This year, rainbow loom bracelets – for the uninitiated, we're talking bracelets that kids craft using colorful rubber bands – are all the rage.
Gaining in popularity over the summer, the trend is continuing its momentum this fall at the synagogue school at Reconstructionist Synagogue of The North Shore in Plandome. There, students are embracing "Tikkun O-loom" – a twist on “Tikkun olam,” Hebrew for “repairing the world” – by creating bracelets to give to children receiving pediatric urologic care in Guatemala.
"The Rainbow Loom craze has become an activity for boys and girls to share their creativity and interact with each other as they learn new stitches from each other,” said RNSN educator Lauren Pulver, in a statement. “I am always looking for ways to make Tikkun Olam tangible for our students. My hope is that they will feel a special sense of pride by sharing a bracelet they created with someone in need."
That's where Dr. Jordan Gitlin, an RSNS member and father of three comes in. A pediatric urologist at Cohen Children's hospital, Gitlin participates in a yearly mission with Heal the Children to provide pediatric urologic care to the children of Guatemala. When Gitlin learned of the Tikkun O-loom elective, he saw a perfect fit with his Heal the Children trip.
"The Guatemalan children who are our patients travel such long distances, so they come with their entire families,” Gitlin said.
“These bracelets will be such a welcome gift to not only our patients, but to their brothers and sisters who will be so happy and touched as well,” he added. “This is a great way for the children of our community to have a direct impact on children in such a different community."
With the help of several RSNS teens who are "loom masters," the RSNS students are ready to start stitching. "While we have just launched this new project, I hope to have at least 200 bracelets for Dr. Gitlin's next trip!" says Pulver.
"Tikkun O-loom is not just a way to make synagogue school more fun," said Rabbi Jodie Siff, director of the RSNS Synagogue School for the past 15 years.
She added: "It's an expression of our core philosophy – that all Jews, including our children – should have the chance to belong to a community where they can bring their best selves to their Jewish experiences, both in synagogue and by helping the world beyond ourselves."