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      Knitting Club Helps Relieve Stress for Kids in Sderot

      A 12 year old New York girl set up a therapeutic knitting class for kids in Sderot, to help them deal with the stress of Gaza terror
      By David Lev
      First Publish: 6/21/2012, 12:26 PM

      Some members of the Sderot knitting club, including Noa, third from left
      Some members of the Sderot knitting club, including Noa, third from left
      Niv Shimshon

      As rockets fired by Gaza Arab terrorists continue to fall on the south, a group of young girls are meeting in Sderot – to be part of a “knitting circle,” organized by a 12 year old New York girl. Noa Mintz decided that she wanted to do something significant to honor her Bat Mitzvah that combined her love for knitting and her love for Israel., so she created a special therapeutic knitting class for girls in Sderot and decided to sponsor it along with her family, who donated $15,000 toward this project

      The project was established as part of a program sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York's “Give a Mitzvah, Do a Mitzvah” program, which helps kids brainstorm projects, and gives them the resources to actualize the projects.

      “When I visited Sderot three years ago and saw how close it is to Gaza, it was a very moving moment for me,” said Noa Mintz. “I recently fell in love with knitting as a group bonding and therapeutic thing, and decided that I wanted the same for the girls in Sderot. “

      Over the past several years, scientific studies have shown that knitting is an excellent therapy for the kind of constant stress residents of places like Sderot are constantly under. The activities involved in knitting – the automatic movements, the focus on parts of the project, and the physiological movements – have been shown to not only reduce stress, but to also possibly help memory retention, and even reduce the effects of chronic pain.

      As a result of Noa’s initiative, a special class was recently opened in Sderot, where young girls started to gather for knitting classes. This class has become a very well-known and demanded activity among young girls in the city.

      This week, Noa arrived in Israel with her family as part of her Bat Mitzvah trip and, especially, to meet the girls in Sderot. The emotional meeting took place Wednesday when Noa finally met them face-to-face and had the opportunity to knit together.

      “Give a Mitzvah–Do a Mitzvah program of the UJA-Federation of New York enables bar and bat mitzvah students to create their own unique mitzvah project that connects their interests and hobbies,” said the Director of the Center for Youth Philanthropy and Leadership at UJA-Federation Sheila Devore. “Noa’s project is truly amazing. Not only does it provide other young girls a great example of how to become more involved in philanthropy, it also helps to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish community in New York and in Israel.”