomer to Netanya, after living in Jerusalem and Karmiel for all my other 35 years in Israel.
- I immediately felt a sense of belonging by joining ESRA.
- I immediately felt a sense of involvement by volunteering in the ESRA framework.
There are things I love in the credo of ESRA. I love the fact that every volunteering act is also a donation to ESRA and the community. I love the fact that ESRA volunteers automatically pay for all events they attend, even if they’re the organizers!
I love the fact that I can be the one who has prepared an event or show or whatever, and then on the day I can actually be part of the audience and enjoy my hard work with all those who paid to be there, and I am no different – I also paid!
What a pure way of volunteering in and donating the community.
I often think about the financial crisis that has hit the world and the fact that nonprofit organizations are getting less money than they used to. Could there be a better way of supporting ESRA and the weaker communities than by donating our time, efforts and money at one and the same time – and knowing that everyone feels the same?
No wonder research shows that people who volunteer or donate sleep a lot better than the average and they are also very much happier people than the average.
Kol hakavod to the ESRA family – truly all for one and one for all!
Popular screenings in Rishon
A full house at Rishon Lezion ESRA film club was testament to the popularity of a recent screening. An added plus was the venue, the beautiful Rishon Lezion Museum and home of one of the founders of Israel's fourth largest city. The film, Who Shot My Father, was about the unsolved assassination of Joe Alon in 1973 in Washington DC, when he was Israel's Air Attaché. Two of his three daughters made the film and were there to answer questions after the film. They are still looking for answers…
Congratulations to Janet Kiesari and her terrific team of organizers. It was well worth the trip from Tel Aviv and I just want to say 'thank you'.
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