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It’s a big Hi to everyone in Haifa

Welcome from Harry Hiller at the first meeting

Thursday, January 9 saw the birth of a new ESRA branch in Haifa, at a meeting of 35 English speakers at Moadon Sinai in Ahuza. This is at a time when English speaking immigrants are being encouraged to move north and to start life anew, with much activity and effort from Nefesh b'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency (working closely with ESRA). Moving north is a great decision in many ways, from the cost of living to the quality of life, but for English speakers, sometimes just one or two families or individuals on kibbutzim and moshavim, life can become a little lonely. However fluent they are in Hebrew and however integrated they are in the community, as they reach retirement they might feel that something is missing. Joining ESRA can often fill this void.

Since I joined the Caesarea-Zichron Ya'akov branch committee in 2004, I have seen many changes in ESRA, but the most inspiring of all was the birth of new branches in the north of Israel over the past few years. New groups of English speakers simply decided that it was time to create a group of their own where they could organize their own events, plan their own fundraisers, support their own community projects and organize their own volunteer programs. Haifa is the most recent new branch.

This development began when ESRA longtime-volunteer and website and e-letter editor, Frankie Cronin, and her husband Michael, moved north in 2010 and started a new branch in their nearest town, Karmiel.

The following year, 2011, a group of English speakers in Nahariya, with no previous connection to ESRA, decided to start a branch of their own. This was quickly followed by a new branch at Lev Hamifratz, which in the course of time moved a little further north and became the Krayot branch.

In 2012, another English speaking group, again with no previous connection to ESRA, decided it was time to form their own committee. Husband and wife team, Neville and Peta Singer, encouraged friends and neighbors to join them, and thus ESRA Tiberias-Jordan Valley saw the light of day.

In a sense, Haifa closes the circle. It is the largest city in the north, a major center for English speakers and a city with a wonderful cultural vibe.

The branches in Nahariya, Krayot, Karmiel and Tiberias often join forces for events and trips, and there is no doubt that Haifa will be an excellent addition to the ESRA northern family.

So congratulations to Haifa, thank you everyone who attended the inaugural meeting and a special thank you to those who volunteered to be on the very first committee. Good luck!

For further information on the Haifa branch, call Melvyn Sandler on 054 744 6942. 



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Wednesday, 17 July 2024

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