Sewing Club endures test of time

If you thought that the Sewing Club disappeared with the horse and buggy, think again. Recently, I have been reintroduced to two groups of longstanding sewers, knitters and crocheters who are actively doing a great job for themselves and for the community.

Take, for example, the 10 women who are now knitting and crocheting lap robes, scarves, booties and baby sweaters for Jewish Family & Children’s Service.

Originally, probably 60 years ago, the group was begun by the Miriam Lodge (now the Miriam Foundation) and people like Sis Mange were involved. She is still knitting away with Charlotte Brown, Betty Deal, Evelyn Goldberg, Joan Goodman, Ruth Kaplan, Mickey Sachs, Elaine Schulman, Mary Silverman and Lotte Zinner. Admittedly three of the women are relative newcomers, but the others have logged thousands of hours at Sewing Club.

“We meet every other week and take turns having Sewing Club in our homes. Our big problem now is getting yarn for our projects. We will use any scrap yarn that is given to us, and although we prefer synthetics, we will use wool if we can get it,” explained Evelyn Goldberg who will be thrilled to take your cast off (good pun) yarn. Call her at 314-721-2195.

Not long ago Felicia Fleishman invited me to her Sewing Club whose roots go so deep that we have had trouble finding their origin. Fleishman thinks it started in the 1940’s with a college bridge game. Soon all these students became wives and mothers with the need to mend, or shorten, or to just compare family notes. Still meeting every other week in individual homes for elegant and interesting desserts are five of the original members of the Sewing Club – Fleishman, along with Betty Epstein, Frances Franklin, Peggy Gibstein and Audrey Shatz. When I asked Franklin what kind of sewing she did, she told me this story: “I had bought a tablecloth to cross stitch, but the only time I worked on it was at Sewing Club. It took me 30 years to finish the cloth, and after that the first time I used it was when I had the Sewing Club at my home.” I am told that she occasionally takes it out for current Sewing Club get-togethers. Sorely missed by the club are the late Lorraine Feldman, Rena Felstein and Millie Silverberg. Today there is more chatting than sewing. My gut feeling about the Sewing Club is that it is more support group than anything else for these five lucky friends.

Sarah Marx wrote to tell me about challah baker Michael DiPlacido, who makes art with a Jewish twist (her pun). “He bakes wonderful, yummy challah for Central Reform Congregation (CRC) and puts a torah portion on each one. Sometimes the decoration on the challah or its shape is related to the actual celebration or Jewish holiday. To find out more about Diplacido’s challah, come to CRC Friday night and/or Saturday morning and sample it yourself, Marx suggests. (Editor’s note: This cake-like challah is addicting and single-handedly my diet downfall, though it’s worth every calorie.)

‘IN THE HEIGHTS’ opened at the Fabulous Fox Tuesday and will run through November 22. This multiple Tony Award winning musical played 200 performances off-Broadway before it moved to Broadway. In the Heights tells the story of a community in Manhattan’s Washington Heights and carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. Tickets are available at the Fox Theatre box office, all MetroTix outlets or online at

Ordinarily when I write about an event it is to urge you to attend or support the cause. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the organization whose mission is to cure these diseases and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by Crohn’s and colitis. There are lots of ways to support CCFA. Here’s one I do not expect you to attend November 16 because 1. It is in Sauget, Ill. at Pop’s Nightclub and 2. It is a concert featuring Cage the Elephant, Janus and Killer Me Killer You. It is the brainchild of broadcaster Jeff Burton, who was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 14. Want to help support the cause in other ways? Call 314-863-4747 or learn more about CCFA at its Web site