ESRA Magazine
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Blanket Coverage

...thanks to the ladies of the Circle
Story and photo by Linda Levine
For the last few months I have been a member of the ESRA Ir Yamim knitting circle, my particular forté being crocheting knee blankets. On December 11, 2019, four of us – Barbara Solomons, Cynthia Greenspan, Ruth Malka and I, together with our amazing "leader", Rose Glaskie, went to the Hefzibah Community Center in Kiryat HaSharon. We were met there by Nina Zuck, ESRA National Projects Manager, and by Judi Argaman, who is coordinator of the Young Children's Program "First Steps" in the kindergarten next door. They explained a little about the neighborhood, almost all of which is made up of the Ethiopian community. This means they tend to remain amongst themselves and do not have the opportunity to integrate into the melting pot of Israeli society, particularly the older people who do not work. 
This is not an "easy" neighborhood but they said that it had improved very much in the last twelve years since the arrival of ESRA's outreach programs, with different activities within the community, ranging from early childhood to the elderly.
We had been invited to attend a Cafe Buna (coffee in Amharic) meeting of a group of older female members of the local Ethiopian community, who meet every Wednesday with their counselor, Mimi. They make their traditional coffee – first roasting the beans, then grinding them before finally preparing the coffee, with the tradition of drinking three cups each – we had just one cup each. This was served together with injira (traditional Ethiopian bread) with a very spicy tehina sauce.
The reason for our visit was to deliver the knee rugs that we had crocheted and knitted, and which we gave to them as a Chanukah gift. Ten women were present and they each chose a blanket. We left the others to be given to those who hadn't arrived that day.
Before we left, a few kindergarten children came into the room – these were just one group of those in Judi's enrichment program, who come into the center for extra activities and also to interact with the seniors who attend the center.
It was indeed a heartwarming visit and we were lucky to have been able to learn so much about the activities of ESRA in the area, as well as warming the legs, and hopefully the hearts, of the recipients of the blankets. 


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