Etniers - getting to know us

This section is a place for you to get to know fellow Etniers. You are invited to send us information about yourself for posting here.

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Dr. Esther Lucas

(The following was posted in December 2010. This morning, May 16, 2011, we heard of Esther's passing. Esther will be greatly missed. You are welcome to send us your thoughts for posting below.)

Born before the end of WW1, in Helsingfors (now Helsinki), Esther was taken at age two to England, where she went to school in London with one term in France. It was after she joined a school trip to the League of Nations in Geneva in1935 that her interest in global issues began. After graduating in French and German from Oxford in 1940, she joined the Royal Institute of International Affairs, soon taken over by the Foreign Office Research Department. When WW2 ended she was seconded to the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations, and so was present at the first Security Council and General Assembly in London

Though offered a place in the UN in New York, Esther flew to Palestine via Egypt in1946 to join kibbutz Kfar Blum. The following year she served briefly in the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, liaising with UNSCOP, the UN Special Committee on Palestine. She claims her only encounter with Ben Gurion was when he invited her to his office and asked her if she could do shorthand and typing. When she replied no, he said: they told me you couldn’t but I wanted to hear it myself.

Moving to Herzliya Pituah in 1950 she decided to teach because it seemed the only worthwhile thing to do at that time without travelling to Jerusalem. Having been a youth leader in GB, she felt she knew something about young people. There was no training available at the time and almost no literature on teaching EFL existed, so she learnt from experience and read as much as possible. Esther taught different levels for a year at Kibbutz Glil Yam and then was asked to teach at the only High School (now Harishonim) in Herzliya, where she became class teacher, EFL coordinator and briefly deputy head. She says she loved teaching and soon introduced a number of innovations, such as pen-pal correspondence (no internet yet), the annual performance of a play in English, (the first one, Julius Caesar) as well as an English school newspaper and for a while a choir. She produced several textbooks, one of which was used in many high schools in Israel.

Among educational activities, she founded and worked in a local Scout troop, and spent many years furthering the educational aspects of UNICEF. Esther is Hon. President of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project in Israel. Over the years, these interests enabled her to represent Israel at various conferences worldwide as an active member of IATEFL, TESOL, AILA, ISA, WEF, and IFUW. She is now on the board of the local International Women’s Club, and though no longer a dancer, organizes the Club’s Folk Dancing Group.

Esther retired thirty two years ago from school and twenty five years ago from Tel Aviv University where she trained EFL teachers. She continued teaching EFL for several more years however, to drop outs, Russian immigrants, soldiers needing “Bagrut”, and privately to adults. Esther took her degrees in three countries, Oxford, Tel Aviv and L├╝eneburg Germany. Though in her ninety third year, she is still very interested in EFL, and tries to appear at major conferences and ETAI Board meetings. A couple of years ago she became "Yekirat Ha'ir" in the city of Herzliya, awarded for her educational work. She has recently published her memoirs and some of her poetry.
 
December 2010

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Remembering Esther

   This morning's newspaper brought sad news about our most veteran and esteemed ETAI member, Esther Lucas. I know that others knew her and about her great contribution to English teaching in Israel and to the foundation of ETAI, long before I joined the team, but since I joined the ETAI Board, 5 years ago, I have had the privilege and the pleasure of getting to know Esther. We have all benefited from her wisdom and experience - her clarifying and perceptive comments contributing to every board discussion, and have so enjoyed her sharp sense of humor and enthusiasm. We will miss her smiling presence at our meetings and events terribly.  May her memory be a blessing and an inspiration to us all.

Mitzi Geffen
ETAI Chair

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Esther Lucus will always stay with me.
I see her clearly now, as I write, sitting behind her UNICEF table at ETAI conferences and presenting her project to teachers, one and all. I was honored to do a UNICEF project with Esther and the wonderful experience was shared by everyone.
 Esther always had a good word to say and took an interest in new developments in the field as well as in special projects.
She was an incredibly special woman. Her rich life work is truly a celebration of life. 
Laurie Ornstein

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Esther was my Pedagogical Advisor 42 years ago and was such an inspiration and role model.
We kept in touch throughout the years through our activities in ETAI and at ETAI conferences. Traveling with Esther on the bus to ETAI in Beer Sheva was always a special experience because she had such wonderful stories about her life to share with us.
As Mitzi wrote she also had much to contribute the ETAI board meetings.
Esther attended as many IATEFL conferences as she could and we met up years ago at one in Dublin. A shared experience there was getting electric kettles for our respective rooms.
Because Esther remained active in the field of teaching English, there were lots of opportunities to meet up with her. She never seemed to age and was always alert and
positive.
She will be sorely missed but her contribution to me personally and to many others will live on. We will cherish her memory.

Nava Horovitz

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I would like to express my condolences to Esther's family and to all the English teachers in Israel on the passing away of an amazing woman.
I did my teaching certificate at Tel Aviv University many years ago. Esther Lucas was my madricha pedagogit.
Since then, Esther and I have remained in contact, mainly through ETAI . We spent many hours travelling to conferences together. I admired Esther so much and always was amazed at how a woman of her age could have so much energy and initiative and have such a full and fulfilling life.
We will all miss you terribly.

Margaret Porat

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Esther inspired my colleague and I to do the UNICEF project with our deaf and hard of hearing 10th graders.
She took an active interest in the process and invited us to her home for updates and advice.
Esther even provided us with motivational stickers and buttons beyond the material that came with the standard pack.
Esther read EVERY SINGLE ONE of the18 projects and commented on them. Then she delighted us all and came to our clasroom to return the projects. Each student received a warm smile and words of encouragement along with the UNICEF certificate. The  students were very impressed that such an important and dignified person had come to the class because of their projects!
I often read Esther's interesting tales or words of advice on ETNI. The last letter of hers that I read was a comment on my query about the origin of the letter "h" in the name Esther!
I feel lucky to have known such an inspiring teacher!

Naomi Epstein
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Naomi Epstein
"Shema" Counselor for Teaching English
to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students