Knitting group comes together in service

Jessica Ablamsky

“Knitting knits people together,” said Susan Kroll, a member of Great Neck’s Lap Robe Society, a group of about 15 women who meet monthly at Temple Emanuel to knit for the needy.

Through shared passion for their favorite hobby, the ladies have found fun and companionship.

“I love it,” said Judy Murphy, who joined the society a few years ago. “We all do. We are all in a few groups.”

Over the last decade dedicated volunteers like Murphy, including home-bound seniors, have knitted 1,700 lap robes for kids, the elderly and infirm at institutions such as St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and a variety of nursing homes.

“They’re all the size that can fit in a wheelchair,” said Doris Rosman. “It doesn’t get caught in the wheels.”

Yarn is donated by the Sisterhood of Temple Emanuel at 150 Hicks Lane and distributed to society members.

“We make blankets for the neonatal unit,” said member Diane Shtulman. “For some reason, that really touches me.”

The are also knitting scarves for soldiers in Afghanistan, and lap robes for veterans in local nursing homes, said Stephanie Goetz.

“We have a deadline for the scarves, so everyone is making these now,” Goetz said. “They ask us for different things.”

Rosman started the Society about 10 years ago. The idea was inspired by her mother Jeannette Siegel, a talented lady who liked to keep busy. She knitted six lap robe at a time and donated them to a nursing home in Hempstead.

When Rosman became president of the sisterhood, “I decided we needed a project,” she said.

“We’ve been doing this for many, many years now,” Rosman said. “We’ve lost a lot of members, but we gained a lot more.”

Few society members also belong to Temple Emanuel.

“The face of the temple is changing, said sisterhood president Lily Lesser. She said two-income houses have left women busier than in the past.

“I can count a handful of young ladies who are joining the sisterhood,” Lesser said.

Many of the society ladies belong to multiple knitting groups, including one through the Samuel Field Y in Little Neck, said Sally Carr.

“I mentioned this place,” Carr said. “Ever since, we’ve been the nucleus.”

It is the companionship that keeps Judy Murphy commuting from Queens with five of her girlfriends.

“We do good work, but it it’s also a nice social gathering, something to look forward to,” she said. “We all go together. We move as a group. We need something to do, otherwise we stay home and eat.”

Little Neck resident Ruth Prizer joined the Lap Robe Society with friends Adele Weintraub and Carr. Prizer is employed three days a week at a doctor’s office in New Hyde Park, and receives extra yarn free of charge from her boss, avid crocheter Athena Goldberg.

“It keeps my hands busy and my mind busy,” Prizer said. “When I go visiting, I take it with me also.”

Diane Shtulman “picked up her needles” after 35 years.

“Mostly I’ve met a group of really lovely women,” she said.

About the author

Jessica Ablamsky

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