ESRA Magazine
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Moving Forward and Facing the Challenges

ESRA Volunteer Awardees, 2014.

Chairperson's Message

We are an organization that prides itself on its volunteerism - brought into focus at our biennial Volunteer Award Event held on December 4 (see page…). This was the moment when we paid tribute to 14 outstanding volunteers, contributing their all, to the amazing cross section of ESRA activities. There are some who believe volunteering means that you can "come and go" as you please – they clearly have not met our ESRA volunteers who take their responsibilities to the most professional heights. Can one imagine, for example, that the Netanya branch awardee Sheila Keshev- responsible for the distribution of over 700 Magazines in Netanya – plans her holidays around the Magazine's distribution dates!

Perhaps one of ESRA's most understated volunteer activities is the *Counseling Service which is available to the wider community. ESRA is fortunate in being able to offer counseling, by professionally trained counselors, to those who are in need of support. Whether this is because of the loss of a relative, or perhaps another loss, ESRA counselors are able to offer a warm receptive and listening ear to those who have experienced a traumatic change in their daily existence. As one who spent some 30 years as a counselor in the UK I most certainly can vouch for the fact that counseling provides an opportunity for the recipients to take a look at where they are now and to learn for themselves how best to cope in the future. Whilst my expertise was in the field of relationship counseling I cannot begin to say how meaningful it was to receive news from my clients, sometimes many years on, to say how very much counseling had helped them on their way and had been the instrument to learn so much more about themselves - they were now able to understand and relate to one another in a more positive and productive manner. Conversely, sometimes the counseling was about the need to separate and how one copes with this painful aspect of relationships. ESRA counselors are able to help their clients through periods of loss – which includes the loss of a partner either through divorce or death.

Another challenge for our wonderful organization is the fact that we are expanding in all directions. This is great but it also requires us to be able to continue to support both new groups and those groups who have been in existence for a long time. Our Regional Coordinators have worked wonders – right now we have the possibility of starting new groups in Maalot and Yochneam (Northern Region) whilst in the Center there is a possibility of a new group in Petach Tikva. Our Northern Regional Coordinator, Jane Krivine, and our Central Coordinator, Glenis Bertfield, are working hard to make this "possibility" into a reality.

Our Regional Branch get-togethers are an outstanding success, and in the words of our Southern Regional Branch Coordinator, Janet Kiesari: "Each regional meeting of the branches proves more successful than the previous one". It is an opportunity of hearing what groups in the same region are doing - sharing both successes and challenges is a great way of supporting one another. Membership and how to attract new members and retain existing ones proved a major discussion point at each one of our recent gatherings.

Membership remains the lifeblood of an organization and so it is with ESRA. We are in the process of creating a vibrant Membership Committee under the chairmanship of Hertzel Katz (a former Chair of ESRA.) It is our hope that each branch will appoint its own Membership Coordinator and, where possible, will be able to participate in meetings of the Membership Committee. Hertzel will be in touch with our branch heads very shortly. We are aware that there are some readers of this great magazine who are not, as yet, members of ESRA. If you fall into this category we sincerely hope you will seriously consider becoming a member of our ESRA family. By so doing you will not only have the benefit of discount entries to ESRA events and be kept updated with our range of amazing activities but will also be supporting our ESRA projects. These projects are geared towards creating a better tomorrow especially for youngsters coming from deprived backgrounds. Your membership is only a phone call away so please call the office now on 09 950 8371 – you won't regret it!

There is no doubt that we are moving forward in all directions. This has been made possible by each and every one of our volunteers who give of themselves in the most professional and caring way. ESRA thanks you for your outstanding contribution – it is you that makes ESRA the unique and wonderful organization it is!

*For counselling & support please contact Susan 052 698 9088 



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