Since the early days of the organization, there has been an ESRA Herzliya group which held small local functions for people to socialize and to raise money for ESRA’s many ambitious projects. There is now a very well established committee which meets regularly on Sundays in ESRA's Gan Rashal office. The meetings, chaired by Barbara Blum, are run very efficiently and are short and focused.
Herzliya’s Golden Friendship Club is one of ESRA’s earliest established groups. It still meets every Monday afternoon from September through June at the Queen Juliana retirement home; some 25 seniors are active members of the group. The committee, chaired by Inge David, plans interesting, lively programs, and discussions cover current topics, festivals, art, music and more. Outside speakers also are invited to entertain the members.
ESRA Herzliya supports several projects run by the local authority, both financially and with volunteer help.
A club for Russian teenagers has been running for several years in central Herzliya. It is open two or three times a week, and ESRA Herzliya provides a monthly sum which pays for light refreshments for the youngsters.
Nativ is an after-school center in Neve Israel for children with severe behavioral problems. Several local volunteers help the qualified staff with their duties. A very successful end- of-year party was held this summer, with parents joining the staff and the children. The children baked the cakes which were served at the event, and their handwork, which included clocks, was placed on display. They also gave their visitors a very enjoyable display of martial arts.
Students Build a Neighborhood in Herzliya, which started in 2011, is a project which ESRA Herzliya is helping. .. . It is a scheme which involves full-time students in tutoring a number of local school children who need individual attention with their studies. In return, the students receive from the ESRA Community Fund accommodation and a grant towards their studies. The pupils are chosen by their teachers as needing help with their academic and social skills. Tutoring them requires much more than just sitting with them for an hour or so – the students become involved with the pupils’ families and with the local community. The relationships can result in the pupils becoming better equipped for life.
Bayit Cham was officially opened last summer and is run jointly with Herzliya Social Services. It is an after-school center for girls aged 11 to 17 who are considered to be at risk. The girls attend twice a week from 13:00-18:00 and receive hot meals that they help prepare. The center is comfortably furnished, social workers provide social and counseling activities, and there are films and lectures, computers, a television and a special make-up corner.
Meals on Wheels, one of ESRA’s early volunteer projects, is run from Beth Protea. The food arrives from an outside source, and residents divide it into portions and pack these for distribution. An active and dedicated group of ESRA volunteers deliver a week’s supply of food each Thursday morning to needy residents around Herzliya.
Tutoring English in local schools is a very positive activity for ESRA members in many areas, and Herzliya is no exception. About twenty volunteers visit four high schools and a number of elementary schools in Herzliya, and help students either individually or in small groups, according to the wishes of the teachers. The focus in high schools is on tutoring pupils for the English oral bagrut examination.
Volunteering in ESRA offices in Herzliya: Several volunteers work regularly at the ESRA MAGAZINE office. Much of this work helps to maintain the highly professional website of the magazine and the accounts of advertisers. The main office in Gan Rashal also has many volunteers who undertake jobs such as answering the phone, working on the database, sending out mail, including thank you letters to donors, and other tasks. There are also Herzliyans who volunteer in the office at Beit Fisher in Raanana. Here much of the work involves answering the phone and taking bookings for ESRA events, as well as helping people who walk into this “drop-in” office.
A number of Herzliya members work with the Counseling Services that ESRA offers. Others volunteer as "befrienders", who visit lonely or incapacitated people at home and offer them friendship and help.
ESRA Herzliya also organizes Fundraising Events which help to finance not only local projects, but ESRA generally. Speakers come to private houses to entertain members on many varied subjects. The last two speakers were journalist Akin Ajayi, who writes for The Jerusalem Post, and Barbara Blum, who spoke about Frank Sinatra and his relationship with the Jewish people.
Herzliya’s main fundraiser is the Annual Bridge Morning that takes place in Herzliya Pituach in the spring. Bess Hoffman has been successfully organizing that event for the past few years.
We have many dedicated, hardworking ESRA members in Herzliya – far too many to be mentioned and praised individually, with one exception. As well as being the ESRA Herzliya committee's excellent Chairperson, Barbara Blum is known for her highly informative, lively and very entertaining lectures on music. Her lectures are so varied – they could be about a composer, an opera, a performer or a type of music – and she must be thanked for all the time she gives to ESRA and other charitable organizations.
Volunteers are always needed to help in the ESRA offices, and ESRA Herzliya is always delighted to have new people join the committee or take part in any of the many local volunteering projects. Please feel free to contact us at any time.
Contact: Barbara 09 956 8788, firstname.lastname@example.org