For over thirty years Stella Padeh has been volunteering for ESRA in different capacities. In fact, she was one of ESRA’s first volunteers back in 1979. Stella has a very special place in the ESRA Magazine as she typed the first magazines on her bedroom balcony in her apartment in Herzliya. Stella also wrote articles for the magazine, and frequent letters on consumer subjects. She came to ESRA’s meetings during those early years, and helped out whenever she could.

Twelve years ago Stella and her husband David moved to Modiin. She became involved in ESRA Modiin’s first committee. Very soon she became one of Modiin’s most active and involved volunteers, fulfilling multiple jobs and writing articles for Modiin Ezrach, ESRA’s local newsletter.

She served on the committee which arranged social meetings for the English speaking 48+ immigrants, a group she eventually chaired.

Stella represented ESRA at the bimonthly volunteer meetings organized by the municipality where representatives shared their views on how to help the people of Modiin. She also represented Modiin on ESRA’s branch committee and participated in several volunteer training sessions.

Stella helped start the first English library in Modiin in the Rishonim high school, an important service for English speakers as there were only Hebrew books in the library. When the school needed volunteers to tutor pupils who were struggling in the English language, Stella mobilized people from the 48+ group.

When active volunteers left Modiin, Stella was always there to help out, to fill the gap. Amongst other roles she fulfilled were picking up ESRA magazines from Herzliya and distributing them, being treasurer, starting the ESRA Scrabble club and serving as the depot for selling ESRA’s embroidery products made by immigrants from Ethiopia.

In addition to her organizational roles, Stella helped people on a personal basis, a very human one which brought new settlers to Modiin. She was constantly telephoned by people from abroad wanting to live in Modiin and needing her help re realtors and schools.  If people couldn’t get to the 48+ social evenings she would arrange for another member to pick them up, as she wanted them to meet people and make new friends.

One of Stella’s successes in networking is the story of a lady who lived in Jerusalem, but wanted to live in Modiin and needed advice before deciding whether to relocate. Stella invited her to the ESRA 48+ meetings and even found a friend to host her for the weekend.  This lady made many friends that evening and has since settled in Modiin and is completely integrated into the community.

Thank you Stella for epitomizing and embodying the Spirit of ESRA, for always being there for ESRA, always doing for ESRA, being ESRA in Modiin.


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Merle Guttmann

Merle Guttmann was born and educated in Zimbabwe and immigrated to Israel in 1962. She is well-known in Israeli Anglophone circles and Israel’s social and volunteer fields. A social planner, ...

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