My recollection of the publication eleven years ago (ESRAmagazine #139, April 2007), there was an article by Rika Meyerowitz* of the names of the volunteers in their 80s still delivering ESRAmagazines. This is prompting me to pen this letter in admiration and praise of my sister and neighbor, Jean Cohen, who, at age 91 is still delivering her bundle of ESRAmagazines and without a motor car.
Her “modus operandi”? With the magazines stacked in her agalah (pull along trolley), she takes the internal Ramat Hasharon bus to a convenient point, alights and wends her way on foot delivering the magazines on a zig-zag route homewards.
What's more, she has been delivering the ESRAmagazine since its first issue in May 1979. She has been doing the present route for the past 13 years since being without her car, prior to which she delivered a much larger number of magazines than the 11 or 12 that are in her bundle now and further afield in Ramat Hasharon. To date Jean has delivered approximately 3,480 ESRAmagazines during her 40 years of being an ESRA postwoman.
Her other volunteering also includes weekly afternoon classes in English at a social club for under-achieving school goers as well as volunteering at the Botanical Gardens on the campus of the Tel Aviv University. She continues her longtime participation in archaeology lectures and outings at the Tel Aviv University and enjoys the opera and Israel Philharmonic concerts, to which she still subscribes.
Jean entertains, hosts house guests and enjoys her garden and gardening.
She still lives in her home in Ramat Hasharon into which she, her late husband Dr. Mattie Cohen, and their four children moved after their aliyah from South Africa in 1969. And she states emphatically that she is not ready or willing to move out of her home and change her lifestyle.
Though very knowledgeable about buses, bus timetables and bus routes, she remains a familiar figure walking with her agalah en route to the supermarket.
Kol Hakavod to Jean. May she carry on in continued good health and spirit.
*Rika Meyerowitz was the volunteer Coordinator of the distribution of ESRAmagazines for eleven years, from 1999 to 2009.