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Mike Altman was born in 1941 in Bury-Manchester and survived the war in his parents’ impressive 42-room mansion. In 1948 the family moved to Cape Town, South Africa. Many years were spent in the 10 th Green and Sea Point, mostly Jewish scout troop.

In 1960 Mike became a computer technician and worked on one of the first large computers ever built. Says Mike: When we switched on the computer in the morning, it took so much power people couldn’t read the newspaper in the rest rooms.

Mike studied karate for 17 years and all this time played badminton, once reaching the Western Province finals. Not being a South African citizen, he also volunteered for the South African army reserves in an Afrikaans unit, being the only Jew there. He never experienced anti- Semitism in the army, ever.

He and Norma married in 1967. In 1969 they came to live in Israel with their two-month-old daughter, Ilanit, to the Ben-Yehuda Ulpan in Netanya. Their son Shai was born in 1971 and Ariel in 1975 both at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. All their children are married and the Altmans have seven grandchildren all living in Israel.

Mike worked at IBM in Jerusalem fixing main-frame-computer systems. He became a soldier in 1972 and a NCO in 1973 as after the Yom-Kippur war a lot of NCO’s were missing. Says Mike: “The Israeli army was a bit of a shock, as we were expected to solve most problems ourselves by being imaginative. During my reserve duty years I spent two of them in a hostage rescue unit and trained by the legendary Yoman, the police special unit.”

In 1982 at the age of 42 the Altmans moved to Herzliya as Mike was promoted and sent to the IBM Tel Aviv office. Having a very high security clearance he worked in IDF bases, the universities and the Weizmann Institute on their large computer systems. At age 52 he left IBM to become a technical writer. He worked with exceptionally smart people on many Israeli inventions that have changed the world.

Mike loves sports and when they moved to Herzliya I learnt to dive and wind-surf. Today he only plays badminton.

In 2010 the Altmans moved back to Netanya. He became very involved in ESRA activities, tutoring English and he helped a remarkable at-risk student publish a collection of her poems and later when she enlisted in the army he gave her counseling to helping her manage on a daily basis. Today he manages computer created online forms for the ESRA Netanya Calendar. He helped acquire the home cinema equipment for the Netanya lecture series. He also takes photos at some ESRA events and trips.

Says Mike: “Our life really changed socially when we moved to Netanya and became active members of ESRA. I believe that volunteering enriches your life with both good health and a happier life.” In 2016 he received an ESRA outstanding volunteer award.

 This morning, I attended an ESRA lecture given by Anat...
Mike Altman

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The 150 meter ravine at Nahal Amud.   Story and photos by Mike Altman

Outside the Music Hall at Beit Shafriri on Kibbutz Kvutzat Kinneret a museum in honor of Naomi Shemer

Many people on the ESRA Dona Gracia trip dressed up in 16th century costumes. They included Avraham Hanson and his wife, Cecily (below, sitting), who organized the event

Norma and I joined the ESRA Dona Gracia trip, thanks to the ...