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Kolot – Shabbos Down the Stretch

By Howard Meyerowitz

When his two daughters were still little girls, Howard Meyerowitz liked to delight them with imaginative tales he wrote to help them welcome the Sabbath Queen. It became a Meyerowitz family tradition – one that is remembered fondly by Howard and his now adult daughters. Today, Howard carries on the family tradition by writing similar stories for his two grandchildren each week. We are pleased to share one of Howard’s Shabbos tales with our readers.

“What am I supposed to do with 300 used thick elastic bands?” wondered aloud Rabbi W. Stock of Bethel, New York. “Is there a holy purpose to my having accumulated so many rubber bands? How can I use them as a teaching tool for my students? Maybe they can use the bands to shape some of the letters in the Shema prayer — but, no, they’re too squiggly and the letters would be misshaped. The students could create a picture of a Bible story using the bands — but again, that seems like an impossible task.”

The rabbi went to sleep that night still unsure of how his 300 used thick rubber bands could be used in his classroom. That morning at breakfast he saw that his daughter, Tzivia Dina, and his son, Binyamin Michael, wearing their tie-dyed shirts, had linked a number of rubber bands together to form a rope. One end was secured around his daughter’s wrist and the other around his son’s, linking them together across the table from one another, keeping them connected throughout breakfast.

“Yes!” exclaimed Rabbi Stock loudly, as he jumped up from the table to the bewilderment of his wife and children. He excitedly skipped down the hall to his small book-lined study! After closing the door he went to the ancient oak roll top desk that he had inherited 50 years earlier from his father.

“This is so cool!” he said aloud to himself. “I will have my students work together to create rubber rope bands that they can use to link each other together this coming Shabbos morning. It will be a wonderful example of how we Jews, through Torah study and hard work, have remained linked together throughout history.”

Sure enough, that Shabbos, through great smiles and giggles, as his students rose and sat during services they pulled each other along. It was a lesson they all enjoyed and would long remember.

Howard Meyerowitz is a Ledger staff member and member of Beth El Temple in West Hartford. He lives in Bloomfield with his wife, Susan.

Readers are invited to submit original work on a topic of their choosing to Kolot. Submissions should be sent to judiej@jewishledger.com.

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