Sometimes life imitates art

You might be familiar with the book The Shabbat Box, by Lesley Simpson. It’s a sweet story about a little boy whose preschool teacher sends home a special shabbat box with a different student each Friday. On his week, he loses the box in the snow and decides to make his own hand-crafted version to replace the original (which is, of course, found by the teacher.)
My daughter’s kindergarten teacher was probably inspired by this book, and about halfway through the year adopted the same tradition. However, there are now only three weeks of school left, and I’m fairly certain that there are more than three children who haven’t taken home the shabbat box. So, I’ve been trying to prepare Ella for the possibility that she may not get a turn. (I guess there’s a life lesson in this, and I will bend over backwards to pretend it’s ok if she doesn’t get a shot at the box. But deep down? I’ll be pi**ed.)
In preparation for the no-box possibility, I brightly suggested that we make our own. Luckily, Ella bought into the idea 100%. (“Maybe I can have a playdate every Friday, and send it home with a different friend each week!”) She decorated a box last night, and tonight, we set up a small challah cover factory in the backyard.cover1
cover2I guess I can’t stay angry at a teacher who has inspired my daughter to love shabbat this much….

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Lesley Simpson

posted May 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Hello. I am the author of The Shabbat Box and wanted to say sometimes a book takes on a life of its own. These pictures of your daughter made my day. Thanks for sharing. I’d like to put in my order for an Ella challah cover!
Lesley Simpson

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Bible Belt Balabusta

posted May 19, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Lovely! And how perfect the author saw this post and kvelled.

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posted May 19, 2009 at 9:53 pm

i love this!!! and the comment by Lesley Simpson makes it even better. when we got our class’s shabbat “bag” it was a big hit in our house. i think i blogged it? or else i just took pics and pasted them into the class shabbat journal….fun stuff!!!

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posted May 21, 2009 at 9:29 am

It turns out I was right, and there aren’t enough weeks for every kid to get a turn. So, Ella has offered hers to the teacher for circulation, and for the next three weeks, there will be two shabbat boxes going home. What a sweetie……

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Leigh Ann

posted June 7, 2009 at 8:31 am

*jaw drop at the author’s comment*
You and your girls are so, so cool. Hope you had and awesome Shabbos.

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posted June 7, 2009 at 8:35 am

We are many, many thing, but we are probably not cool by any definition of the word. Really, we’re a house of proud dorks. (OK, my husband is actually cool…)

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posted June 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm

This is so interesting to me. My daughter’s school (she is in Kindergarten) practices this and it was so interesting to me how excited she was – she who makes Shabbat every week with her family. I had always thought of this program as a means for Jewish schools to extend Jewish engagement beyond school in particular to families who might not otherwise do it. So when my daughter, whose father is the the Dir of Juadaics for the school, was inadvertantly skipped to her utter dismay, I consoled her by reminding her of our own family’s Shabbat traditions. And that was when it hit me that my assumption was so wrong, and that the Shabbat Box tradition is also a community building tool among the class. By sharing their Shabbat Box, they are sharing Shabat each week. And with that I had a little conversation with the Director of Judaics about having teachers add a journal to the Shabbat Box to capture and preserve the Shabbat Box’s travels and experiences of all the different family’s marking of Shabbat. Families can write, draw and post photos in it. Periodically in school they can go over it as a class. We’ll see if it happens.

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posted June 17, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Being a huge dork about the things you love is what makes someone cool! Love this post and love the comments thread!

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