A New Tradition is Born

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In the midst of chaos, clarity and connection flew in.  Stephanie phoned from St. Louis with a unique request.  Please could I design and deliver four prayer shawls.

But, they needed a shared theme and color scheme, she explained.  Each one would be worn by the women in her extended family so that they could ascend the “bimah” during Sam’s bar mitzvah ceremony, a scant 2 months away.  Then, in the future, as every son approached the bimah with his fiance, the hope and expectation of most parents, each fiance would be offered one of the tallitot as a gift.  I was helping to birth a new tradition.

Stephanie was one of our first friends from when we moved to Pittsburgh.  I would accomplish this, and by deadline.  I threw fabric on the floor, on my work table, pairing and rejecting different combinations.  During the following, restless night, I remembered the near-two-story-tall sunflowers swaying in front of her house every summer.  Bingo.  Theme set. Colors chosen.  Game on.

Just as I got her to the hospital on time to give birth years ago,  she received four, intact prayer shawls in time to use as her son became a “bar mitzvah.”