It is always admirable when someone can take a skill and use it to help other people. Twelve-year-old Ayala Kramer of Teaneck did just that, and used a personal connection to make the gesture even more meaningful. The sixth grader at Ben Porat Yosef had developed an interest in sewing after her father suggested the activity on a snow day. She started out making projects by hand—friendly monsters and other such activities—but has since learned the mechanics of a sewing machine. When Ayala’s younger sister needed to spend some time in the NICU, she noticed her sister had received blankets knitted by volunteers specifically for NICU babies. It meant so much to Ayala and to the whole Kramer family. She knew that this was an idea she could bring to other places, and decided to sew blankets for babies in hospitals in Israel.
“I fell in love with sewing because I make anything out of it and do my own style,” said Ayala. “I love that I can use sewing to help other people.”
Yaakov Kramer, Ayala’s father, loved the idea for her bat mitzvah project. “We were trying to come up with ideas but didn’t want to do something that made people buy something or donate money. Ayala wanted to do something that she has a connection to,” he explained.
“Ayala recently had the opportunity to spend time in Israel with our family in Meitar,” said Yael Kramer, Ayala’s mother. “We wanted her to gain an appreciation for the culture and the language. She stayed in a home with her cousins who are both physicians, and saw firsthand their devotion to the hospital, as they run to and from the ER and the ICU.”
Ayala also had the opportunity to participate not only in the Israeli Jewish community, but in the large Bedouin population, many of whom are patients in the hospitals where her family works. She saw the level of care and compassion that the hospital staff delivers to all patients—Jewish, Christian or Arab.
“She knows the blankets will go to help someone,” said her father.
For her part, Ayala is grateful for her time in Israel to visit the hospitals and see firsthand the way they work. She is also overwhelmed by the generosity of her community in donating fabric that she can use to make these blankets. “A lot of people have been donating material that I can use to make these blankets,” she said. “As long as people continue to donate, I will continue to make blankets to send to the hospital. This is not a one-time thing.”
Both of her parents are proud of Ayala and the effort she is putting into this project to make a difference for families, knowing firsthand how moving the donation can be. “She has been so committed. We are really proud of Ayala and the work and time she is putting into it,” they said. “She is doing a great job with something that will make a difference.”
Ayala’s blankets have already been distributed to patients in Hadassah Ein Kerem, and the Kramer family is looking forward to continuing the blanket distribution to other hospitals.
Mazel tov to Ayala and to her family on the upcoming simcha. This is a beautiful way to enter into the next stage of mitzvot. If anyone wants to help donate fabric or get involved in any other way, please email [email protected]
By Jenny Gans