Group from Atlanta Sends Blankets, Volunteers to Israel

By Atara Beck

Special for the AJT Online

“How proud we are to be sending 127 blankets, made in just a few days, to the neonatal unit of Shaare Tzedek Hospital with our love and hope for peace and security for the little ones being born and all the peoples of Israel.”

A charitable group of American supporters of the Jewish state rose to the challenge yet again, responding to the need for incubator covers for infants at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Maasay Yahdav, a U.S.-based, non-profit humanitarian organization, donated the fabric, and the dedicated volunteers of Shalom Quilters – based in Atlanta, but including members from several states – and the Lady Bug Quilters of Canton, Georgia completed the entire project within a day.

“We are a small charity placed in the United States that brings humanitarian aid to Israel. We serve God’s people in God’s land,” Barri Mallin, president of Maasey Yahdav, told United with Israel in a telephone conversation on Sunday. She was in Jerusalem with 10 others who had just delivered the beautiful quilts to Shaare Zedek.

Maasey Yahdav members visit the Holy Land twice a year. On previous missions, the group donated various items, according to the needs specified, for diverse causes, such as Herzog Hospital’s Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma, IDF soldiers, shelters for abused women and children, and Holocaust survivors.

“We serve from the heart,” Mallin said. The volunteers include “so many people from different walks of life…. Jews and non-Jews.”

‘Responding to the Need ‘Without Hesitation’

Upon hearing of the need for blankets at Shaare Zedek, “without hesitation, we said yes,” explained Doris Mintz, a member of Maasay Yahdav.

“Shaare Zedek is such a creative and innovative hospital for children in Israel,” she said. “Each day they witness new equipment, advanced procedures and dedicated staff rushing to save lives.”

Mintz described the “humming of sewing machines, the chatter of voices, the room filled with activity” during the “one day sew-a-thon…. Some were busy cutting the fabric to the requested size for covers for the incubators, thus allowing the infants some shade from the overhead lighting and glare, as requested by the staff at the hospital’s newly opened neonatal unit.

“Some quilters and residents were busy pinning the fabric and then passing it on to those who were sewing,” she continued. “The ironers were busy pressing the turned fabric, and the finished blankets were stacked in a neat pile.

‘So Much Caring to Help Israel’

“So much energy, so much interest in helping Israel…so much caring to help Israel. There were four stations for ironing, 10 sewing machines, two areas for cutting the fabric for the baby blankets.”

When the quilters originally agreed to make the baby blankets, “we never envisioned receiving 180 yards of fabric” from Maasey Yahdav, Mintz stated. “That’s almost two American football fields of fabric!”

The quilters washed and dried all the material before sewing.

“Shalom quilters and the Lady Bug quilters are such a gift to us as we journey to the land of Israel to touch lives,” Mintz enthused upon departing for her most recent visit to Israel.

“How proud we are to be sending 127 blankets, made in just a few days, to the neonatal unit of Shaare Tzedek Hospital with our love and hope for peace and security for the little ones being born and all the peoples of Israel,” Mintz and Pat Pugrant, director of Shalom Quilters, declared.

Israel does have goodwill ambassadors,” Mallin affirmed. “It’s an honor to come to the ultimate zip code.”

Editors Note: Atara Beck is the senior editor for Americans United with Israel