2nd November 2017 was a momentous date in the history of our wonderful country. A century had passed since Lord Balfour made the first pronouncement that we should re-emerge from the diaspora with our own country.
Of course, that was only one of the first steps in the reestablishment of Israel, two thousand years after most of us left this area, and we had to witness the horror of the Holocaust before we could finally arrive back home. But here we are, approaching the 70th anniversary of the founding of our modern State and we are strong and a true light unto the nations.
Another anniversary is fast approaching, and that is the 40th anniversary of ESRA, which will be celebrated in 2019.
For four decades, ESRA has been playing its part in strengthening Israel, be it with volunteering, and cultural and social activities for our English-speaking members, or with Educational and Welfare projects for the needy, improving the future of our children.
The brainchild of Honorary Life President, Merle Guttmann, ESRA has been expanding and going from strength to strength, and it is with dedication and commitment that we continue to work toward ensuring a strong future for Israel, for all sectors of its social fabric.
In addition to celebrating the Balfour Centenary, ESRA has been busy with other recent events.
By the time you read this magazine, we will have had our latest round of regional meetings in the North, South and Center. These meetings are important for an exchange of ideas among ESRA's branches and for allowing everyone to have their say in how they want ESRA to be run.
Another major event will have been the ESRA Annual Quiz, a brain-teasing, socializing and tasty event. I am sure that all who took part will have enjoyed this event, which has become an ESRA tradition.
We also once again look forward with anticipation to winning one of the fabulous prizes in the ESRA Raffle with great holiday treats as the first three prizes. The draw will take place on 29th January 2018, but do not wait to send in your tickets as the mail is a wee bit slow.
With the aim of increasing our impact in Israel and our support base abroad, ESRA will be hosting its first-ever fundraising event overseas. On 10th December, we are having our first UK Friends of ESRA event in London to encourage support for our projects.
This is being held at a wonderful location in St John's Wood with Man Booker prize winner, Howard Jacobson. Our sincere appreciation is owed to him and to Sir Sidney and Lady Rosa Lipworth who were kind enough to offer their home for this event. I trust that there will be an article on the event in our next magazine. We intend to have a strong group of friends in the UK and possibly in other countries.
On 24th December, we will be holding our annual fundraising concert, with the renowned Israeli singer and songwriter, David D'Or. This promises to be a most enjoyable evening, as David is a superb performer.
Your attendance will help make this another great ESRA success. If you do not have tickets yet, phone the office quickly (09 950 8371) to ensure you have seats and avoid disappointment.
This year, November was designated ESRA Membership Month. We have put a great deal of effort into increasing our paid-up membership. NIS 10 per month is a small enough sum to invest in support of your organization, and is of great importance to ensure the future of ESRA. Please make the effort to pay your membership on time. You can make this even easier by paying with an annual automatic credit card payment. That also ensures that you receive the excellent ESRA recipe calendar, our renowned ESRAmagazine, and discounts on all activities. You can do good while feeling good and enjoying yourself.
By the way, I must mention that the Calendar Committee did a terrific job and the result adds pleasure to every month.
With warm regards and wishing you a Chag Hannukah Sameach. May the light be with you and your oil never run out.
P.S. To the couple of members who mentioned the missing 31st December on the calendar, this should have made those who do not want to celebrate "Sylvester" very happy. We will give it back to you next year.