Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gracias Damas!

I met a wonderful group of women this past week.

But let me backtrack. Last year, my mother was taking Hebrew lessons (ulpan) in Jerusalem. The teacher somehow heard about my hat project, and she asked if I could come speak to her class one day, which I did with pleasure. Some of you may know that ulpan class is always a wonderful melting pot of cultures and nationalities. In my mother's class was a lovely Mexican woman named Celia who really liked what she heard about the hats...so much so that the next time she visited Mexico, she recruited some knitters...



and some more....


and some more....




This week, a minibus filled with women of all ages from Mexico City pulled up at the Pina Chama, a local spot where volunteer Gush Etzion residents serve free coffee and homemade cake to soldiers. The women all piled out of the bus, and started unloading little plastic bags from the back of the bus. Each bag held 6 hats and in the bus were almost 300 hats, knit by the senior citizens of Kol Hanisayon, a Jewish association in Mexico City that provides activities for the elderly.



The hats were beautiful, and accompanied by lovely, sweet notes to the soldiers.



The enthusiastic women of Mexico City gave hats to the soldiers who had stopped at the Pina Chama, took lots of photos with them, and I took them on a quick tour of the modest but meaningful little facility.











I have to say, it was a busy week, mostly work, and this little pause in the action was a major highlight. The joy and faith that these women exuded, their excitement at being in Israel and doing something for their fellow Jews was truly heartwarming. As they climbed  back on the bus, I was able to say to them with complete sincerity that I was so glad I got to meet them and so sorry they were leaving.





Gracias Damas!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You bet we're still on!

Hi folks,

I'm sorry I'm such a terrible blogger but I am popping in to say -- yes, I'm still here and your hats are always welcome! Hats that come in over the month of August will be saved up to go out in Rosh Hashana packages in September.

Thank you so much to all of you who wrote in to check up on me & mine. We are thank God well, and the people of Israel are strong. Special thanks to those of you who are lay spokespeople for Israel and helping to make our case to the world in the face of so much hostile media and even blatant anti-Semitism.

I'll finish with two thank you letters from soldiers (names & unit info removed, of course) and the photos they sent. Knit on!



לכבוד מרת חנה קופל שלום רב,
ברצוני להודות לך על כובעי הצמר החמים.  יותר ממה שהם מגנים עלינו מהקור הם מחממים את ליבותינו, אנו רואים שיש כאלה המעריכים את פעולותינו שמכירים בכך שבמשימות הצבאיות לפעמים אנחנו נקלעים למצבים פיזיים קשים של קור ועייפות.
 
בצבא ישראל מתגלה הקשר והאחדות שבין חלקי האומה הישראלית...חלקתי לחברי בגדוד את כובעי הצמר ואכן האחדות והערכה הופיעה בצורה מיוחדת. 


 

We got the hats you made us and we wanted to say thanks a lot, I'm sure these will keep us warm. We really appreciate it, it's nice to know someone cares.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter is SO here...!


We've had record storms in Israel this past week -- torrential rains and more snow than there's been in over 60 years! People in many locations were left without electricity and water, sometimes for days. Roads were closed, cars were buried in snow, women had to give birth...and guess who was called in to save the day? Yes, our friends in the khaki uniforms and the black hats. They worked outdoors, in freezing cold weather, for days on end, with little sleep.You have no idea how helpful and appreciated those hats have been lately, and I'm getting requests for more all the time. 

Here are three e-mails I received from soldiers' mothers this week. Even though they thanked me, you knitters are the ones who deserve the real thanks!

Dear Channah,
Just wanted to tell you that I spoke to my chayal last night who is freezing and he said to me, "Remember that knitted hat I got when I went into the army? (It was spring when he went in, so he was a bit skeptical that he would actually ever need a wool hat!) Well, it's saving me. It's so warm. Please tell the person who made it thank you."
So Channah, I want to thank you for an amazing service. Keep up the great work, 
S.B.

Dear Channah, 
Our oldest still has his hat 4 years into his army service.
He also thinks it's the best hat he has.
B.L. 

Dear Channah, 
My son asked you for hats for his entire machlaka [division] a year or two ago...and you gave them cheerfully! The chayalim loved them then and they still love them now...
J.R.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Congrats to the Paramedics!

This group of paramedics just completed their course and are going out into their respective army jobs...in the hats you made them. 


The mother of one of the soldiers, who was the liasion with this group, wrote, "They all very much appreciated receiving the gift of the hats. A couple of them, who had other responsibilities at the time the hats were handed out, let my son know that they, too, wanted to be sure to get their hat. The timing was especially meaningful as it was a way to acknowledge their hard work and add to the celebration of their accomplishments. They posed wearing their hats so I could send you their picture as a way of sending their thanks....I am sending you and your group of knitters, my thanks and the thanks of Kapatz 24 for taking the time to knit the hats. Your time and effort really has made a difference for these young soldiers."

Thanks knitters!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's raining, it's pouring...and it's a happy Chanukah!



Today is the last day of Chanukah and the beginning of the wintery Hebrew month of Tevet. Happily, it's raining buckets in Israel today -- we've been waiting for a good rain like this for months. The people who really get the brunt of it, though, are of course our soldiers doing guard duty out in the cold & wet. It is most definitely hat season and dear knitters, your hats have been going out to the Golan, the Negev and everywhere in between. On the first day of Chanukah (which happened to be a lot sunnier) I had the privilege of presenting 300 hats to the Gush Etzion army base, responsible for securing the area I live in. They were very pleased and touched by your gift, and loved the letters and notes you included as well.

Below, a photo of myself (in the pink sweater) with two soldiers from the local army base, someone from the local security force who accompanied them, and my mother and daughter, both of whom have been collecting, unpacking and labeling hats with me from the start (and by the way, it's been six years now!)


Keep those hats coming, folks! They are being put to good use!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Farewell to a wonderful knitter


That's the recently deceased Charlotte Sasto on the left, who was due to turn 100 in a few weeks' time. Among the many other things she accomplished in her lifetime, one of her last projects was coordinating a group of women, mainly Holocaust survivors over the age of eighty, to knit more than 200 hats for the soldiers of the IDF. May her memory be a blessing. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

93 and going strong


Yet another amazing knitter. Thank you Daisy, for all you do! May the coming year bring good health, happiness and lots of hats!