ABOUT ESRA MAGAZINE
Click here to see a short video produced by ESRAvision on the magazine production process.
The idea of an ESRA newsletter was voiced at the same meeting at which ESRA was conceived. One month after the organization’s establishment, in May 1979, Merle Guttmann, ESRA’s founder and first chairperson, began home-publication of a small 12-page newsletter. It was to be a medium to communicate with English speakers and to keep its readers informed of community projects and ESRA events, as well to be a forum for English speakers to express themselves and to advertize their services.
The newsletter has grown incrementally over the years: today, ESRA Magazine is a highly acclaimed 108-page full colored, bi-monthly publication that provides more than 20,000 readers with an informative and entertaining companion and guide to life in Israel. It is read by immigrants and veterans from the United States, England, Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa and their offspring. Quoting Carol Novis in City Lights, June 1991: “One of the most eagerly read magazines around is produced by a staff of amateurs, never sends subscription bills to its readers and has a journalistic level that can best be described as idiosyncratic. Yet while other English-language endeavors flounder, ESRA Magazine, the lively, original journal of the English Speaking Residents Association is flourishing….Unlike many other in-house publications, ESRA looks out rather than focusing on what is happening within the organization.”
The fascinating range of articles in ESRA Magazine reflects the amazing diversity of our writers' interests and expertise, and of local, community and national issues. It brings everything from arts to environment, volunteerism, food recipes to short fiction, photography to tax law, history to high-tech, and breakthroughs in medicine to discoveries in archeology.
The mouthpiece and showpiece of ESRA, the Magazine has a presence, a status and an importance in the English speaking community. It has in fact been a central tool in the creation of the English speaking community in the Sharon area and many cities in Israel.
Driven by a broad and combined view of what ESRA and the English speaking community need, the Magazine takes an overall perspective rather than a parochial one. It aims to serve the English speaking community in its multiple and variegated needs and to be of interest to all ages and all types of persons.
It is ESRA’s flagship, encapsulating ESRA’s spirit and actions. It shows ESRA as a dynamic, serious and quality community-minded organization which functions on a professional level despite the fact that it is run by volunteers. It is the vanguard of ESRA reaching far beyond its membership.
To our readers it offers a taste of life and living in Israel and a feeling of belonging. It helps English speakers to function through its articles, be they women or men, old or young, businesspersons or volunteers, well or ill, handicapped, religious or secular, divorced or married, environmentally and consumer conscious. It believes that if an article helps even only one family improve its life, then the article is worth publishing. The Magazine is a good place to find out what’s going on in the area, an excellent source of information on volunteer activity and a useful tool for finding services, jobs and accommodations.
Many readers wait for the Magazine, many read it from cover to cover, others read what interests them, many keep all the Magazines for useful information and reference. For many readers, who for lack of Hebrew are unexposed to mainstream Hebrew media, it overcomes the lack of alternate English publications in Israel.
To our advertizers it offers a way of reaching the English speaking community, in a reputable magazine, and for some it is their main source of livelihood. Most advertise for pure commercial reasons but a few to show their support of ESRA.
To our donors it acknowledges and publicizes their donations. There is a direct connection to the number of donations received and the publication of the Magazine. The very issue of the Magazine reminds people that the Esra Community Fund is a cause worth donating to.
To our sponsors of events it offers a medium for ESRA to thank them, and gives them exposure both before and after the event.
To our volunteers, or would-be volunteers, it offers a medium for getting involved, providing opportunities, stimulating them and giving them ideas. To active volunteers it allows their stories to be told, to encourage others, to be recognized. It allows ESRA to thank our volunteers publicly and gives us a way of mobilizing more volunteers for our projects.
To the English speaking community at large, it offers a forum to write their stories, to reminisce, to find friends, to identify and to belong, to share experiences, to notify of their activities. Anyone is free to write articles for the Magazine provided that it suits the make-up and spirit of the Magazine and is of an acceptable standard. Many would-be writers are given the opportunity and encouragement to try their hand at writing and to gain confidence through the ESRA Magazine.
To English teachers, it provides material for their classes.
How is the ESRA Magazine produced?
Since its inception the Magazine believed in and endeavored to cover its production costs through advertising.
The Magazine is written, edited and proofed by volunteers. Its Editorial Board comprises 22 persons, most of whom are professional writers. In addition to critically reviewing material, the Board sets Magazine policy and generates new ideas. It strives to be dynamic in content, design and production.