ESRA Volunteer Award Winners 2010                                    

The entrance hall to the Raanana Arts Center was full of people milling around tasting cheese and wine, biting into the delicious choice of biscuits, eating grapes or drinking a cup of tea or coffee.  The place was buzzing with conversation, many were happy to meet up with old friends.  Some guests were visitors to Israel and voiced their enthusiasm for being at an ESRA event. The distinguished hall filled up with the participants for the evening, the honorees sat with their friends and families.

Adv. Hertzel Katz, witty as usual, moderated the event with aplomb and the Mayor of Raanana, Mr. Nahum Hofri, in his greetings, spoke words of encouragement to the volunteers and showed that he really appreciates ESRA and its work.

Merle Guttmann, ESRA’s Founder and President, spoke with high respect for volunteers and their abilities and achievements. She said that she had a dream that ESRA would  remain a purely volunteer organization and would not be lured into taking employees for jobs that volunteers can do as professionally and as seriously.  There was no better proof that it was possible than the 2010 award winners; that nine out of ten of them were doing a professional job in ESRA, using their skills and experience on a voluntary basis. "It is also amazing", said Guttmann, "that ESRA’s one thousand volunteers are coordinated very proficiently by a volunteer, Valerie Kantor".

The awards ceremony followed with ESRA co-chairs Nina Zuck and Adele Hunter calling up the ten recipients, one at a time, and giving a personal touch to their stories. They spoke warmly about the work of each of these award winners and their unique individual contribution to ESRA. Vice chair & volunteer coordinator Valerie Kantor presented the winners with their certificates of appreciation. The Raanana Outstanding Volunteer Trophy was presented by Alan Katz who initiated the trophy. The selection of award winners of varying ages (some still in the workforce) covered a wide range of volunteering fields from technical to professional, from organizing cultural activities on a high level to 'hands on' help.

Every volunteer event is special. This time there was a fascinating presentation by guest speaker Saul Singer, co-author of the book Israel - Start up Nation with lots of graphic examples which we the laymen could understand. He is a fairly new immigrant from the States and on the spot he became an ESRA member.

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Adele Rubin

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