"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future."- Franklin D. Roosevelt
As I write this message, the daily news is full of terror attacks. A young woman stabbed, a man run down, incident after incident. Hopefully, by the time you receive this magazine, the terror attacks will be in the past, but time will tell. It would be easy to become pessimistic. However, neither politics nor pessimism are a part of ESRA. So, I will suffice by sending condolences to those who have lost loved ones and wishes for a full recovery to the injured. I will put the news to one side and focus instead on ESRA's strengths, particularly the strength of optimism. This is the driving force behind our actions – the belief and the confidence that we can help to bring a better and stronger future to Israel.
ESRA is a strong organization. Its branches reach across the country, stretching from the North of Israel to the South. Its vast array of activities include the publication of an acclaimed magazine, social and cultural events for our members, the running of charity shops and projects that positively impact the future of so many Israeli children. We are strong because of the dedication of our members who volunteer their time and efforts, and because of our donors whose generosity makes our projects possible. But to remain strong, an organization also needs efficient administration. I am pleased to say that ESRA's administrative staff is small but efficient. It keeps the organization running while keeping costs down so that more of our resources can be invested in our projects. Another element in ESRA's strength is our broad population of members. Your membership dues represent an important part of ESRA's financing, as does our Annual Fundraising Campaign. They ensure the continuity of our work and our aim to keep "Promoting Our Future" through our projects. It is never too late to contribute. Please make sure that your membership is renewed on time and that you have contributed what you can to support our projects.
On January 3, 2016 we will be hosting a wonderful event with Dudu Fisher and Colin Shachat in concert, with the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra conducted by Tomer Addadi. Two voices that have graced numerous world stages will be singing your favorite songs from the world's all-time greatest musical hits. We look forward to seeing you all at the Herzliya Performing Arts Center and enjoying an evening together that will also bring joy to many in need as it helps to support our projects. If you have not already purchased your tickets, may I remind you to do so now (call 09 950 8371).
Israel is a small country and wherever a project is initiated, whether helping a child in Rishon LeZion, Netanya, Jerusalem, Haifa, Carmiel, or any other town, such an Israeli child is our child. We are happy to consider starting new projects anywhere that ESRA has a branch, with a few important provisos. Firstly, that the ESRA branch must provide the volunteers to run the project. Secondly, that the local council must ensure its commitment to work with us and help provide facilities. Thirdly, the ESRA branch must abide by the regulations of both the Registrar of Charities and of the Tax Authorities, as ESRA is a registered Amuta.
ESRA belongs to its members and as such we welcome your ideas. Let us hear from you regarding what you would like to do and what you feel we can improve. We would also love to receive your help – we always need more volunteers for our projects, to help run our branches or to be on any of the many committees that run ESRA. It has been said that volunteers live longer. Perhaps it's the glow of satisfaction that keeps them healthy. There is no better reward than seeing the smiling faces of the children at a project's year-end ceremony. Feel free to contact us about attending one of our ceremonies or visiting a project during the year.
ESRA continues to be Israel's largest organization providing English speakers with social, cultural and educational activities. And we provide you with a way of contributing to your country through volunteering and helping to Promote Our Future. We look forward with optimism to a peaceful and better tomorrow for all of us and for our future generations!
With best wishes to you and your families for a Chag Chanukah Sameach
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ― Anne Frank