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ESRA Volunteer Awards 2014

A packed house ... the audience at the Volunteer Awards 2014. Photos: Mike Altman, David Rivlin, Marian Lebor and Ira Grinberg

Family, friends and ESRA colleagues gathered together to pay tribute to 14 outstanding volunteers at ESRA's Biennial Volunteer Award ceremony.

Nominated by their respective Branches and ESRA Committees this was an evening to recognize the contribution made by the crème de la crème of our volunteers.

Hon. Life President Merle Guttmann warmly congratulated the awardees as did the Mayor of Raanana, Zeev Bielski, a longtime admirer of ESRA, who said how proud he was of his association with us. He especially appreciated the numerous and varied activities that we provide to the residents of Raanana.

This celebratory evening was tinged with sadness as the recipient of the Lifetime Award, Audrey Goodman, had tragically died a few weeks prior to the event.

Jeff Goodman, Audrey's eldest son, on behalf of the family who accepted the award presented by Merle, spoke of his mother's love, dedication and total commitment to ESRA over many years. 

Ze’ev Bielski, Mayor of Raanana, brought greetings from the city.
Brenda Katten welcomed the guests and presented awards.
A proud moment ... the late Audrey Goodman’s family who were at the event to accept her special award
a line up of some of the awardees, ESRA members at registration
Meira Hanson accepted the award on behalf of her mother, Cecily, who was unable to attend the event.
An emotional moment for one winner, with ESRA founder Merle Guttmann

They are the Best of the Best for a Reason 

Rika Adler

BORN in Israel in 1951, Rika lives in Kfar Saba. Married with three daughters and three grandchildren, she was a teacher for 14 years and then for 20 years taught adult immigrants in Raanana.

She has adopted immigrant families and volunteers at "Bayit shel Benji" in Raanana. For four years, Rika has volunteered in the Raanana ESRA shop.

Despite being dependent on the use of a walker, she collects parcels of goods for sale in the shop in Raanana, Kfar Saba, Ramat Hasharon, Kfar Shmarayahu, even as far as Tel Aviv.

If unwell, husband Meir helps her. Her manager describes Rika as an amazing person. She is much loved by all the workers in the shop.

 Flori Cohen

FLORI Cohen was born in China where she married and gave birth to her first child. After the Communist takeover in 1949, life became difficult for foreign nationals. Being British citizens, the family emigrated to London in 1951, where they lived until making aliyah in 1956. Flori was managerial assistant for two large Israeli companies for more than 50 years.

In 2007, she moved closer to one of her children in Modiin. Since ESRA Modiin's revival in 2009, she has been involved in multiple activities ranging from media relations to business support. A key member, a major asset, and an untiring ambassador for ESRA, she is said to be "immensely energetic, conscientious, enthusiastic, accomplished and creative".

Lucille Edelman
Lucille Edelman lives in Rehovot. A retired hospital social worker, she was born in South Africa, studied at the University of Cape Town and made aliyah in 1973.

She has been an active member of the ESRA Rehovot Board since the branch's inception.

Her pet project is the After School Center for disadvantaged children.

She has helped to create a warm, homely atmosphere and provide furniture, computers and other needs.

Other ESRA activities include the initiation of a garden in Kiryat Moshe; collecting clothing for those inadequately dressed; the rehabilitation of a traditional Ethiopian hut for communication between disconnected youth and their parents; donation to the Rehovot agricultural farm.

Brian Fink
BRIAN Fink and his wife Natalie made aliyah in 2010 from Manchester and live in Karmiel. They moved to Israel when Brian retired as a bookseller and publisher's agent. He writes a monthly piece on Israeli life for their former synagogue magazine.

Brian is a founder member of the ESRA Karmiel Committee and acts as minutes secretary.

He initiated the annual quiz four years ago, devises the questions and acts as quizmaster. He organized a car treasure hunt, which will hopefully become an annual event.

He also volunteers with English- speaking high school students in Karmiel and is volunteering at the Karmiel Children's Village.

Marion Fredman
MARION Fredman (nee Rubenstein) was born in Johannesburg.

She and her late husband Gerald made aliyah in 1959 and settled in Haifa.

One of her three children, Danny, a fighter pilot, was killed while serving in the air force in 1983.

Marion is a speech therapist (PhD) and was in charge of speech therapists at the Hanna Khoushy Child Development at Bnei Zion Hospital, Haifa. The Fredmans moved to Zichron in 2000.

Marion joined ESRA in 2006 and took on the task of selling Ethiopian handicrafts. Since the opening of the bookshop in 2008, she has been a keen supporter of the project. She became one of its two co-managers, and organizes the workers' roster.

Geeta Gariby
GEETA Gariby was born in Sydney, Australia, and emigrated to Israel in 1966. She married her Israeli husband, Shimon, in 1971. They have four children and six grandchildren. Geeta worked with the management of the Military Industries in Ashkelon and later with the director general of the Weizmann Institute. In 1987, she joined the Sharon Hotel, Herzliya, working with the owner, the late Sir Bernard Schreier, and his representative. She became the business department manager until she retired in 2003.

Geeta joined ESRA in 2003 and volunteered in the Gan Rashal office, and for the past six years has been joint coordinator of the administration of the distribution of ESRAmagazine. She also volunteers as a Befriender.

 Joe Goldberg

BORN in Melbourne, Joe Goldberg made aliyah with his wife Chana and three children in 1972. Joe retired from dentistry in 1989. He has been involved in ESRA since its inception, previously with the distribution of magazines. For 11 years, Joe has been a permanent volunteer in the Gan Rashal office doing "computer work" (his words). He is in the office from 5.30 am. He volunteers in the accounts department, issues membership cards and helps with magazine distribution. He works independently and stays until his work is completed, and even takes work home, spending hours filling envelopes.

Cecily Hanson
CECILY Hanson was born in Cape Town. She and husband Avron have been in Israel for 45 years, and live in Kfar Saba. Cecily is a retired music therapist, and has worked with severely handicapped, non-verbal children and youth.

She has been a member of ESRA for 25 years and actively involved for 20 years. She led the ESRA Garden Club until it ceased five years ago. She is a member of the Raanana and Kfar Saba committees, and has worked on the Ethiopian Embroidery Project for a number of years.

Since joining the Program Committee some years ago, Cecily has suggested ideas for travel, organized and planned day trips and also led them.

Leslie Henan
LESLIE Henan was born in South Africa and came on aliyah aged 13 in 1969 with his mother. Married and living in Herzliya, he is an attorney and notary, and was in full-time practice for 24 years.

Leslie suffered an aneurism but has made great strides in his recovery process. He has been volunteering with ESRA's Social Club for Youth with Disabilities for three years where he is greatly appreciated. He is an integral part of the group and the youngsters love him and he keeps in contact with them during the week on Facebook.

He also volunteers for ESRA in Ramat Hasharon, helping pupils to prepare for the Bagrut oral exam.

Sheila Keshev
Sheila Keshev was born in England. At the age of 23 she went to live in California. There she met her husband Shmulik and in 1976 they came to live in Israel in Netanya. In England and America, she worked as a secretary.

Sheila has been involved with the distribution of ESRAmagazine for 20 years. Initially she delivered only in her area, but for the past five years she has been responsible for coordinating the collection, collation and distribution of all Netanya magazines (700). She even plans her holidays around the magazine's distribution dates!

The Keshevs delivered over half of the ESRA calendars 2014 in Netanya, thereby saving ESRA on postage.

Samuel Kirsch
SAMUEL (Sam) Kirsch was born in South Africa. He and his family made aliyah in 1977 and live in Raanana.

A qualified chartered accountant, Sam has completed the Costs and Works Examination and the Israeli CPA. In 2014 he received a municipal Raanana Award for Volunteerism.

He has been volunteering on the ESRA Control Committee for seven years.

Sam has performed many audits of various ESRA activities and recommended improvements that have made the organization more secure and efficient.

He regularly attends meetings of the Finance and Executive Committees.

Bernice Meyers
BERNICE Meyers came on aliyah to Israel in 1964. She studied occupational therapy and has spent most of her professional years working in the field of pediatrics. She retired in 2007.

For over five years, Bernice and Geeta Gariby have been responsible for the administration of the distribution of ESRAmagazine in the central area. The process is long and complicated, and they spend many hours communicating by phone and emails with magazine packers, bundle deliverers and distributors..

They oversee the whole project, and have developed personal relationships with many of the magazine team, and their attitude draws other volunteers to return.

Jack Rabinowitz
JACK Rabinowitz and his wife Esther made aliyah from Manchester in 1983, and live in Raanana. Jack was a dentist in Hadera for 16 years before retiring in 2000.

Jack took over the mid-week hiking group 15 years ago and ran it for over 10 years. It is an important activity for those who do not travel on Shabbat, want to make new friends and have healthy exercise.

Jack, who still walks with the group, organized seven hikes a year, with an average of 30 participants per hike. His patience and kindness are legendary and his dedication to the group remarkable. He is described as "a mensch in all aspects".

Jean Ullman
JEAN Ullman came to Israel from South Africa in 1978 with her late husband Max and four children. She lives in Kfar Saba. She coordinates the speakers for the Open House program in Kfar Saba/Hod Hasharon.

This involves calling, emailing and setting up dates with speakers and presenters. It also entails ensuring that the facility is properly prepared for the speakers.

Jean also transports other women to the bi-monthly ESRAmagazine packing, and helps tutor students in English and teaches Mahjong, and used to volunteer with the kindergarten after-school project. Jean is always ready to assist the Branch activities in whatever ways are needed. 



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