Once a week for the past five years, Etty Magar has stepped into the Gvahim office located near Tel Aviv University.
She walks in and goes straight to work. Etty, an alumni relations volunteer, is the glue that reconnects alumni with Gvahim. She contacts every one of them to find out how they are doing, if they’ve found a job and how they’re getting along with their mentors.
Some people don’t understand that Gvahim is here for them, she said. If they are looking for a new job — even a few years after completing the Career Program — they can reconnect with Gvahim and use its placement department. She urges olim to take the initiative and use whatever Gvahim has to offer, from connections to professional advice.
Etty, a native of Belgium, was an only child. “Israel was always in my heart. Even as a little girl when I went to Jewish school and learned Hebrew,” she said proudly. “I have Zionism in my blood.” In 1966 she left her mother and made aliyah when Israel was still a relatively young country.
Etty eventually met and married an Israeli Army officer. She worked for IBM Israel for 29 years, had three children and lived through four wars.
One of Etty’s first jobs at IBM was in the personal computer department, where she acquired the nickname “Etty PC.” However for 17 years she worked as an executive secretary for IBM Israel General Manager. After she left IBM in 2011, a friend who knew she had a strong connection to Israel suggested she contact Gvahim. Ever since then, she’s been volunteering with the organization.
Etty says a few things about current Israeli policies disappoint her, yet she remains the most Zionist member of her family.
Her oldest grandchild is enlisting in the army this November. Her wish is that the new year will bring tranquility and peace between Palestinians and Israelis. She hopes her grandson “will enjoy a quieter period of military service.”
At the Rosh Hashana holiday table, Etty — a true Israeli — has managed to combine her own Polish family’s traditions with that of her husband, who has Egyptian roots. The result: gefilte fish, harime — (a spicy North African dish consisting of fish, tomatoes and hot pepper) and welcoming guests to her home.
by Limor D. Schwartz, Community Manager at Gvahim and GV MAG Editor