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A Word From The Editor - 207

Corona causes changes, even in ESRA Magazine

The skies have broken – lightning, thunder, rains peltering down. Stormy weather as I write. So too in ESRA Magazine. Tradition of forty-one years has been broken. In 2021 we will publish four issues instead of five issues a year. Sad I am, worried too that we will be reaching out to you our readers less often, but the ravages of corona have forced ESRA to cut costs across board.

Changes too in our design. We welcome our new graphic designer, Liora Blum, who is very experienced in publication design, and we wish her the very best and lots of pleasure, challenges and creativity in entering the world of ESRA. Change is never easy, but ESRA Magazine has always believed in moving forward, keeping up with the times. Our new dynamic design is bright and elegant, with plenty of white space. Its new fonts and color palette give it a fresh, with-it look. Each cover features an artist. Our thanks and appreciation to those of you who have shared with us your feelings and thoughts through phone calls and emails, some of which you can read on our Letters pages. Your feedback is vital to us.

The winner of our Short Story Competition 2020 is Bill Strubbe with his beautiful story "Friday's Soup". It is a moving and humane story, and as one our judges wrote: "It is very much an ESRA win - volunteering, helping those who need help". It is published in this issue, together with a bio on Bill, a very interesting and colorful person. It was a very difficult task to choose the winners from the 55 stories submitted. The runners-up were "Mistaken Identity" by David Weitzman, "Her Autumn" by Laurie Bisberg-Primes, and "The Unbroken Thread" by Ilana Walsh.

Women feature strongly this time: Jackie Kyram, well-known to us as Jackie Beecham, a reporter on the defunct Israel Broadcasting Authority in English, introduces us to KitePride, where former sex workers are gainfully employed making bags, computer holdalls and kippahs out of recycled high-quality kites, surfer materials, yacht sails and wetsuits. Lydia Aisenberg writes about Heroines of the British Special Operations Executive, very courageous spies. In the making, says Nadya Katzir, is a film about a Beauty Contest for Holocaust Survivors - yes, you did get it right. For ten years now the contest has been held in Haifa.

Former South Africans will enjoy Fonda Dubb's memories of how her cooking course empowered domestic workers to improve their lives, and will be proud to read Neville Berman's account that one wall of the Anti Apartheid Museum is devoted to of Helen Suzman, a feisty white Jewish anti-apartheid activist and politician.

Congratulations to Gilad Ohayon, a student at the Rimon Music School, for winning Shirimon, the annual song festival – his gushing grandma Juliet Rostowsky writes about it. A former winner was our Netta, who won Eurovision 2019. We can also take pride in how Israeli youth, together with their parents, are in a global fight to save the environment – Ruth Mason, a mother, reports on it.

Poetry aficionados will learn from Morty Leibowitz, himself a poet, that Voices has come out with their latest issue of poems. And there is the Bar Sagi Poetry Competition for Young Poets, so encourage your kids who are budding poets to take part.

Hikers take note that ESRA is organizing circular hikes throughout 2021 and learn from Stephen Kliner about his hikes in Hof HaCarmel and Ramat Menashe. Stephen Schulman cycled through Holland and regales us with his experiences and observations.

Yes, we do have time to kill in corona time. For bookworms there are ten pages of reviews including Maia Aron's Requiem for Gabriel Alon and our own Carol Novis' Knock Off the Old Block, a mystery story reviewed by Eli Libenson. For nimble fingers ESRA's Ruth Friesem invites you to join weekly Woolpack, a knitting group now on Zoom, and Tina Kraus will teach you to crochet. Bridge players, of course read Alan Caplan's bridge article on the Upper-Cut. And crossword doers, test your brains with our 207 Crossword.

Masses of lectures for you on Zoom, just read ESRA's Events pages to find out what and when. An example of one such outstanding lecture is an evening with Meir Brand, VP of Google and Director of EMEA Emerging Markets, who kept listeners riveted with his talk on Google.

Food fundis will enjoy Lucille Cohen's article on Afternoon Tea is Now Being Served and will be tempted to taste such teas in Israel too – salivate over scones topped with jam and cream. Sharyn Weizman brings us some recipes from Shawna Goodman-Stone and Terry Shlomo gives us a recipe from Debrah Marcus.

Senior citizens, read carefully what Adv. Shavit Ben Chorin writes about your bank accounts, how to take care of them.

Our cover story, by Elizabeth Levi Senegaglia is about artist David Sharir. Liora Blum, our graphic designer, visited him to take photos of his work and came back in a trance saying that he and his art are quite amazing.

Happy Hannukah to you.

Merle Guttmann 



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Monday, 20 May 2024

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