Members of the Rishon LeZion knitting group above (from left) Janet Chait Kiesari, Lorna Toube, Judith Marton, Lucille Reefe, Shirley Frenkel

Over the past six weeks, all those who joined ESRA Rishon LeZion Knitting “Aunties” (Dodot Sorgot) in their annual sweater distribution, experienced a real lesson in life! 

This knitting group finished the year with the grand total of 480 hand-knitted sweaters and scarves that were distributed before Chanukah to high– risk children all over Rishon LeZion.

There are 23 after-school centers, and we personally visited each and every one during the months of November and December. Each child chose a sweater according to his/her favorite color and appropriate size and at the end of the day went home, not just with a sweater, but also with a matching scarf, a packet of sweets, a dreidel, a donut and a big smile.

These centers include mentally and physically handicapped children; children whose home life is practically non-existent; children from homes where there is no food in the fridge, or homes where abuse makes their lives hell and where beating, rape and alcohol are an ever-present danger; and children who have never had a new article of clothing and have never enjoyed a birthday cake (some do not even understand the concept).

When we visited, their eyes lit up; they hugged, caressed and kissed us. It made us feel so good that we were able to do the little that we do, as it means so much to these children.

This year we also sent 50 sweaters and 12 scarves to the people who were left homeless after the terrible fires in the north and another 30 sweaters to children who live with their mothers in sheltered accommodation for battered women.

A youngster tries on a sweater Right: A thank-you note from the children of Alonim to ‘the grandmothers who knit’

Every year we knit more and more sweaters and are able to assist more and more people – but it is never enough.

I want to thank all the knitters, both those from ESRA and those from Ad-120, as well as all those involved in the distributions; it is a tough but deeply rewarding task. Our thanks also go to the women of a synagogue in Upstate New York with whom we have an association; they are also knitting for us and they send the sweaters to us with tourists who come on vacation to Israel.

Congratulations to all of you!

Please continue doing what you are doing for many years to come.

This project is totally funded by ESRA Rishon LeZion through the events that we hold during the year and through donations we receive.

Join us as a knitter, at a lecture, bazaar, film, games night or any other event that we hold and your entrance fee will go into the kitty for buying more wool or to feed hungry, unfortunate children. Just call 1.

Janet Kiesari is chairperson of ESRA Rishon LeZion

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About the author

Janet Kiesari

Janet Kiesari grew up in London. After school, she went to a business college and has a certificate in Business Management. She then worked in a property company.

In 1967 she came to live i...
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