Rose Greenberg: Providing special dolls for hospitalized kids
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
“Sometimes life has a funny way of opening a door.”
That is how Rose Greenberg described her initial involvement in the Adopt A Doll project she organizes for the Aviva Chapter of Hadassah.
The Rancho Bernardan for almost 40 years said Marty, her husband of 67 years, had just died when in 2009 the chapter was introduced to a project in which volunteers sew dolls for children at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. It treats patients from around the world.
“The project seemed the thing for me; a wonderful thing to do,” Greenberg said.
What began as a handful of members sewing the 18-inch dolls has grown under her leadership to a project that has numerous volunteers throughout the area who within two years made more than 1,000 dolls.
While based on dolls made by a Hadassah chapter in Detroit, Greenberg said she decided to add a hospital gown to each doll and expand the service to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
What has not changed is the lack of a face on the doll, which young recipients get to add in order to personalize their dolls.
“The doll is a very personal friend for the child, therefore he puts the face on it that he wants for his friend,” Greenberg said. “That is why it has no face.”
Though for a short time volunteers made dolls of various colors after a volunteer suggested multi-ethnic dolls might be preferred, Greenberg said they discontinued the practice when hospital personnel said children did not care what skin color their doll was, and darker fabrics are more expensive.
The dolls serve multiple purposes. In addition to being a comfort to children in stressful situations, they help youngsters tell medical personnel where they experience pain or discomfort by indicating on the doll’s body, she said. The cloth dolls are made of non-allergenic materials so there are no complications.
When sponsored, each doll bears the name of the person it was made in honor of, Greenberg said. The $18 donation is symbolic since in Hebrew 18 means life. A doll can be adopted for any reason, such as in honor or memory of an individual or to mark a special occasion.
Greenberg said the money helps purchase materials and cover shipping to Israel, which is very expensive. She called making the dolls and a donation a “mitzvah,” which means “doing something good.”
She said making the dolls is a multi-step process, ideal for volunteers with varying sewing skills. One group cuts the fabric while others sew. Laurette Abrams has sewn more than 1,000 doll bodies. After that, dolls need to be trimmed with pinking shears, then stuffed and sewed close. Then comes making coats and dressing dolls.
Among the groups that joined the Aviva chapter are Temple Adat Shalom and Seacrest Retirement Home in Poway and La Jolla Pacific Regent retirement home. Sometimes groups of teenage girls have helped.
Greenberg said no matter how many dolls the group makes, there will always be a need for more at the two hospitals. Therefore, she is always looking for others willing to help with assembly, donate materials or make monetary contributions.
For details, contact her at 858-487-5882 or go to www.adoptadoll.net.
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