500 healing shawls, and counting

Contributed Article

ORANGE >> Since 2009, Threads of Love, a New Haven area Jewish Prayer Shawl Circle, has been knitting and crocheting healing shawls for people in Greater New Haven and beyond.

A total of 500 shawls have been made and delivered. The group was inspired to start by Sarah Blum, a chaplain at the Hospital of St. Raphael in 2009.

About every eight weeks, the members meet to gather the shawls and package each in a hand-decorated bag. A card is included, which expresses warm and caring wishes for peace and well-being.

Shawls usually go to local hospitals and other facilities. But family members and friends have also been recipients, from Florida to Washington state, and many places in between.

In return, recipients have given feedback and sent notes that “strangers” care enough to send a gift of comfort and hope. Sometimes, they even give donations to buy supplies.

Knitters and crocheters come from Connecticut and Massachusetts, some are retired and others still working.

The only requirement is that the yarn be 100 percent acrylic and machine washable.

“We are all very proud of what we have accomplished, and will continue to comfort those who need some kindness and loving wishes. Softness, warmth, and beauty are what we want to wrap around the recipients. We all agree that by giving of ourselves, we have gotten so much more in return,” group leader Elaine Klein said.

For more information, contact Klein at erklein7@yahoo.com.