They all nodded, but only one woman – Channah Koppel – decided to act on the proposal. She turned to the commanders of her son Shumel, a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces at the time, and asked if there was anything they needed in particular.
"Wool hats," one of the commanders replied, and Koppel got to work.
"I knitted a sample hat, got the commanders' approval, and then knitted the 10 first hats for his team," says Channah. "Then we began receiving all kinds of requests from other soldiers and other units, which saw them and wanted to know how they could get such a hat too."
The group of knitting women began producing hats for IDF soldiers, as news of the winter garments traveled by word of mouth. What makes the hats a hit is the fact that they can be worn under a helmet, as opposed to the standard military hat.
"I began receiving many appeals, through my son too, and we realized that we won't be able to handle it. So I wrote about it on some knitting forums and Jewish communities' websites worldwide, saying that I would need help knitting the hats and that they could mail them to me.
"It spread like fire and I began receiving hats from all over the world, to this very day. Evert week I get a delivery of some 100 hats from 800 knitters, and hand out thousands of hats a year.
"I try to supply them to combat soldiers, and about half of the hats are given to an organization called 'A Package from Home', which sends parcels to lone soldiers and adds the hats."
Efrat Council head Oded Revivi, who is taking part in the project, says that a year ago Efrat was ranked fourth in the field units' volunteer rate.
All the thank you letters and many pictures can be found in Channah's blog: http://hatsforisraelisoldiers.blogspot.com
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