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Giving is truly Receiving 

The atmosphere is electric. The kids have got “ants in their pants” from excitement. What is the occasion? The annual Chanukah distribution of sweaters from the ESRA Rishon Lezion Knitting Group to local after - school centers.

This year we knitted 170 sweaters, and there are 162 children to give them to – a close shave! Over the past two weeks, on Sunday and Tuesday afternoons, we visited three centers on each afternoon, armed with boxes containing sweaters in various sizes and colors, packets of sweets (kindly donated by Carmit), doughnuts (kindly donated by Chalom Yaacov and Strudele bakeries) and dreidels. The kids are eagerly awaiting our arrival, even if it interrupts their daily hot lunch. They approach the tables where we are putting out the sweaters so that they can choose which one they like, until the teacher shoos them back to their seats. As their names are called they come forward, some shyly, some eagerly, to choose a sweater and try it on. Happily, their faces shining, they put the chosen sweaters into bags with their names on them, already containing sweets and a dreidel to take home, and go back to their seats. Sometimes they sing a Chanukah song, sometimes it is a poem written by one of them – whatever. We leave with a lump in our throats and a song in our hearts.

We have adopted one “special” center, Ofakim, for which we prepare extra treats. This year Janet Kiesari, our chairperson, organized a young man to bring animals and teach the children about them. He turned up with rabbits, rats, hamsters and other animals, and kept the children absolutely enthralled for about an hour, allowing them to hold and pat the animals. The chances are that the school housing this center will benefit from an “animal corner” as a result of this visit. We also gave these children flutes, and their instructor will give them music lessons during the year, so that by next Chanukah, they will hopefully be able to entertain us with a concert. How happy and excited the kids were with this gift.



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