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We've Got Mail 186

 Letters from the Amit Boys Religious High School, Modiin . . .

Dear Modiin Volunteers,

I will eternally remember my hours with you searching for different words for media, confusing scenic with cynic, or saying intricate words for sheer amusement. The time with you was invaluable for me, both for my pronunciation and for my grammar. The time with you was something to look forward to. Now during the summer vacation I will wait eagerly for the first of September for the time we will meet each other again. I spent a lot of time with you. Not enough, but a lot, and some of the discussions with you will be eternally stored in my memory. There were discussions about the system of the elections in Israel, J-street and even some discussions about my family. I remember the delight that I felt every time I knew I was going to talk to you – to talk to someone in English and sometimes also about English. This thing is an opportunity I rarely have. All this you did without asking for anything in return and for this I am eternally thankful. Waiting for the next time.

It was a pleasure to talk with you. I cannot even describe how helpful the time which you spent with us was. The conversations which I had with you were the only chance for me to talk English, apply what we learned and improve my vocabulary. All that is left to say is thank you.

Speaking with you added to my understanding of English. It was a special experience. Furthermore, the conversations were very interesting and enjoyable. Thanks a lot.

Thank you for a rich and wonderful year. In the last year we learn and have fun with you. Because of you I have a lot of improvement and for that I thank you so much.

Ray of light

Thank you for your generous assistance of NIS3,000 to Denise Z. Your assistance was a ray of light at a time of great difficulty, and provided substantial assistance in paying her obligations. May your excellent work be rewarded.

Avital Kapah, Social Worker

Oncology Department, Soroka Medical Center

Happiness, joy and relief

Thank you for your decision to offer me a financial grant for my studies in Mechanical Engineering at the Technion.

I am aged 29. I immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 2008 with my family who live in Ma'ale Adumim. There are eight in the family and I am the second son. I have four brothers and one sister. My parents are unemployed and live off a monthly allowance from National Insurance.

I recently found that I could not continue my studies for financial reasons, and it was necessary for me to stay with my parents most of the time. This prevented me from going ahead with my studies.

This letter cannot convey the happiness, joy and sense of relief brought by the knowledge that you decided to offer me a grant. With the help of your donation I will be able to continue my studies knowing that I have financial security. Moreover, the scholarship will bring me stability and enable me to pay my debts.

As a professional, I see myself as a person who can give to society and the community.

Temasgen E.

Ma'ale Adumim

An honor to receive a scholarship

Thank you, my generous benefactor, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me the scholarship. I was very excited when I learned about it, and want you to know that it will be of great assistance in my studies as well as in my personal life. It is an honor for me to receive the scholarship from wonderful people, and it is heartwarming to know that there are good people with very big hearts. I sincerely hope that when the time comes, I too will be able to extend assistance like you have done. Many thanks.

I would also like to thank you, Anat Shifter, and ESRA for your support and help. You are amazing people. May there be many more like you.

Yossi L.


Tania ... see letter below

I have had many struggles

I was born in Belarus in 1989. My parents died when I was 5 years old. I was adopted by a very nice woman until I came to Israel to Kfar Hassidim when I was 9 years old. I lived with other kids together in the same house. My older sister (10) also lived with me. We had a special counselor who took care of us all the time.

Today I am 27 years old. I am studying nursing at the Emek Yizrael College, am in my third year and live in the dorms.

From the beginning of my studies in college I have had many struggles, such as finding a permanent residence and emotional support.

I want to thank you for your philanthropic activity. I would be happy to see you and to invite you to a meeting.

Tania P.

Emek Yizrael 

Spend time capturing on camera the beauty that is Tuscany

Join me in a dream week of photography in the breathtaking scenery of Tuscany - the green hills, the beautiful light, the magical sunset. We will be visiting picturesque towns (Siena, Volterra, San Gimignano, Colle val d'Elsa) and will be driving through scenic roads known only to a few. And we will be receiving lectures from various experts during this week - art, food, wine, agriculture and plenty more - so that we can understand better what it is we're photographing. I speak fluent Italian and I know Tuscany extremely well. For details see

Dana Ram

Photographer and photography teacher

Tel Aviv

Tel: 054 661 9910

To ESRA Subscription department:

Thank you for sending the copy of the ESRA Magazine which I really enjoy.

Erna Lemon

Tel Mond

You've really made a difference to these children's lives, 
Victoria   Victoria Habib travels to Sderot once a week all the way from Raanana. She really loves the town and the people.

Dear Victoria,

I would like to thank you for your contribution to our community. First, to express my gratitude

for your generosity in paying for Lial's private English and Math lessons that enabled her to keep up with the pupils in a class for gifted children ... and also for the English lessons you gave at the Afikei Or Club and now to the children at the Atzmaut Club.

You have helped change the children's attitude to studying English.

We hope you will continue to be with us in the next school year. As is said: "Were there more people like you who give of themselves with such love".

Tali Angadia

Director of the Atzmaut Ethiopian Community Center Sderot

On the road to Cardiff with our growling hound and the mohel who could fix cars

I read the two articles in ESRAmagazine #185 on pages 82 and 83 in the last issue with pleasure as each recalled happy memories for me.

Rabbi Leonard Book's highly amusing observations reminded me of a hot, three-hour journey which my husband and I had made from London to Cardiff in the 1990s in our elderly Volvo Estate car, to attend the brit milah of our great-nephew. Together with our dog, Pepper, who was installed behind a metal grille at the back, we were giving a lift to Rabbi Book, the mohel, who had joined us with his kettle and all his other equipment. To have a rabbi in our car was a great honor and we were on our best behavior.

Unfortunately, Pepper wasn't. To our deep discomfort, he kept up an endless chorus of growling and, worse, barking. Adding greatly to our embarrassment, when we were halfway there an ominous knocking could be heard from the engine. Rabbi Book, nonplussed, suggested that he would help.

With the car parked on the hard shoulder, and removing his hat, he cheerfully crawled underneath the car and, to our astonishment, happily fiddled with its undercarriage for some time before emerging triumphantly having fixed the problem. A most unusual rabbi, as his article, "Three Rs: Rabbinical, Rantings and Ravings" confirms!

The facing article featured an English-language schools' debating tournament. I recalled how, as a Jewish teacher in a secular school in Hampstead in the 1980s, I had been delighted to host the female members of Israel's talented teenage debating team in an exciting international contest taking place in London. (One of the girls was the daughter of Yonatan Netanyahu's wife, by her second husband.) They went on to acquit themselves outstandingly well, a true credit to Israel.

Judy Frankel


At work at the Haifa Center

Visit Haifa, where your creative potential awaits

Come and discover your creative potential in the city of Haifa!

The Haifa Center of Ceramics and Art offers a wide range of courses, workshops and team- building activities, and all the teachers speak really good English. The Center is unique in its vision to encourage creative expression through integrating the worlds of material, spirit and science.

We already have quite a few Anglos studying with us.

This autumn we will start our yearly courses. Have a look at our Facebook page (you do not have to be a member of Facebook), just click on: Most of the information is in Hebrew but you can phone me for a chat in English, Janet: 054 432 2887, or 054 301 9466 (Bati), or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wishing you a creative new year,

Dr. Janet Gino


Why I am no longer self-conscious

I am writing to thank you for including the interesting and informative articles on Nordic walking and its benefits, by Don Silverberg, in your recent publications. Having read the articles, my husband and I decided we would like to give it a go; my husband to keep fit, and me, hoping to lessen my stoop and very rounded shoulders. After receiving instruction from a walking group in Modiin we have set out using the poles every evening for the past two weeks.

The effects on me have been quite surprising, I stand straight when walking (and for a period of time afterwards). I manage to walk uphill without having to stop to take a breather, and the constant pain in my neck has lessened.

Yes, I did feel very self-conscious the first couple times I walked around the moshav where I live, but now I couldn't care less as the benefits for me are well worth the few stares and comments. Thank you Don.
Linda Alman

Kfar Daniel 

Rabbi Leonard Book

Rabbi Leonard: a great wit and excellent writer

Just a line to say how much I enjoyed Rabbi Leonard Book's article in the last magazine #185.

I have read his articles before and he is such a great wit and an excellent writer. I look forward to reading more of his works.

Bernard Goodman


Scotching the myth that there isn't any anti-Semitism

With reference to the article on Jewish Tartan by Stephen Kilner (ESRAmagazine #185) and the quote by Rabbi Jacobs: … "Scotland is one of the few countries with no history of anti-Semitism":

According to my father who was a school teacher in Glasgow for over 35 years, about 5% of the population was Jewish. 25% of the teachers in Glasgow schools were Jewish. Only ONE Jewish teacher became head of a department, only ONE Jewish teacher became headmaster of a small school.

Jews were not admitted to golf clubs - They bought their own golf club eventually. Jews were not admitted to other associations, social clubs, etc.

If this is not anti-Semitism, what is?

One of the reasons I came to Israel was anti-Semitism.

Lang may yer lum reek Wi' ither folks coal!


David Heyman

Rishon LeZion

The rap that's shaking up the Jewish world

Two Orthodox girls did an outstanding rap about Dor Yeshorim testing: an organization that offers genetic testing to prospective Orthodox marriage partners in order to prevent hereditary disabilities/diseases, such Tay-Sachs.

The rap was filmed and - unbeknownst to them - uploaded on social media, going viral with an article on Forward and numerous responses, causing a fire-storm of controversy in the Orthodox community, but also serving to point up the urgency of pre-nuptial genetic testing - a growing need among Jews and other insular populations world-wide.

To quote the Mayo Clinic website:

"Tay-Sachs disease occurs most frequently among people whose ancestors come from Eastern and Central European Jewish communities (Ashkenazi Jews), from certain French Canadian communities in Quebec, the Old Order Amish community in Pennsylvania and from the Cajun community of Louisiana. A child who inherits the gene from both parents develops Tay-Sachs disease."

Nor is it confined to the Ashkenazi community; intermarriage over the centuries has also led to cases cropping up in Ashkenazi-Sephardi mixed marriages.

The rap itself _- (DorYesharim) and Dor Yeshorim mission statement (Dor Yeshorim Video Presentation) can both be seen on YouTube.

Siri Jones-Rosen


Put responsibility on bike riders and also on the pedestrians

Firstly, congratulations to Raanana Concerned Residents for your good work (ESRAmagazine #185 – "Make streets safe for pedestrians"). The problem is not only with electric bikes but also with ordinary ones, and especially with motor bikes. It seems to me that the Ministry of Transport (e.g. in their radio messages) puts too much onus on vehicle drivers to drive carefully, and not nearly enough on bike riders and pedestrians (especially children) to take responsibility for their personal safety and that of others. Parents and teachers are also responsible for teaching kids how to cross roads safely. Are they taught any sort of road safety code in schools –to look both ways and not at their mobile phones; to wait until they are sure that any approaching car is actually going to stop before stepping into the road? It seems not. Correct me if I'm wrong. Riders of all types of bicycles should have to pass a Cycling Proficiency Test in school or elsewhere, including theory and practical, and bike sellers should have to sell a helmet and proper lights (constant, not flashing) with every bike.

Philip Cutland


As the Day of Atonement looms, I'd like to share this with ESRAmagazine readers. Last year a shul in the UK – it shall be nameless – sent an email to members listing 'five forbidden acts' on Yom Kippur. They included eating and drinking, wearing leather shoes, and this: Married to relations.So now you know!Anthony GreenModiinWant to be a vegan? Then make sure that you eat a healthy diet

I read with interest the article by Carol Novis in ESRAmagazine #185, and, as a doctor with a nutrition based practice, I wish to comment on another vegan myth which was only obliquely addressed.

This is the assumption or belief that vegan food (food which does not contain meat, chicken, fish, dairy, or eggs) is more healthy than non-vegan alternatives. It is true that a vegan diet MAY be more healthy but this also depends on what it contains. The definition of vegan food allows inclusion of highly processed items such as sodas, white bread, chips or crisps, deep fried foods, sugared foods, tropical oils such as palm and coconut, heavily salted foods and so on. Leaving out the saturated fats, hormones and antibiotics found in animal products certainly removes major harmful elements from the diet, but if these are replaced with highly processed foods with large doses of sugar, oil and salt, there may not be much, or indeed, any benefit to health.

The healthy vegan diet would be one based on vegetables, fruits, pulses, whole grains and some seeds, minimizing or eliminating additional salt, oil and sugar, and including a vitamin B12 supplement. Important medical studies such as those of Dr Ornish, Dr Esselstyn, Dr Barnard and Dr Fuhrman* point to the ability of such a diet to prevent and reverse heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other ills which are major causes of death and disability.

I deeply appreciate the humanitarian and ecological motivations for veganism. But as a doctor, my primary concern is the health aspect. The bottom line is, if you want to be vegan, please be a healthy vegan! And please do not make the mistake of eating unhealthy processed foods in the belief that they are good for you.

Dr Miriam Maisel

Tel Aviv

*A partial list of publications by these medical nutrition researchers can be found on the website

Inaugural ESRA conference 'had real buzz'

"What a great day!", "Terrific program", "Very informative and interesting", and "So glad I came!" were just a few of the many comments made by ESRA Modiin members who attended ESRA's first-ever National Conference on May 22nd. Indeed, the exciting buzz was prevalent throughout the day, evidence of the impressive turnout and well-planned programming that included interactive discussions and entertainment.

ESRA Modiin was represented by a large contingent of 20 members. Co chairwomen, Cynthia Barmor and Jackie Klein, along with committee members, Jackie Graham, Carol Lipman and Ilana Harf spoke at the various discussion panels which represented the range of ESRA activities. The day's events concluded on a high note with a most appropriate and enthusiastic presentation by motivational speaker, Barry Katz. All in all it was a highly successful and informative day and a credit to the organizers.

Suzanne Naimer


An outstanding movie and a wonderful evening. Thank you, Rishon LeZion

May I commend you, Janet Kiesari, and your fellow ESRA Rishon board members, on the outstanding film evening, Isaac Ochberg's orphans , which you, together with Telfed, recently hosted. The event was very well attended by an extremely interested crowd. We were all riveted by the film and its portrayal of so many authentic historical excerpts from the period involved. David Kaplan's background talk, his response to questions and his description of Israel's plans to honor this amazing man were all most interesting. I must make special mention of the delicious and beautifully presented refreshments. Congratulations to all at ESRA Rishon LeZion for organizing an evening of which you can be justly proud.

Joyce Lasovsky




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Saturday, 29 January 2022

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