a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self


Posted on: October 30, 2011

**Apologies to everyone who follows me on Facebook and has already gotten this information. **

I want to do a mitzvah project for Hanukkah.  In case you didn’t know, New York City and many other cities in the North East decided to dress up like Winter for Halloween.  In NYC, we got about three inches of snow, most of which is thankfully melted by now.  In other places as much as a foot of snow fell yesterday knocking out power lines and leaving folks without heat.  Of course, I’ve been thinking about the Occupy folks and what they’re doing to prepare for winter.  More than the Occupy folks, I’ve been thinking about the homeless people of New York and their options for winter weather.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m 100% in favor of the Occupy Movement.  That said, this post is not about the Occupy Movement-it’s about homeless people, people living on the streets of New York and people in shelters.  A scarf is nothing.  In fact it’s actually quite small and probably not the most efficient cold-weather item.  There is something about the satisfaction that knitting a scarf brings to me.  It’s an easy item to knit, it doesn’t require very much precision, and when they’re done, whether long and skinny or a circle scarf it brings a smile to my face.  I have a scarf addiction.  I wear them all of the time in every season. 

A few years ago I started knitting, big circle scarves with giant plastic needles that I could bust out in a day’s subway ride.  I gave them to friends and kept several for myself.  Because they are my favorite fashion accessory, I tend to buy really great wool.  I actually have a few skeins of cashmere yarn just sitting in my knitting bag.  When it’s cold outside, they become more than just an accessory, they become a necessity.  I want to knit nice wool scarves for people in need.  The idea is to have at least 100 scarves knit for men, women and children to give to a homeless shelter here in NYC…or just to have to give to people that I see every day on the subway or on the street.

Let’s be real I’m a fairly fast knitter, but 100 scarves is a stretch.  If I could get a group of people together to help-maybe we can do it in time for Chanukkah.  So, if you’re in NYC, please send me an e-mail.  If you’re not in NYC and want to send me a scarf that you’ve knit let me know. 

We’re in an interesting time of year.  The High Holidays are behind us, the nights are getting longer and colder. After Simchat Torah we have an entire month without any holidays.  It may seem bleak or it can seem the perfect time to sit back, relax, and just be Jewish.  On the other hand, as Jews we are required to repair the world, to think of the stranger, to act justly.  A month without holidays is a relief, especially after the whirlwind that is the Jewish Holiday Season.  It could be a month to do something for someone else, simply because it’s the right thing to do.  So knit away!  Knit on your commute, or while watching Law and Order (that’s what I did today).  What do you say?  Can we get 100 scarves done in 50 something days?


e-mail me at : blackgayandjewish@gmail.com



3 Responses to "Mitzvah!"

would love to help. live in Miami and can’t find a knitting group to do scarves to send up North. would like to find a group to knit with and don’t feel very comfortable starting one ‘cos I’m basically just a basic, beginning knitter. but I do do knit, pearl,cast on and bind off–so that can create a scarf, but I’m not sure I can teach it to others. but I can’t imagine how horrible to be on the street in dead of winter. but people have asked me, “when it’s that cold, can a scarf and hat REALLY keep someone from freezing?” What size needles and a 4-ply yarn ?

Thanks so much Betsy! Start knitting away and I will send out my address information after Thanksgiving!

[…] I received about three e-mails from knitters and crocheters interested in helping out with my Mitzvah Project.  One of the trip participants sent me home with a beautifully knitted scarf he recently finished […]

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