Rank and File: Hundreds Gather to Celebrate ESRA’s 40th Anniversary

Plus, Australia’s ambassador to Israel honors the Malki Foundation and the Israel Association of Writers in English launches its latest arc journal

Students at ESRA's 40th anniversary celebrations, May 14, 2019.
Richard Halon

ESRA CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY: Over 500 ESRA members and friends gathered in the sunshine at Kibbutz Shefayim on Tuesday to celebrate 40 years of ESRA, the English Speaking Residents Association. The lawns were covered with colorful stalls displaying arts and crafts, while visitors were treated to music by a group of young jazz musicians and were welcomed by students from ESRA’s flagship project, Students Build a Community. A predominately volunteer-run organization, ESRA was founded by life president and ESRA Magazine editor Merle Guttmann.

Chairman Baruch Tanaman opened the proceedings by introducing Guttmann, who said ESRA’s initial aim was to help Anglos successfully integrate into Israeli society but ultimately evolved into its members helping other new immigrants and the community through some 40 projects and ongoing events. Writer A.B. Yehoshua, meanwhile, spoke on Jewish, Zionist and Israeli identity. The day concluded with dancing in the aisles to the sounds of the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour Band.

HONORING MALKI ROTH AND HER LEGACY: The Malki Foundation has for nearly 18 years carried on the legacy of Malki Roth, who had been dedicated to caring for her severely disabled sister and also volunteered to help children with special needs before being killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem in 2001. Last week, Australia’s ambassador to Israel, Chris Cannan, hosted a reception at his residence to honor the foundation. “Australian culture famously has an in-built sympathy for the underdog, which in our case means families battling to get Israel’s health system to stand with them as they face the challenges of a child’s profound disabilities,” said Malki’s father, Arnold Roth, who like his daughter was born in Melbourne. “The struggle is far harder than people not directly involved usually realize. It’s a privilege to provide nonsectarian support via equipment and therapies — as we have for nearly 18 years — and to do it in the name of our loved and greatly missed child.”

LAUNCHING A NEW ARC: The Israel Association of Writers in English will hold the Jerusalem launch of its literary journal, arc 26, at the Abraham Hostel at 7 P.M. this Tuesday. The current issue “is subtitled ‘Love in a Time of Conflict.’ It’s very interesting to hear the different takes on the subject,” the association’s Lois Michal Unger told Haaretz. “Some wrote about love and conflict in the family. Others, loving in a time of war,” added Unger, who was born in New York City and moved to Israel in 1982. Some of the writers who will be reading are Karen Gut, Lonnie Monka, Michael Kagan, Daniella Levy, Hayim Abramson, Yakov Azriel, Judy Belsky, Shimon Palmer, Asi Epshtain, Wendy Dickstein, Shira Chai, David Brauner, Yocheved Zemel, Mark Levinson, Pesach Rotem, Celia Merlin Atias and Shlomo Yashar. Shawn Edrei edited the journal.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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