Harpist Liraz Choloniewski delighted her audience in a recital she gave to ESRA Modiin.
ESRA Modiin has made firm strides in piquing renewed interest for veteran ESRA members and, as importantly, attracting newcomers and introducing them to our activities. Along the way we have endured frustrating setbacks (as my co-chair, Jackie Klein, noted in her “Modiin Mambo: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back”, in magazine #152), but we are also gaining experience and knowledge as to what works for the local Anglo population. Our motto has become “try, try, and try again”.
We are still in a learning curve, but a clear winner was our harp recital which we organized in mid-March.
By 8pm when the recital was due to start, Jackie and I were darting doubtful glances at one another as only a handful of people had arrived. Suddenly, the onslaught began and the room was soon comfortably full enough for us to give the go-ahead to our harpist, Liraz Choloniewski. People still kept dribbling in - on tiptoe - so that soon all seats were occupied and it became standing room only.
The concert was a delight and very well received. Liraz, a new immigrant from France who made aliyah three and a half years ago, presented a range of pieces from ancient to modern, showing her versatility for classical music as well as popular Israeli tunes. In addition, she spoke a little about the instrument itself, offering guests more than just a musical evening. After the performance she answered questions from the fascinated audience. Then followed light refreshments included in the price of the ticket, and some sales of our Ethiopian handcrafts and second hand books.
While the idea for a harp concert was a shot in the dark, it ended brilliantly. It was an intimate evening with a talented artist, up close and personal. And more friends were won for ESRA. Several guests subsequently posted positive messages to the Modiin List about the “beautiful and enchanting evening” with warm thanks. These encourage us that we are on the right track, and also enhance awareness about ESRA in Modiin.
Our bookstore, Modiin-style…
Since we have not yet found a store in the city, we have had to be innovative: an email “online bookstore” elicited 200 enquiries and now comprises our mailing list for notifications of activities; our first book sale in a private home elicited outstanding returns in just two hours; the second sale, this time in a more convenient location, proved to be a similar success despite it being Lag B’Omer, and reinforced our conviction that there is a sure market in Modiin for second-hand English books; a storeroom graciously donated by Hinda Hausdorff provided a home for our books (“deliverance” at last!); and the recent installation of three bookcases invites the possibility of actually using the store-room for book sales. until such time as we secure a formal store. Our special gratitude also to Avraham and Tomer Rotstein, whose assistance in delivering and installing two large bookcases was invaluable and a feat of persistence, and to Georgia Daniel for the gift of our first bookcase.
And as we go to print, ESRA Modiin is thrilled to report that we may, just may, be closing in on a book store in a prime location in the city. Watch this space for developments!
“Why ESRA?” Brunch
Our first ESRA Brunch in early May was another hit. We used the brunch as a platform to achieve several objectives, primarily, to publicly thank our many volunteer tutors in our English Bagrut Conversation Program (we have a corps of 25 people and growing…). Next, we invited all ESRA members in Modiin to attend as we hosted National Officers Adele Hunter, new co-chair, and Rene Goldstein, membership chair, along with Linda Olmert, Executive Director who spoke about the importance of ESRA’s worthy projects. To add further interest, we arranged a raffle with great prizes donated by local businesses, which raised over five hundred shekels. The brunch proved the perfect occasion for signing up 10 new members, reflecting our increasing influence on the Modiin Anglo landscape.
ESRA Cinema Club
Our venture into the ESRA Cinema Club once again proved a successful endeavor. All 52 seats in the youth center cinema were sold with full attendance. The only fly in the ointment was the DVD which stubbornly ceased 10 minutes from the end of “Waves of Freedom”. Luckily, Murray Greenfield was on hand to make light of the glitch.
About our Committee…
As we all know, our activities would not be possible without the efforts of our local ESRA Modiin committee. On behalf of Jackie and myself, our thanks to each one of them, Linda Lewis, Marcia Primes and Helen Brandwein, and our newest members, Vicky Pilo, Flori Cohen and Juliette Kuritzky.
Cynthia can be contacted at 050 825 1923 and Jackie at 052 747 2151.