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Good to be heard as well as to hear

Janet Kiesari

The first of its kind, and a total success, was the recent Southern Regional Branch meeting held in Rehovot in the home of Joyce Lasovsky. Present were chairpersons and committee members of the ESRA branches of Rehovot, Rishon leZion, Bat Yam and Modiin. Unfortunately Jerusalem could not attend.

The meeting was carefully planned in advance. A questionnaire was circulated prior to the meeting to all the participants in order to get their answers to enable us to draw up a relevant agenda.

After opening words by myself, as coordinator of the Southern Region, and by ESRA Chairperson Brenda Katten (who also ran the meeting), everyone then introduced themselves.

The subjects we discussed related to the geographical distance from ESRA's central office and the difficulties arising out it. Subjects like:

- Are we connecting? A very heated discussion followed which included the website, promotion of events and other related matters.

- Active Volunteers: all the branches, excluding Modiin, agreed that they had the same challenge, that there were a few people who really worked and the others only attended meetings and events. We all need additional committee members who are prepared to be pushers and take on responsibilities.

- Membership: That too is a challenge and we have to find a way to encourage new members.

As a branch chair, I had always thought that the problems in Rishon were Rishon's problems. I now see after this meeting that I was wrong and the same problems are shared by all the branches.

We were a small group of 15 persons sitting informally on a lovely balcony, drinking coffee and talking freely about our feelings and challenges, and the most important part was that we were listening to each other. We were talking and not being talked too. Until today I have never experienced this in ESRA before.

The idea of holding these regional branch meetings was brilliant and it was suggested that we hold one at least twice a year.

Everyone present agreed that it was a most productive meeting and I hope that the Northern and Central regional branches get as much good feedback from their meetings as we did. 



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Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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