Jackie Klein ... a mensch
I have written umpteen articles, reports, tributes, interviews or just plain commentaries over the years, but this is one of the toughest assignments I have set myself to date. How does one say thank you to someone who has been one of my guiding lights for almost eight years? How does one say farewell when you dare not think it, let alone say it? How does one illuminate the many qualities of just one person who has made such a difference to your life and the lives of so many others? How can ESRA ever laud a volunteer highly enough for her dedication, diligence and distinction?
Such a person is my co-chair in Modiin, Jackie Klein, who sadly retired as co-chair at the end of November, as she and hubby Alan are returning to South Africa for a few years.
Jackie was the instigator of my joining her in her efforts to develop ESRA in Modiin. She sought someone who spoke Hebrew and who could work alongside her in expanding activities beyond Stella Padeh’s monthly lecture series.
In short order, together we researched the needs in Modiin for our focus project, and established Neve ESRA, our afternoon care center for kids at risk. We opened ESRABooks, our flagship anchor in Modiin, which sells secondhand books in English and Hebrew, has become a popular hub in the city and continues to grow in customer volume and in income. We created two committees of active and enthusiastic members, initiated programs such as “Let’s Talk” for language improvement, Mahjongg games with an annual Mahjathon which is now a highlight in our annual calendar of busy events, a Knitting and Crocheting Circle, and more recently, the first cancer support group in English in the city.
We have raised hundreds of thousands of shekels since 2009, having organized a slew of varied activities from lectures to music recitals, from outings to brunches. Jackie was instrumental in every facet of our growth - from recruiting new members (from 11 to over 150 so far and still counting), to magazines delivery, to printing needs, to whatever was needed while keeping it all together. Her energy and devotion were boundless and unmatched. She tackled every task with meticulous efficiency, handled all our finances, event registrations and a myriad other duties. Jackie always performed with the dignity and flair that was her unique demeanor.
More than all, however, Jackie was and is a mensch. What an honor and a privilege to have such a person as your co-worker.
ESRA will be losing a valuable and devoted individual; Modiin will be losing the beloved captain of its team; while all ESRA will be left bereft of a great friend and colleague.
Jackie, you have earned our deserved admiration for all you have accomplished in Modiin and ESRA nationally. May you and Alan settle in to your new home smoothly and quickly. And remember, all of us, most of all I, await your return to Modiin in the future. You will always have a place here and in our hearts. Lehitra’ot, dear friend.
By Cynthia Barmor, Co-Chair ESRA Modiin
A PHOTO ALBUM OF JACKIE’S ESRA MEMORIES
Left: Hands up ... having a go at self-defence. Right: 2010: With Modiin Mayor Chaim Bibas at the Neve ESRA launch
In the ESRA Modiin bookshop, and (in hat) on an ESRA tour
Left: With Bedouin diplomat Ishmail Khalidi. Right: Helping at a yard sale alongside Cynthia Barmor