Calgary knitters send warmth and comfort to IDF soldiers in Israel

Calgary knitters have joined together for a "Knitzvah Project" - knitting touques for IDF soldiers in Israel. Photo supplied.

(AJNews) – On January 8, a group of women met at the Beth Tzedec Congregation to put the final touches on a project that began in mid-November in response to a worldwide call for hand knitted hats (toques) for soldiers in Israel.

This is not the first time that knitted hats are being sent to the IDF. In 2007 a grass roots project was started in Israel by Channah Koppel, a mother whose son was in the IDF and saw a need for better warm hats for the soldiers. By the time the project was suspended in 2022, over 75,000 hats had been distributed. After October 7, it became clear there was a need once again.

News of the project spread quickly, and within a few days Michele Doctoroff, Jennifer Mackenzie, and Kathie Wainer, heard of the need for knitters and separately started to put out feelers for interest within the community. They connected, met and the Knitzvah Project was created.

A call for knitters went out via word of mouth and synagogue and community newsletters, yarn shops were scoured for the appropriate yarn, and the pattern was distributed to knitters. Bringing this project to Calgary connects to Jewish women knitting worldwide, including those in Israel. Love and concern are expressed through each stitch that will connect personally to many of the IDF soldiers.

The result of this collective effort is 62 hats, knitted by 15 women, that are now on their way to Israel. The hats will be delivered by a Calgary community member who is volunteering in Israel. Each hat has a personal note attached with a message of gratitude, strength, and the hope for peace, sent with love from a group of women in Calgary. “When we hear from our Israeli friends and family that they may not feel that the world is listening and hearing, we hope that our heartfelt enclosure cards will touch the hearts of IDF soldiers and they will know they are not alone,” shares Doctoroff.

The Knitzvah project will continue and now includes crocheters. There are plans for another shipment in April. If you would like to join us, please contact Michele Doctoroff at

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