Wearing Her Judaism On Her Wrist
07/27/10
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At the Sinai Reform Temple in Bay Shore, L.I., where Rabbi Emily Losben-Ostrov serves as rabbi and educational director, everyone, it seemed, was wearing Silly Bandz — rubber bracelets that morph into a variety of shapes. Even Rabbi Emily. (Her first band, shaped like a pig, was a gift from the youth group president. “I’m a rabbi who loves pigs,” she says with a laugh). 

The latest fad was all fine and good in her mind ... until she caught sight of a student wearing a Silly Bandz that looked like a Christmas tree. “I got really upset,” she says. “It’s a shame there are no Jewish shapes, I thought. Jewish Silly Bandz could instill a sense of pride in our heritage. I envisioned my students walking around thinking, ‘I’ve got a Jewish star on my wrist.’”

After a Google search for “Jewish Silly Bandz” came up short, Rabbi Losben-Ostrov decided to create her own. And so Meshuga Bands (www.meshugabands.com) was born.

Each $5 pack contains 12 bands in six Jewish shapes: a Jewish star, a Torah, dreidel, shofar, chai (her favorite) and a hamsa (“It’s a little more obscure,” she says. “But it’s a beautiful way to tie in Israel. The hamsa is a symbol the Jews and Muslims both use to represent the hand of God”). 

Though she’s been selling the Meshuga Bands for only a few weeks, word has spread quickly. “Having Jewish Silly Bandz means being Jewish is cool,” she says. The 30-somethings in her Intro to Judaism class are all wearing them, as are congregants young and old. Internet orders have begun to stream in, she says, and synagogue gift shops, youth groups and camps are inquiring about using the bands as fundraisers. The bands “spans all backgrounds — my ultra-Orthodox cousins and nieces and nephews will be wearing them just as much as the Reform kids at my temple,” she says proudly.

Other companies have begun to fill this niche, as well. Biblical Bandz (www.biblicalbandz.com), which claims it was the first to market “Jewish Silly Bandz,” sells packs of 24 bands for $5.95. The company offers 30 different designs, ranging from the Aleph Bet, Shabbat symbols, Jewish holidays and biblical storylines such as Noah’s Ark.

For those who favor Jewish Silly Bandz in tie-dye or glitter varieties, TraditionsJewishGifts.com sells packs of 10 for $4.99. 

Other religious groups have begun to market their own faith-based Silly Bandz — Holy Rubba-Bandz, for example, features Christian symbols and can be purchased on eBay.

While this fad — similar to pogs and slap bands of days past — is unlikely to last forever, Rabbi Losben-Ostrov is hopeful that the Meshuga Bands will instill a sense of Jewish pride in their wearers and serve as a positive educational tool. 

“Let these Jewish bands spark a desire for more Jewish learning and living a Jewish lifestyle,” she says.

 

 

Last Update:

09/05/2010 - 15:31

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At Bay Shore Hall located in Bay Shore NY we give the silly bands out to all the kids. When they get a Bar Mitzvah we go all out. Same for a sweet 16. In any given weekend we might give out 250 silly bands silly bandz. the Jewish style silly bands come in all kinds of shapes and designs. They cost us only a few cents each. We get them from China of course. Barry Bay Shore Hall 631 455 2330
The point of the bands is that they jump back to the right shape when the children take them off. And they take them off often to trade them and show them off. I gave them to a three and five year old. I don't know if they would have understood the alef bet but they were able to recognize the shapes of the meshuga bands that the article focused on. And the three year old was sweet enough to give me back one of her new Yankees bands so I would be able to be 'like her'.
who needs to learn tolerance? I was not trying to start a fight - just making an observation. If the truth hurts so much, perhaps you should examine your own lack of tolerance.
I don't understand how this became a 'craze'. Wouldn't these lose their shape to wear? Then, it would be just like putting any rubber band on your wrist! They don't look anything like the thicker, well known BRACELETS associated to a cause. There, the message or symbol stays put. I just don't see the advantage of children wearing rubber bands as Jewish toys or children's religious fashion without the symbolism being visible while worn. Gimmicky, not religious, imho.
Here at the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, we're going to be giving them out to all of our campers before they go home for the summer!
BY AUG 9 WILL HAVE ALL THE ALEF BET AND THE YOM TOV SYMBELS, FOR ORDER JUST EMAIL ME BACK AT: KOSHERBANDS@GMAIL.COM
I'm NOT a zenophobe - don't get me wrong, I have some great friends who are jews, but 'instilling a sense of pride' has never seemed to have been an issue among this race, if you ask me. I think the idea of shapes specific to their religion is very appropriate and wonderful, but to say that wearing a shaped piece of latex (which, is, by the way, essentially unrecognizable as such, while it is being worn) around their wrist is going to 'instill pride' in an already very proud nation's youth, seems a bit misplaced. JMHO.
I've seen these ones too: http://www.traditionsjewishgifts.com/jewish-silly-bands.html Hebrew school is about to get a lot more fun this year!
Thank you for your article on the exciting new trend of Jewish Silly Bands. Our desire to create 4 different Jewish Silly Band packages, Tie-Dye, Glow In The Dark, Glitter & Colors was inspired by our 9 year old daughter. Watching her and her friends trading "silly" fun shaped bands inspired us to add a little Jewish Culture to this exciting craze. Hope you all enjoy the love that has gone into the creation of our designs. Wendy Gordon, TraditionsJewishGifts.com
I already ordered a few packages. I love the fact that these were designed by a Rabbi and not some large company that makes all kinds of shapes. Who but a Rabbi would think to call them Meshuga Bands! I love the way these mix Jewish content with pop culture. And my friend's children (who I gave them to) haven't taken them off yet according to their mother.

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