Lifetime Award winner Barbara Blum with Brenda Katten, ESRA Chairperson

 CHANA LUGASSI CHANA was born in Morocco, married at 14 and made aliyah with her husband and five children in 1958. Three other children were born in Israel. Chana started volunteering 12 years ago in the ESRA second-hand shop in Kfar Saba and has proved to be a wonderful help in sorting through all the donated goods that arrive on a daily basis. She appears every morning to volunteer for three to four hours, and has never let the shop down. ESRA could not have managed without her. Her commitment has set a good examplefor her children some of whom also come into the shop to volunteer.

 GLENIS BERTFIELD GLENIS and her husband Laurence made aliyah with her 90 year-old mother in 2008. She and Laurence have organized ‘a walking bus’, taking 25 to 40 children to the Ariel School in Raanana. Glenis became involved with ESRA soon after arriving in Raanana and took over as Befrienders Coordinator. She now has 25 Befrienders visiting and helping the elderly and lonely people in the Sharon area. She works closely with the Raanana office, and has helped organize many functions, including a major fashion fundraising show.

 ESTER TOLKIN ESTHER was born in Transylvania in 1947. She came to Israel with her parents in 1948 and in 1956 travelled to South Africa with her father Rabbi Engel. She returned briefly to Israel in 1970 with husband Jack who did his medical internship. They went back to South Africa in 1972 where she continued to be involved in community empowerment programs. In 1978 she returned to Israel. For five years she has volunteered in ESRA at Bayit Cham in Netanya, an afternoon center for teenage girls at risk. She is very involved in the project and being a social worker has contributed in general and to the girls in particular.

 FRANK KALIE FRANK was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to Israel in 1968. He is married and has two sons. Until 1982 he worked as a tour operator and after was employed in the sale of raw material for the local thermoplastic industry until his retirement. In 2010, Frank became an ESRA volunteer exactly at the time that the magazine’s new website was being started. His work on the website is invaluable. With every new issue, Frank also uploads a back issue. This means that every two and a half months, Frank uploads two issues onto the magazine website – the current one and a back one.

 JANE KESSLER JANE made aliyah from the US in 1979 with husband Bob and their four children. She moved to Raanana in 1985, and made her connection with the ESRA knitting group after she retired. In addition to her volunteer work, Jane is a talented artist. Her work has been displayed at a number of venues in both Raanana and Tel Aviv. Jane is currently the coordinator of the ESRA knitting group in Raanana. With her attention to detail and personal touch, Jane has managed to create a vibrant social group of women, bringing together Anglos and Hebrew speakers all working for the benefit of the community. 

 DINA KEUSCH DINA was born to parents who fled Austria in 1938. She is married with two children and seven grandchildren. For 25 years she was a social science teacher in Ramat Hasharon. She met Merle Guttmann who was setting up learning centers for immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia. Dina helped in the centers ESRA created, and was invited to help in the welfare project which she has been involved with for many years. Dina plays a pivotal role in the work of the welfare committee by reviewing every application that is sent in.

  CYNTHIA BARMOR AND JACKIE KLEIN CYNTHIA made aliyah in 1968 from South Africa. In 1973 she started working at Keren Kayemeth Leisrael (JNF) in the American Department. From 1975-1993 she was also worked part-time as a radiographer. In 1986, Cynthia (above, left) co-founded a nonprofit organization, Hillel, for parents of children with learning disorders. JACKIE was born in London during World War Two to a Dutch Jewish family. She married Alan in 1965 and in 1976 they emigrated to South Africa. Jackie started a promotional gift company which she sold five years later. In 2006 they came to live in Israel. In 2008 Jackie was asked to become chairperson of ESRA Modiin. She agreed on condition that she find a co-chair who was proficient in Hebrew. This is how her dynamic partnership with her friend Cynthia began. In 2009 they revitalized ESRA Modiin. Cynthia and Jackie make a perfect team: Cynthia manages the ESRA bookshop, coordinates Neve ESRA, an after-school center for children at-risk and excels in PR. Together they organize a multitude of social and cultural activities and Jackie’s extensive experience in finance, administration and organization skills contributes greatly to the success that is ESRA Modiin.

 BARBERA BLUM BARBARA was born in London, qualified in dentistry in 1947 and began private practice during the early years of the National Health Service. She married Sydney, a South African, had four sons, worked in the Royal Dental Hospital and later went to Hong Kong to establish the Faculty of Dentistry for the university. On retiring the Blums immigrated to Israel. Her husband died shortly after. Barbara brought with her from the Far East some hi-tech music equipment and her friends encouraged her to play CDs to them as they were keen to hear how music would sound with the new technology. That’s how a very talented Barbara launched a second career. In her own words: “It all started with music on disc and a little chat about the background. “Over the past 25 years it has proven to be a great hobby, one I thoroughly enjoy sharing with my friends.”

 RALPH LANESMAN RALPH was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1925. He qualified as a chartered accountant, taking time out to serve with Machal during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948-49. He made aliyah with his wife Freda in 1980. From the inception of the ESRA Community Fund in 1989, Ralph served on a volunteer basis in its financial administration and management and attended to its accounting matters. He was for many years chairman of the ESRA Control Committee, responsible for supervising and checking the proper financial running of the organization. In that capacity he also attended meetings of the Executive and Finance Committees and offered valuable counsel and advice on important issues. Several years ago, he and Freda jointly received an award for volunteering from the Raanana Municipality.  

 DENISE SILVERMAN DENISE and husband Maurice, emigrated to Raanana from Johannesburg in 1987, following their three children who were in Israel. Denise has volunteered at Beit Issie Shapiro, Ichilov Hospital and Beth Protea. When she joined the ESRA Kfar Sava/ Hod Hasharon Ladies’ Committee, then Chairperson Phyllis Bloch, suggested she help the Ethiopian Embroidery Project. Now, some 900 hand towels, many tote bags, tissue and cell phone holders, check-book covers and make-up bags later, she still enjoys many hours of cutting out and sewing.

 ISABEL MORRIS ISABEL was born in Birmingham a few days before Israel declared independence. Married with two children, the family made aliyah in 1982. Isabel trained as a teacher in England and taught in London. She has been an active member of Emunah in Israel and has done other voluntary work. She has been volunteering in the ESRA Raanana second-hand shop once a week for over six years. Isabel does an invaluable job sorting through the huge volume of clothing and goods received and selecting the saleable items.

 JOAN STEIN WEISMAN JOAN came to Israel in 1972 and began working as a teacher, spending 10 years in Jerusalem. In 1982 she met Allan. They moved to Kiryat Shmona before setting up home in Karmiel. Moving to Netanya in 2008 she began volunteering in ESRA. Her first project was the Hefzibah girls’ choir. Next was with the Hefzibah dancing girls. Joan is also an active bereavement counselor with ESRA. Since 2011 she has helped coordinate the Netanya English Lecture Series.  

 MYRA (YUDELMAN) OLSWANG MYRA was born in Johannesburg in 1945 and graduated in librarianship from Wits University. In 1967 she married Les and they immigrated to Israel in 1968 where their three children were born. Myra worked for many years as a librarian at the high school in Ramat Hasharon. In a part-time capacity she set up the research library at the Diamond Museum, Ramat Gan. She was an information officer at Scitex/Creo/Kodak and became department manager. Retiring at the end of 2009, she started volunteering as the Webmaster for the ESRA MAGAZINE’s website. Her skills have proved invaluable. She has done an outstanding job with care, professionalism and intelligence.

  SHIRLEY FRANKEL AND LORNA TOUBE SHIRLEY immigrated to Israel from South Africa in 1970. She is the proud granny of four grandsons, all born in Israel. Shirley (left, above) was employed as a secretary at the Jaffa Institute. LORNA, her husband and two children immigrated to Israel from South Africa 24 years ago. She is a secretary in a legal firm in Herzliya Pituach and has one granddaughter. Five years ago they both saw a notice inviting anyone who was interested in joining a new ESRA group in Rishon LeZion to attend a meeting at Janet Kiesari’s apartment. Ideas were exchanged and Adele Hunter and Audrey Goodman spoke about the work of ESRA. When Lorna and Shirley heard about the knitting groups in Raanana and Ramat Aviv, they decided to start their own. They approached their friends inviting them to join. In their first year they knitted and distributed 60 sweaters. In 2012 the number was 250 which they personalized as gifts for at-risk kids. Through their group, ESRA Rishon has initiated a ‘cooperation’ with residents of the Ad-120 Retirement Home who help with the knitting project and are involved in other activities, such as a pre-Rosh Hashanah bazaar and an outing to the Opera. 





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Sounds like a great organization. The people you have seem wonderful. What a committed group. Reading about the individuals is inspiring.

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ESRAmagazine documents and illustrates the life of the English-speaking community in Israel. It keeps readers in touch with the community, with each other, and involves them in life in Israel. Cont...

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