Monday, June 18, 2012

Ethiopian Bat Mitzvah Project 2012

I can’t believe it has been an entire year since I last blogged! I guess I have been keeping myself busier than I thought! I took a technical and marcom writing course - I finished my internship and am doing technical writing part-time, doing some graphics and websites, as well as knitting shawls and other gift items.

I am teaching embroidery again at the Mercaz Klita (Absorption Center) for the 2012 Ethiopian Bat Mitzvah Project. I have 17 girls and their mothers (only a few of the mothers already knew how – one mother learned from me last year with her older daughter). This project was for the mother’s to help their daughters. Basically the mothers and daughters learned together.

mothers and daughters working side by side


Most of these immigrants have been in Israel for a year or less.  I have a wonderful assistant; she is a mother of 5 children and works for the Mercaz Klita, who has been my translator.
a beautiful embroidered pomegranate

The first learning design I gave them was a pomegranate. A circular shape is an easy shape to begin with. They also did flowers and candles in candle holders.

daughter helping her mother
Some of the girls and women picked it up rather quickly. Some pull the threads too tightly pulling the material so it no longer lays flat.  That is the hardest thing to teach them – pulling the thread enough that it’s not too loose, but not too much so the material forms a curve in the middle.  This year, the girls are helping their mothers finish up their final project.

wine bottle covers before finishing
This year the girls are making a Shabbat Shalom wine bottle cover that will tie around the bottle.  The girls will be able to use this every Shabbat with their families.  The women are making challah covers (a special cloth placed over the special Shabbat breads until after the blessing of the wine is recited) that will be given as presents to their twin family from England. Each family is matched up with a British family who also has a son or daughter who will be Bar or Bat Mitzvah this summer. All the children will have their Bar and Bat Mitzvah together in Jerusalem.

I will fix anything that might come undone in time (because of cutting the thread to close that it will eventually come out of their stitches). I will then iron their projects and then finish the edges of the girls’ projects and put a lace tie on them.

The women’s challah covers will also be ironed and then I will sew lace around them with a backing and ironed again. This will make nice finished challah covers.


  1. איזה יופי! כיף לראות את הבנות ואת האמהות המאושרות!

  2. Hey, nice to see you're blogging again, Michal. I'm posting on my FB and sending to my mom, who loves knitting and embroidery, etc.

  3. Impressive! Sounds as though you are enjoying the classes you teach. Too bad someone can't make small frames for the embroidery projects to keep them flat while working.

  4. Michal's work is spectacular. The colors, her creations and the joy her work brings to others put a smile on faces as you can see in these great photos. Congratulations Michal!!!

    Many blessings,

  5. Hi Michal,
    You are one of my 3 angels regarding my aliyah in 1993. Now I see you're continuing that role in so many others lives. I best loved teaching ESL to the new Ethiopian students who were very receptive to me and learning. I'm so glad you're teaching your creative skills to them. Sewing and hand made crafts adorn our homes and can be given forward as gifts to others. We never forget the intention in every stitch and love shown in the finished product. Go girl!

    Much love and many blessings,

  6. Sorry I didn't get back to look at your blog as fast as I promised. What a great project. And the patterns are wonderful. I especially like the pomegranate. Wish I had time to try it myself. The embroidery hoops are a big help managing the tightness of the stitches, actually, I remember from back when I was learning embroidery from my Mom as a kid. Aren't they available here? Not exactly starter projects but something to think about if you continue teaching this demographic
    They have their own embroidery tradition used to decorate clothing and furnishings; some quite spectacular. You can get a look by googling Ethiopian Jewish embroidery and going to Images.

  7. Wow! The postings with all the Etheopians stuff looks great - thanks for sharing it.

    Good job!! They must love it!