“Silly Bandz,” a recent fashion trend embraced mostly by kids and teenagers, are bracelets shaped like different images, and when stretched can be used as jewelry. While the fad is still at the height of its popularity, Rabbi Emily Losben is ready to jump on the bandwagon.
Losben lives on Long Island, where she is a rabbi at Sinai Reform Temple. She lives in a small Jewish community of about 100 families where she serves as the director of the religious school as well.
“I remember seeing my kids with these Silly Bandz and thinking they are so cute,” Losben said.
One aspect kids love about Silly Bandz is their ability to trade their different shapes among friends. Losben said her students trade their Silly Bandz all the time, but was taken back when kids at her religious school were trading Christmas tree Silly Bandz.
“It would be so great if our kids could have Jewish Silly Bandz,” Losben said.
Losben said one place where kids trade their Silly Bandz the most is school. She said her kids go to school with mostly non-Jews, and having Jewish symbols as Silly Bandz would give them a chance to show off their Jewish pride, and enable them to explain exactly what Judaism is about.
After searching for companies that would allow her to make her own mold of Silly Bandz, Losben found a company in China that would work with her.
“It’s amazing how small the world is that I could communicate with China about these Silly Bandz from my office in New York,” Losben said.
After the deal was in place, Losben put her own spin on the product naming her design “Meshuga Bands.” Meshuga is Yiddish slang for crazy or senseless.
“I want Meshuga Bands to be about not only Jewish pride,” Losben said. “But also a tool for Jewish education.”
The first batch of Meshuga Bands is comprised of six different shapes: Jewish star, hamsa, shofar, Torah, dreidel and chai. Losben has a blog where people can go to order bags of her Meshuga Bands. She plans to put individual pictures up of each band, with a description of what the Jewish shape is and what it means.
“I recognize it’s a fad,” Losben said. “While it lasts though, it will be a nice learning tool.”
Losben has already started brainstorming about other ideas for her Meshuga Bands. She said she hopes the Meshuga Bands will make nice b’nai mitzva gifts. Losben said she has already received orders from cities outside of New York.
“It’s cool,” Losben said. “In a couple days the word of Meshuga Bands has gotten out there.”
(Brandt Gelman can be reached at email@example.com.)