Meet the Canadians knitting for IDF soldiers and running for hostages

Run for Their Lives
Top: Run for Their Lives organizer Tovit Neizer (centre, green parka, holding the Israeli flag); Bottom Left: Gale Star, Toronto founder of Candles 4 Israel, (wearing glasses seated at left side of table); Bottom right: Michele Doctoroff (third from left) and The Knitzvah volunteers in Calgary pose with their handmade hats for Israeli soldiers. (Submitted photos.)

In the early days after the shock of Oct. 7, many Diaspora Jewish communities including Canada swung into action to send military equipment, clothing and medical supplies to Israel–along with emergency financial help. But with the conflict in its sixth month and over 130 Israeli hostages still being held in captivity, grass roots groups have sprung up from coast to coast to coast, as Canadians take their all their grief and worry from the past few months and try to do something positive with it: some with their hands, some with their feet, and some with light.

They are getting out in the world and encouraging others to start moving towards hope-even if it’s just for a few blocks (or a few hats or prayers).

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, we meet members of Run for Their Lives: Toronto’s Tovit Neizer, Thornhill’s Michelle Factor and Vancouver’s Daphna Kedem, plus Calgary’s Michele Doctoroff, who runs, too, but also helms the Knitzvah Project: creating warm hats for IDF soldiers. And you’ll hear about Gale Star’s growing Candles4Israel initiative, now taking place in homes every Friday night in her Toronto neighbourhood.

What we talked about:

  • Learn more about Run for Their Lives campaign and find a chapter near you.
  • Read more about Daphna Kedem’s activism in Vancouver, in The CJN.
  • See the pattern to knit toques for IDF soldiers, and learn more about other knitting projects for the IDF, in The CJN.


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.