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Chairperson’s message - Are we connecting?

The month of October saw a "first" in ESRA: The three Regional Coordinators organized open meetings for their respective branches. The Southern Region, under the chairmanship of Janet Kiesari, brought together representatives from our branches in the South. The Central Region was next, under the chair of Glenis Bertfield, and the Northern Branch at the end of November under the chair of Jane Krivine. For a full report on what transpired see the article What it is to have friends such as these.

The big question that was asked was, "Are we connecting?" Are the branches connecting with one another? Are they connecting with the Executive? Are they connecting with Head Office? As the discussion progressed, it became clear that these questions are of equal significance when turned around. Is the Executive connecting with the branches? Is Head Office connecting with the branches?

Branches remain the lifeblood of our organization and what we discovered is that connecting is of the greatest importance. A challenge shared is a challenge halved and all agreed that this forum was a great way of looking at where we are and where we want to be.

"Why is ESRA different from other organizations?" The answer is quite simply because we are truly a volunteer-based organization. This is not always easy – we find ourselves deeply involved in endeavoring to carry out our respective responsibilities at all hours of the day and night. At the same time, however, it is an enormous asset when approaching potential donors for our projects to be able to say that ESRA's administrative expenses are minimal, especially when compared to many other nonprofit organizations.

ESRA has much to offer the newcomer to Israel or the recent retiree who may be looking for a new occupation. Some great ideas evolved from around the table – including the need to make our organization better known among agencies promoting aliyah abroad and the possibility of holding workshops for recent retirees.

The true potential of these regional get-togethers rests on the opportunity to share our successes and our challenges (we don't have problems - we have challenges!).

Certainly we need to find a way of reaching out and attracting newcomers to ESRA. One way is through increasing publicity as much as possible. The importance of dropping a line to a local paper on an interesting lecture or a successful event was stressed. How about a cheese and wine evening – where the only entry "fee" is to bring along a non-member? From time to time it is important to invest in order to achieve our goal. Of most significance is spreading the word of ESRA by means of this great magazine as well as our excellent website. Both Merle and Frankie (editors respectively of the ESRA Magazine and the Website) are always on the lookout for interesting stories or happenings in our branches. Do keep them posted.

These Regional Meetings proved undoubtedly that we love working for ESRA. It is a super organization that combines a valuable raison d'etre while contributing towards a better tomorrow for many who benefit from ESRA's activities.

Brenda Katten 



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Monday, 20 May 2024

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