Knitting for charity

Adriana Montes, freshman integrated social studies major, watches as Kate Waits, a member of the Beth El Congregation in Akron, gives a knitting lesson on Tuesday. Beth El Synagogue and Hillel worked together to create Learn to Knit: It’s a Knitzvah. Photo by Anthony Vence.

Michaela Write


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Hillel and the Women’s Center are hosting knitting classes for charity this month. Both knitting classes are open to students, faculty and staff.

Hillel’s first knitting class, Learn to Knit: It’s a Knitzvah, was held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hillel, Kent State’s Jewish Student Center.

During the class, people learned to knit squares that will be combined to make large blankets. The blankets will go to the battered women’s shelter in Akron.

The “Knitzvah” idea came from the Beth El Congregation in West Akron. Members meet every third Sunday of the month to knit blankets for those in need. A member of the synagogue, Marsha Friedman, approached Rabbi Lee Moore at Hillel about the class. Moore thought it was a good idea.

Sarah James, senior public relations major, also collaborated with Moore for the project.

“We met at a concert, and I really wanted to get involved with Hillel,” James said.

Moore said she was eager for the class.

“We’re very excited to have our guests here, and we’re very excited that Sarah James is so into knitting that she wanted to teach people how to knit,” Moore said. “I’m going to learn how to knit tonight!”

The word Knitzvah is a play on the Jewish word mitzvah, which means “good deed” or “commandment.”

Moore said the event is a good way to connect to others.

“One thing that I really like about this event is that in addition to the neat play on words, there are so many different connections that are happening here,” Moore said.

“We are connecting pieces of yarn to each other and then connecting them all together to make a blanket and then connecting with people who need blankets.”

Felicia Levine, an intern at Hillel, said she is very excited about the class.

“I already know how to knit, but it’s been six years since I’ve last knitted,” Levine said. “I had a lot of yarn left over because I buy new yarn every time I do a project. I had a lot left over that we could use if we run out.”

The next classes are Feb. 15 and Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Hillel center.

The knitting class at the Women’s Center is also part of a series.

Diane Baldridge, a student worker at the Women’s Center, said she suggested “Knitting for Those in Need.”

Baldridge is a former employee of the American Red Cross and was involved in “Knit Your Bit,” a nationwide project that knits designs for soldiers in the military.

“I took that as inspiration to work with youth and young adults,” Baldridge said. “We wanted to do a project that would have them invest themselves into actually helping others instead of just going to Goodwill.”

Program Coordinator Amanda Roder said the class fit in with the mission of the center.

“The Women’s Center exists for faculty, students and staff with a mission of education, service and support,” Roder said.

Laura Wilhelm, who works in the Admissions Office, attended the class.

“I always wanted to learn how to knit,” Wilhelm said. “I figured why not do it for a good cause. I saw the tools and it didn’t look too hard.”

The next class is February 11 at noon in the Women’s Center.

Contact Michaela Write at [email protected]