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Readers' Letters 212

Sponsors needed for 1897 The Musical

I am thrilled by the overwhelming worldwide response since BBC World News published my musical tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for her forthcoming Platinum Jubilee. I am also truly humbled by the incredible interest in my upcoming musical, 1897. It traces and unlaces the sexual trysts of prudish Victorian England, with music and dance that will bring you to your feet!

For the book, music, and lyrics of 1897 The Musical, I plan to employ wonderful Israeli talent and to pay them properly. The last two years have inflicted tremendous suffering on the culture here in Israel and have left performers of all kinds unemployed and struggling to survive financially.

It is my intention to produce this musical and film it for global streaming in order to show the world what incredible talent we have here. In doing so, I hope to put Israeli performers and all connected with the production on the world stage. To accomplish this goal, I am asking for your help to fund this production via personal donations or company sponsorships. I welcome your contributions to this very worthwhile cause. It will bring great happiness to all Israel as well as to viewers enthralled by the production in English. It will have Hebrew subtitles.

You can hear my musical tribute to Queen Elizabeth that will be performed at her 70 years' Queen celebration on Queen's Platinum Jubilee: British-Israeli composer releases soliloquy - BBC News

If you would like to contact me, please do so at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Loretta Kay-Feld M.M. ASCAP

Stained glass swivels gifts

April 2022 issue finds this retired 93-year-old attorney and former Maccabi tennis player satisfied, having traded his tennis racquet for a walking cane.

Fortunately, 40 years ago my thoughtful wife Judy convinced me to do stained glass for a hobby. I was able to make many useful colorful, stained glass objects. Nothing that I made was as rewarding, as the swivel stained glass objects that I gifted to over 250 children at the Neve Michael Village in Pardes Hana. Their "thank you Leonard, we love you" shows that they enjoyed the gifts as much as I enjoyed making them.

The photos of brother Amit with sister Neta, and our five-year-old great granddaughter Aviv shows them playing with the colorful never-ending stained glass swivels.

Leonard Kahn

Zichron Yaakov

An innovation in Eilat - a morning with a GE machine

Having had a mini stroke (TIA) a while ago I was scheduled to have a CT for the head to ascertain if any damage had been done. I've had many CTs before but this was the first for the head and I was apprehensive. I'm claustrophobic. That was my biggest fear. The big day came and accompanied by my daughter Tanya, I arrived at Yoseftal Hospital in Eilat. The secretary at the CT office proclaimed with great excitement how lucky I was to be one of the first 20 to be using a new CT machine which had just arrived from overseas.

We were directed to a recently refurbished area where we sat and waited until a male nurse came to collect me. His smile was endearing and I began to feel more at ease.

I entered a huge palatial room which was a big upgrade compared to the old CT room where you couldn't swing a cat. At the end of the room was a very modern, large and elegantly designed machine. Roy introduced himself as the technician and explained in perfect English that the machine had just arrived from Italy with an Italian technician who would be showing him how to use the machine. (Was this good or bad news? I wondered.) And that the machine is called GE, the company that manufactures them, and explained in great detail how it works.

This was followed by a lively chat about my background. He was very interested to know about my roots: where I came from, the history of South Africa, and my home town. What a lovely social morning. All we needed was a cup of tea. It was all so surreal and unusual. His cheerful assistant Shai arrived. He enquired about my general health and suggested that I take magnesium for my aching bones. Technicians are usually blunt and direct.

Another fear I have is of having blood tests. I have hidden veins which for some reason only Russian doctors and nurses can find. It's not unusual for me to be jabbed in the neck, knuckles, and even my thumb. Roy was not a Russian but was so gentle and had infinite patience until he eventually found a vein into which he injected iodine. He told me that I might experience hot flushes during the test, (haven't had those for years and don't miss them!). I was escorted to the bed and lay down. The overhead lights were very bright. I was beginning to enjoy myself. Gazing upwards I discovered different patterns, different angles of lines, plusses and minuses which were I presumed showed size and measurements of the imagining. Was I perhaps in Mars? Instead of experiencing claustrophobia I was really enjoying the ride.

Roy, knowing that I was claustrophobic, walked me around the machine to show me how "open it was" so the concept of a tunnel disappeared from my mind. All the while I was lying down Roy was stroking my hand explaining to me that "he was washing the veins" to allow the iodine to flow more easily into the blood stream. He also mentioned that there was very little radiation with the GE. The machine was not at all noisy. All I felt was a gentle shifting movement of the bed. The whole procedure took 9 minutes. When the procedure was finished Roy escorted me to the waiting room and told me to wait for 15 minutes when he would be back to remove the needle from my arm.

The hardest part was having to drink 12 glasses of water when I got home to empty the bladder and rid myself of the colorless iodine.

I couldn't help but wonder if technicians' training also includes learning skills of interaction with patients. To have two such charming, friendly, interactive guys who did so much to put me at ease is most unusual.

Do you know the song, "it's a lovely morning at the sea shore"? Well mine was: "It was a lovely morning at Yoseftal Hospital with the new GE CT machine and its charming technicians".

It was indeed a privilege to have been one of the first 20 patients to experience the GE CT in Eilat. It was indeed my lucky day.

Fonda Dubb


We met Ida Nudel together

Reading about our visit to Ida Nudel and other refuseniks in Moscow, I was surprised that Liz Trakeniski did not mention that she went with me. (ESRA Magazine #211, December 2021).

I had already been to Moscow once with Jane Biran (nee Moonman) who was as close to Ida Nudel as I was to the Prestin and Abramovitch families and the powers that be decided to send me again. I replied that I would need a partner and it should be someone with whom I could get along.

Liz and I had a most interesting visit which included families of friends who were incarcerated, so that on returning to London we could work for their freedom. One of them was Yuli Edelstein. It was a heartening visit and Liz was a great partner, and despite the difference in age we got along very well.

Those were momentous times and we never imagined that the flood gates of the FSU would be opened to allow millions of Jews to emigrate to Israel and make such an enormous contribution to Israel's society.

In Netanya where many, many musicians were given a weekly platform in the square opposite the sea, the English speaking population was again involved and sometimes even gave their homes for salon type musical evenings. However, it was Rabbi Erwin Birnbaum who gave them the most support, which resulted in them going across the free world to perform.

Such is our land...

Zelda Harris

Tel Aviv 

Istenis article pointless and offensive

I found the article, "Do You Know What an Istenis Is", both pointless and offensive. First, I don't believe that people who follow standard, recommended precautions against transmission of COVID-19 (or any other virus) are weak, delicate or overly sensitive. Second, the comparison to OCD, a debilitating anxiety disorder affecting millions of people and their families, is insensitive and ignorant. Finally, the decision to highlight this particular article, of all the interesting and relevant ones in the issue, in the "From The Editor column" is most disappointing.

Odia Wroblewski


Rabin was a daunting personality

My late husband, who was part of the Shin Bit Israel Security Agency, was one of the bodyguards of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. While we were on a mission (shlichut) in New York City, Rabin and his wife Leah came for breakfast one fine Sunday morning.

He was a daunting personality, and I really knew him well. I was devastated when he was shot and ultimately died of his injuries.

Geri Natan


Errors in Consumer Watch

In your December 2021 edition, the feature article Consumer Watch contained inaccurate and misleading information.

Distilled water is definitely NOT sterile and most certainly not "completely'' sterile. It contains micro-organisms. Although on a practical level sterile water is not used outside a medical environment, the article's statement is nevertheless inaccurate.

Concerning storing tap water in bottles, it should have been pointed out that at best the water is drinkable up to six months after filling into plastic bottles. They cannot be kept indefinitely.

Yisrael Geffen


P.S. On a side note, two errors in the sub-item BE PREPARED. Under Candles, Matches and Holder. On the penultimate line - restore and nor resort. Under Water in Reserve you cannot write "burst water mains were once frequent". The word frequent is an adjective. I hope that errors in proofing and English will not be frequent occurrences in your excellent magazine.

My compliments to ESRA

I am continuously enjoying the ESRA Magazine, and thoroughly enthralled with the wide range of subjects in the articles.

In fact, I just spoke to one of the ladies at ESRA registering for a Netanya lecture, and I continue to marvel at the wonderful set-up and array of volunteers that ESRA has in all capacities. I remember during Corona (which is actually still here), that the volunteers were receiving the calls in their own homes, and I was so impressed by the set-up and the devoted technical staff, as well as the others, who arranged all the modern technology so that we ESRA members could continue to enjoy and appreciate the vast variety of online ESRA events offered to us.

Many thanks and may the good work and devotion continue.

I would like to say that we had a wonderful lecture by Tal Lanir in the ESRA Monday Tel Aviv Museum Series. The bonus was our excellent guide, Evie, in English. Her guided tour was a real treat, and her English was excellent. I arrived early that day, and at 9am the dedicated volunteer Aggie Van de Laan, who organizes the Museum series, was sitting at her desk post at the entrance to the Museum, available for all assistance and questions. It was a pleasure to see her.

Debbie Sinai

Moshav Herev Leet, Emek Hefer 

My favorites in mag #211

I always enjoy reading ESRA Magazine but the latest edition, No. 211, December 2021, had articles that were particularly to my taste.

First I was overcome by Eileen Elan's article (page 18), about her son Carmi Elan who tragically died at aged 19 and a half but seemed to have lived a life many times that age. Eileen's article was beautifully written and I really felt I got to know who he was and why he was so special.

Next, I really enjoyed Uncle Charley (page 76) by Esther Manewith. This was a courageous article to write about her gay uncle Charley, who came to live with her family when she was growing up. Esther Manewith managed to convey what a really good human being her uncle Charley was. It was very sad to read about how he died because in those years there was very little tolerance for gay people. We all need to read such stories.

The next article on my list was about the Boulder Jewish Community Center in Colorado by Doron Krakow (page 78). This JCC community is truly unusual and innovative. It is a role model not just for other JCC's but for any community that looks for quality of life and, as Doron himself says, people who are less driven by work and more by a desire to place work into a broader context. How fortunate are those who are part of this extraordinary community.

The last article of my choice goes to The first Crembo of Winter by Susie Aziz Pam (page 40). I don't exactly know when Susie Aziz arrived in Israel but I imagine it might have been about 1972 when I arrived. Her description of religious Geula in Jerusalem was priceless. I remember Crembos and wondered what all the fuss was about. They seemed rather sickly to me. I loved her description "shaving cream covered with a melted brown crayon". But strangely, like me, after 20 years she loved them. Such a nostalgic part of Israeli life is captured in that Crembo memory.

Suzie Jacobson

Ramat Aviv 

Do you have a preference?

In a recently published letter in the ESRA Magazine, I expressed the view that the organization was asking a racist question of volunteer tutors. ESRA representatives asked if the tutors would be willing to work with Arab students. The response to my letter both saddened and annoyed me.
Quoting from the recent response to my original letter from ESRA's CEO:

"… An Ultra-Orthodox male English teacher…may ask to be matched with …."

"Or a female Bedouin teacher….can request a female tutor…"

The key words here are: "may ask" or "can request." These are legitimate requests on the part of the tutor, but not an organization.

A tutor not only has the right but the responsibility to request a student suitable to his or her abilities and sensibilities. But, an organization that singles out a specific group is being discriminatory.

Perhaps a more appropriate question for ESRA to ask a tutor would be: "Do you have a preference in your choice of student?"

Through ESRA I have tutored both in the school system and the CHAT program. I have found it a wonderfully rewarding and bridge building experience. Singling out any group can lead to the tearing down of those very same bridges that ESRA wants to build and to my mind is racist. At the risk of repeating what I wrote in the original letter, "if one substitutes 'Jew for Arab' it would not be acceptable on any level."

Barbara Resnick

Tel Aviv 

I have only praise for Tichon Adar

I read the article by Susie Katz called "From Underachieving to Excelling" in ESRA Magazine #211 about Chen and her struggles with the school system. I too went through a similar experience with my daughter, and did not know where to turn. I reread your article and searched to find the name of the school that Chen was transferred to and her mom spoke highly about, but did not find it. It was so important for me to know what school Chen finally attended in order to complete her high school studies and receive her Bagrut Diploma.

I contacted ESRA offices and was told that she attended Tichon Adar (in PetachTikvah). Tichon Adar was where I too sent my daughter four years ago. I have only praise for the program, and the administration. Students come there from all over the country. They have a boys' campus and a girls' campus. My daughter had a girl in her class from Mizpe Ramon, and another from the Golan. They have no dorms, but the families find somewhere for their kids to stay for the 3-5 days a week they need to be in school.

Not all children are the same. We must believe in them, and find them the proper learning environment.

Thanks for sharing this important value.

Edna Koren


The Wine Interview with Alex Haruni of Dalton Winery

I found the Alma Rose to be fabulous as well.
Thanks Martin Sinkoff, for a great interview. (ESRA Magazine #211, December 2021)

Barry Meislin

Tel Aviv 



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