Featured Mother Bear: Memphis Sisterhood
Sometimes the most rewarding things about our passions are who we get to enjoy them with.
This is certainly the case for the Women of Reform Judaism Temple Israel Sisterhood in Memphis, Tennessee. The group of 13 women belong to the same Temple, but they did not know each other until they began knitting together. Since then, they have become great friends, and made enormous contributions to Mother Bear Project.
“I wanted to share the love,” said one member of the group—Muriel—about her motivation for knitting bears with the group. “It was an opportunity to get together and do social action with a multi-generational group. The camaraderie has been fun.”
There are 13 members of the Mother Bear Project knitting group: Hope, Jenny, Emilie, Irma, Nancy, Alice, Muriel, Barbara H., Barbara M., Anita, Ann, JoAnne, Leah. They first found out about Mother Bear Project in 2005, when Jenny read an article about the organization in a magazine while she was traveling.
She returned to Memphis and approached her Sisterhood about adopting the project for the group. There was already a knitting group at the Temple, but they decided to include knitting bears in their Mitzvah Day, an annual day where the entire congregation volunteers and does good deeds. The bears were put on display for the occasion and the project gained interest.
Since 2005, the members of the group have knit more than 2,500 bears. Nine of the women are in the 100 Bear Club! They welcome others to join, regardless of their skill level.
Knitting bears with the group has touched each of the women in different ways.
“Muriel was best friends with my late grandmother and I didn’t know it until we met at the MBP group,” said Nancy.
“It was something I could do for underprivileged children,” said Barbara, another of the knitters.
Like the women of the knitting group, each of the bears is different, reflecting its Mother Bear’s distinct stitches and style. But there is something that all of the group members share—they cherish their weekly time together, where they can enjoy each other’s company and bring love and comfort to the children who receive their bears.
“We love to knit,” said Jenny. “If someone is doing another project, we celebrate it, but we always come back to the bears.”