Why ESRA? and What are ESRA’s aims?
ESRA is an independent non-profit organisation run by volunteers.
A group of English Speaking residents of Herzliya and Kfar Shmaryahu formed ESRA in 1979, primarily to fulfill a social need and assist their integration into Israeli society.
It soon expanded to include other towns in the Sharon area such as Ramat Hasharon, Kfar Saba, Hod Hasharon and Raanana, and, over the years has spread to areas wherever the need has arisen, providing a framework for English speaking activities in the community.
ESRA’s aims are threefold:
- Helping integration of English speaking families and new immigrants by providing social, cultural, educational and civic activities.
- Encouraging English speakers to volunteer in the community, thereby helping others and at the same time becoming a useful part of Israeli society.
- Initiating and running projects in the community via the ESRA Community Fund (E.C.F.) to aid immigrants from distressed countries and other disadvantaged sectors of Israeli society.
ESRA has contact with the other immigrant organisations, and also with the local municipalities and the various government bodies responsible for immigrant absorption and social welfare.
In 1992 ESRA, and its President and Founder, Merle Guttmann, was a recipient of the President’s Award for Volunteering for its contribution to the absorption of immigrants. In 1999 Merle was presented with the Volunteer Award of the Year for outstanding leadership by the National Council for Voluntarism in Israel.
ESRA’s president has received five additional awards for both her and ESRA’s contribution to the community. Many of ESRA’s volunteers have also received individual awards from their local municipalities for their volunteering activities in their communities.