A charity has thanked an 89-year old Jewish grandmother in Essex who used her time at home during the coronavirus lockdown to make scores of teddy bears for Jewish children and orphans in Belarus.
Lily Genztler from Chigwell makes the teddies’ bodies before handing the cuddly toys over to a knitting group in Pinner whose members add the bears’ facial features.
They are then sent to Minsk, where British Jewish charity The Together Plan (TTP) works with the country’s Jewish community.
Lily lived at Westcliff until seven years ago, when she moved to Chigwell to be nearer to family. Her husband, who she cared for, died three years ago.
Her grandson Seth said: “Whilst in Westcliff she made many teddy bears which went to babies in Israel. When we went into lockdown in March she decided to do something useful and has now made over 160 teddies for children in Belarus.”
TTP director Debra Brunner said: “The bears will reach children in Jewish communities, children in orphanages and shelters, and non-Jewish families in need throughout Belarus. They will travel by road with our next consignment of aid which will be sent around November time.”
This month the charity is bringing Belarus into the European Days of Jewish Culture Festival for the first time ever with a Klezmer Concert which will be broadcast live on Zoom from the garden of a family home on 13 September.
“The theme of the European Days of Jewish Culture is ‘Jewish Journeys’ so this story of the teddy bears is a great opportunity to talk about Jewish journeys.”
TTP is a member of the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Heritage and Culture and is building a Jewish cultural heritage trail in the country.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.