Jewish Life Kolot

KOLOT – Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, Weinstein

By Howard Meyerowitz

When his two daughters were young, Howard Meyerowitz delighted them with imaginative Shabbat tales that he wrote. Today, Howard carries on writing similar stories for his two grandchildren. We are pleased to share one of Howard’s tales with our readers.

You ask,”Who is Weinstein and why has she come to be in the company of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Botticelli?”

Selma Weinstein played an important role in the creative education of these three greatly gifted men whose artistic legacy has provided enumerable pleasure for millions of people through the centuries. At different times in each of their young lives these artistic geniuses had been guests at Selma’s Shabbos dinner table. 

Selma was a renowned cook as well as an extremely gifted sculptor, but because her artistic medium was her mouthwatering homemade kishke, her sculptures were enthusiastically devoured each Shabbos evening so nothing remains of her artwork. Yes, Selma could turn kishke into visual and gastronomic works of art! Using various sizes of sharpened knives she was able to carve the most intricate designs and shapes out of a piece of kishke, as well create subtle shadings of light and dark with an assortment of food colorings.

Aware of her artistry and her famous cooking skills, the young Michelangelo, da Vinci and Botticelli did what they could to be invited to Selma’s home for Shabbos dinner. At first they came for dinner hoping to take notes and make sketches of her creations, but because Selma was Shomer Shabbos the boys couldn’t draw once candles were lit, and, of course, the kishke sculpture would be devoured at dinner.

To accommodate these budding artists Selma arranged for them to come to her home mid-afternoon each Friday so they could watch and learn, taking notes and sketching all the drawings they wanted as she created her kishke sculpture for Shabbos dinner.

Biographers and art historians researching Michelangelo, da Vinci and Botticelli have found Selma Weinstein’s name fondly mentioned in their collected letters and diaries acknowledging her caring influence in their early lives.

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

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