Cynthia Barmor (l) & Jackie Klein, Co-Chairs ESRA Modiin

Excerpt from article (translated into English) published in Yediot Modiin, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5772 (Sept 2011). 

OUR PEOPLE OF THE YEAR

They devote their time on behalf of society, the community and the environment and influence us in many areas; in anticipation of the New Year, Yediot Modiin presents: the Local Heroes

Cynthia Barmor and Jackie Klein volunteer on behalf of new immigrants. The ESRA association in Modiin which they head, opened a bookshop this year where sales benefit an after-school center for children at risk.

Cynthia Barmor, 63, is married, the mother of three and grandmother of ten. She is English editor at Schneider Hospital, and co-chair of ESRA Modiin.

Jackie Klein, 68, is married, mother of two and grandmother of five. She works as an independent, and co-chair of ESRA Modiin.

Reason for the Decision: The idea is surprising. To take new immigrants and absorb them into Israeli society through volunteering sounds like a recipe where everyone wins. ESRA Modiin, headed by Cynthia and Jackie, opened a special bookshop this year where secondhand English and Hebrew books are sold, and the proceeds benefit a care center for children at risk. Handcrafts made by Ethiopian women immigrants from all over the country are also sold in the shop, providing the women with income. In addition to fundraising, tens of volunteers assist students in the city with their English studies, conduct an English Story Hour in the mall, operate a pet corner in the Yahad-Gvanim schools, and welcome with open arms every new immigrant who arrives in Modiin. This was an especially exciting year for Cynthia and Jackie, with more than 100 volunteers, thousands of customers, and conversations in English and Hebrew. A year of beautiful bridging that is growing in the city.

In order to be an idealist, you need to fulfill two things:

“I believe that you need the spirit of volunteering within you and this rewards you immensely,” says Cynthia. “That is my joy. Volunteering fulfills me as a person. It means that I do not live in a vacuum and when I work on behalf of the community, I acknowledge how grateful I am for all that I have received.”

Says Jackie: “I love Israel. When I arrived here it was very difficult for me to find the words and to learn Hebrew. I was afraid that I would not be able to contribute and integrate into the society without language, yet I found a way to give to the State and especially the Modiin community. To be a part of what is happening here and to contribute, that is the beauty of Israel.”

"Shana Tova: I hope that our activities will multiply so that we can contribute even more to the benefit of those in need,” Cynthia wishes. Jackie adds: “Peace to Israel, what more can we ask for?”

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