To ESRA, thank you

Glenis Bertfield, coordinator of ESRA Befrienders, came to see me today. I think she is great to have started a visitors club for housebound people like me.

I had one visitor, Geeta Gariby, for quite a while before she went abroad, and we played scrabble.

Having to depend on other people is most frustrating so that I truly appreciate your help. Thank you, ESRA, for publishing the date of my 90th birthday in your magazine. My family gave me a wonderful 90th birthday party. But I don’t enjoy being 90!

Once more,  my thanks and appreciation to you and Glenis.

Hazel Agami

Nof  Yam, Herzliya




My brother, now 72, was born in South Africa and immigrated to Israel in 1949, aged 10. As a medical student he suffered a schizophrenic breakdown and has been unwell since, living in Savyon with our mother until she moved aged 85 to Beth Protea where she died 10 years ago.

The Department of Health confirms that no residential facilities exist in Israel for people with psychiatric conditions over the age of 70.  So, as he had to leave his hostel, my brother is now in an old-age home for people with dementia.  While warm and caring – the place does not meet his specific needs and he pines for 'home'.

I would be grateful to hear of creative solutions devised by relatives facing a similar problem.


Prof. Joan Raphael-Leff



Call Me Mommy: A Journey out of Autism

Call Me Mommy: A Journey out of Autism, by Yael Ophir, is a short, very readable book that I would like to bring to the attention of ESRA readers. 

 It is the story of the treatment of a two-year-old boy diagnosed with autism. This is not an academic study, but rather a peek into the day-to-day work of the therapist and the unique method she has developed of working with children who have severe developmental disorders. The book will appeal to anyone who has had any connection with autism, as well as to the general reader who is interested in how the disorder can be treated. And, of course, to professionals in this or related fields. It was translated and edited by Ian Dreyer (Tel: 03 670 9083; Cell: 052 381 8391; email:


Joan Weisman



Thanks to Zebba's article, I learned more about Anna Wildikann

Dear Dr. Sam Zebba,

You are the first author ever from whom I’ve heard more about Anna Wildikann than from any other (ESRA Magazine #152, Dec 2009/Jan 2010, p. 62-65). I am researching her life as well as that of other Jewish doctors and nurses who worked with Albert Schweitzer during WWII. My impression is that he did not regard the cause of their plight and fate as high rank priority - he almost never referred to this issue after 1945 when he could have. Anna Wildikann´s immigration to Israel and the way he mentioned her in his diaries has struck me as casual - perhaps it was only discreet. But also the story of his wife’s Jewish family did not seem to occupy large space in his concerns. I might be wrong – I’d just like to know more and better. Now, I wonder whether you know who inherited Anna Wildikann’s pictures, her writings etc. and how I might get in touch with whoever it may be. Sorry for being so forthright about my scepticism regarding Schweitzer. My deep impression is that he could have and should have been more outspoken about Germany’s barbaric history after 1945. Few people have spoken up about this so far, especially in Germany. I, born in 1958, have been conducting research on this whole issue since 1990. I hope one day to publish my findings and I am grateful for any additional information.


Caroline Fetscher M. A.

Motzstrasse 5210777 Berlin,Germany

Tel. 0049 (0)30 21 7691 Mobile: 0049 (0) 172 305 3802


Editor's note: This letter was posted recently in the magazine's website in the comments under Dr. Zebba'a article "Anna and I" (ESRA Magazine number 152, December 2009/January 2010), 


Much improved size

I have been an avid reader of your ESRA Magazine for ages, as well as solving all your crosswords ever since they first appeared.

I look forward with bated breath for the next one to arrive.

Recently, the size of the crossword box and the clues alongside were smaller and less legible for "older eyes."

How pleasantly surprised I was to receive this month's magazine crossword #157, with the new improved size of both the crossword box and the clues.

Thanks for keeping us challenged and for the much appreciated improvement.

Toni Ziv



Rhoda not Rhona

Once again, #157 was a wonderful edition of the magazine, amply reflecting both the talent and the broad interests of the Anglo community here in Israel.  'Kol HaKavod!'

One small complaint however.  My name is, and always has been, Rhoda.  Whilst Rhona is pretty nice, it's not me.  But thanks nevertheless for printing the article on ESRA-ESOA “Why Ashkelon”?

Rhoda Goodman





When I can't find a book I am seeking, I have recently been ordering it from

It's easy and there is no shipping charge. 


Lenore Hahn

Kfar Saba


Thank you Esther Brodie


Thank you for teaching me so much about sewing.  I would like to tell you that I really enjoyed the time spent with you these past three years. I will really miss you over the vacation.  I hope we will continue next year.  I would like to wish you a very pleasant holiday and I hope we meet soon.

Much forgets a person

Much forgets I

But to forget a person like you

I cannot not even try.


Yakba Balzo



Editor’s note: Esther Brodie, who has been for many years a volunteer at the ESRA sewing centers for Ethiopian adults in Netanya, received this letter from a student, and in Esther’s words, “it made it all worthwhile.”


Sad that the ride came to an end


We are always so quick to criticize so here is a change – a true, touching story that happened to me today.

I stopped a taxi (had to go to the dietician in a probably futile attempt to lose weight). The taxi was filthy and so, as I normally do in such cases, I told him thank you but no thank you, and then stopped another taxi that was right behind him.

This one was shiny and, just to add, had a great disc playing a piano concerto.

I got in, the driver a guy of about 40, certainly not of Ashkenazi North Tel Aviv origins, looks at me warmly, curious as to why I didn't get into the first taxi and went as far as saying that he hopes nothing bad happened to me. I explained to him that I don't get into filthy taxis and added that I liked the disc that he was playing and asked what it was.

He replied "Mozart Piano Concerto" (don't remember the number) and he said "I am playing."

We then got engrossed in a conversation through which I learnt that my taxi driver has been playing piano since the age of eight, loves it and is passionate about the piano.

I asked him if he sells the disc and if I could buy it to which he replied that for him piano and money don't go together, he plays for his and others' enjoyment.

Not satisfied with this answer which I thought at first was pretty pseudo, I told him that he should sell the discs in his taxi.

Again, astonished at my capitalistic outlook he went on to explain that he took a vow with his grandfather and father that he would always and only play the piano for his own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others and so every afternoon he volunteers at Old Age Homes and plays the piano for the residents free of charge.
And just as my ride was coming to an end he put on another disc, this time his own piece, and well I was rather sad that the ride had come to an end!


Sandi Shall

Ramat Hasharon


Riding sidesaddle no longer esoteric


I read Gloria Deutsch’s article Queen of Sidesaddle (ESRA Magazine #157, Nov-Dec 2010 p. 45) and want to point out that by no means is Gaby Hirschsprung the only person here who can ride sidesaddle as she claims.

Some thirty years ago Eva Oster rode her English mare, Milady, very professionally and with the full habit and during the years continued to delight us with performances although she rode mainly in the classic English style. I would say she was the first to ride this way but perhaps during the Mandate times there were others.

During the Israeli Dressage Championships at Kibbutz Nezer Sereni last June, Riki Bahar treated us to a delightful performance on her mare, Olivia, also riding sidesaddle and in full habit. Riki is a high level dressage rider but showed, nevertheless, how to handle such a different form of equestrianism.

The sport of riding has become enormously popular here in Israel, there are thousands of horses and hundreds of stables all over the country, some having achieved a very high degree of professionalism. Dressage, show jumping, Western, long distance riding out, and riding for the disabled. I believe there is some racing too but I know little about it. With all due respect, perhaps esoteric is not really applicable any more.

If ever you would like to see a really professional stable with lovely horses I would be delighted to take you there. It is only around the corner.


Shirley Hirsch

International and Israeli National Dressage Judge



Explaining Alzheimer's to young children


I found the following very useful when Alec, my late husband, was ill and I needed to explain things to our young grandchildren. If you think it might help others, I would be happy to see it in your wonderful magazine.


"Grandpa has an illness called Alzheimer's that makes him act the way he does. It’s like having a broken leg, but with your Grandpa, a little piece of his brain is broken and does not work the way it used to. And that is why he asks you the same questions over and over again. Because of this illness he can't remember what you told him yesterday. Because of this he forgets how to use the television remote. Because of this he sometimes falls asleep when you are telling him something important. Because of this he forgets people's names. But, the part of Grandpa's brain that is for loving is still working well, and I know that he loves you all very much."


Jill Sadowsky

Ramat Hasharon


Thank you ESRA Community Fund for:


A school trip to Poland, with dignity

Yisraela K. has been studying at the Wizo Nachalat Yehuda School since 2007 and this coming year she will be in Grade 12. In July we approached ESRA to help fund Yisraela's school trip to Poland. She was chosen to represent the school from among many candidates at the boarding school. But due to the financial constraints of her family, she would not have been able to go on the trip without assistance.

I have no words to thank ESRA for fully funding the cost of NIS1600 which has allowed Yisraela to realize her dream and to participate in this trip, which is such an integral part of the history of the Jewish people.

Due to your help, someone who does not have the means to go on such an important trip was able to participate with dignity and honor.

Inbar Horad-Yeslovitz, Social Worker

Wizo Nachalat Yehuda School

Rishon Lezion  


A scholarship and air ticket to visit mother

I made aliyah in 2005 with the SELA program of the Jewish Agency. I am very happy with my life in Israel.  People have been very helpful and supportive and have assisted me to adapt and integrate within Israeli society.

Today I am a top student in my last semester in Economics and Business Studies at the Academic College of the Western Galilee which is affiliated to Bar Ilan University. Throughout my studies I have always worked in order to support myself. Unfortunately, last year I was fired from my job as I needed to devote more of my time to my studies rather than to work.

As a result of my financial difficulties, I approached ESRA to give me some financial assistance while I am still studying.  To my delight you agreed to assist me. I would like to thank you for the economic assistance which has enabled me to carry on and complete my studies.  Your assistance has helped me to succeed in my studies as I now do not have to worry where I will get money from and I can put all my efforts into succeeding.

I was also so surprised to receive an air ticket from you which allowed me to fly to the Ukraine to visit my mother, whom I have not seen for a long time, as I could never afford the trip there.  I always thought that such wonderful presents only happen in movies!

No one has ever done something like that for me before and I am so grateful to you and thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am sure that your financial help will enable me to complete my studies with success and to develop myself further.


Irena A.

Kiryat Yam














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