BH

Hi everyone!

Today, I’d like to share a craft with you!

This year for Purim, I am dressing up as Miriam, and I’m excitedly working on my costume.  I actually just completed my tambourine, which doubles as a gragger to use during Krias Megillah.

I feel so privileged that I, as a Bat Yisroel, can emulate Miriam, and all of the Imahos who have laid down a path for us to follow today.  What was so special about her though?  Who was she?  What great deed did she perform?

Miriam…  Miriam haNavia (the prophetess).  Miriam, caring, guiding sister of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon the Kohein Gadol.  Miriam, the only daughter of Yocheved and Amram, great leaders of the Bnei Yisroel while they were enslaved in Mitzrayim.  Miriam, leader in her own right, of the Jewish women– beacon of strength and emunah, who led them in song and praise to Hashem, at the Yam Suf.

The Talmud tells us that “In the merit of righteous women, the Bnei Yisroel were redeemed from Egypt.”

From a very young age, Miriam realized her power of prophecy.  She utilized this great part of herself, to reunite her parents in marriage, predicting that the savior of the Bnei Yisroel would be born from their union.  And she was right.  Moshe Rabbeinu was soon born.

Time passed, and when the Bnei Yisroel continued to be crushed by the backbreaking labor the cruel Mitzrim forced them to do, Miriam’s father asked his daughter “What has become of your prophecy?.”  Her fellows echoed the same question around her.  Miriam did not allow their words to penetrate.  She had faith and bitachon in Hashem.  Though things seemed to get increasingly dark, she trusted that her prophecy was true, and soon to be realized.  She held on to her convictions!

Miriam sets the example for us to follow today.  Have emunah and bitachon in Hashem, and hold strong to your convictions!  Don’t be swayed by the temporary chaos or darkness around you!

When we learn about the Song at the Sea, and the women danced with tambourines/timbrels/drums, we may ask:  ‘Where did they get those from?  The answer is, that the Jewish women made them, before Yetzias Mitzrayim!  They saw through the darkness, and sensed the light that awaited them ahead in their journey.  The had such great emunah and bitachon in Hashem, that they already prepared means of song and praise to celebrate Hashem, His glory, and his miracles– before they even knew where exactly they were headed!

So today, with this tambourine craft, I hope to bring you a little bit of the inspiration and encouragement that I received from this message and story.  Which at Jewish Girls Unite, we know as: Miriam’s Song.

YOU WILL NEED:

~2 medium-large plastic lids (like from a plastic jar, that you may buy nuts or pretzels in),  ~3 toothpicks, ~1 wooden spool, ~6 medium-large metal washers, ~1 or 2 rubber-bands, ~small jingle-bells, ~permanent marker, ~felt, ~scrapbook paper (for my paper, I actually printed a picture of Ancient Egyptian tiling off the computer, onto regular copy paper), ~hot-glue gun and glue-sticks, ~scissors and paper cutter (paper cutter is optional), ~Decorations, such as glitter, buttons, marker, sequins, etc.

AND NOW, TO GET STARTED!  😀

1.)  Take the first lid, and turn it upside down, so it is like a dish.  Glue down the wooden spool in the middle of the lid.  (NOTE: The spool should be just tall enough, to lift the second lid, so that the rims of the two lids  don’t touch and make a sandwich.  You want there to be a small line of space all around between the two lids– I recommend 1 1/2-2 cm. high.)

2.) Take the toothpicks, and cut them to the height of the spool, or a tiny bit shorter, if necessary.  You should cut the sharp, pokey points off too.  Put three generous beads of hot-glue around the inside wall of the upside down-lid, and space evenly.  Stick your toothpicks into the little glue mounds, and let set, making sure they stay straight.

Once the glue has set, slip two washers over each toothpick.  Now, you can toss some jingle bells in!  (Don’t you just love the delicate tinkle?  I dressed up as the Kohein Gadol one Purim, and sewed some of these little bells (and red pom-poms, for pomegranates, around the hem of my dress.  The bells were pretty embarrassing when I fidgeted during the kriah– I got some looks from other congregants, which was like they were saying ‘You know it’s not time to shake the graggers..’  I was a walking gragger.)

3.)  Apply a liberal amount of hot glue to the top of the spool, and quickly place second lid over the spool and toothpicks, pressing down to adhere.  (You needn’t worry about gluing the other ends of the toothpicks down, they should stay.)  It’s starting to look like a tambourine, right?!

If the two lids seem like they might come loose from each other (they are only attached by the spool and hot glue), feel free to wrap one or two rubber bands around your instrument, to secure it extra well.  We’ll cover up the bands pretty soon.

4.)  Cut your paper to size, and glue it to the plastic on the outside of your tambourine.  I found it simpler to put on smaller pieces at a time, eventually covering up the plastic sides.  You want to cover the gap between the two lids as best you can, as well as above and below the holes that the washers come through (see photo above), to make it look extra finished.  I suppose you could use duct tape, with a patter of your choice, in lieu of the paper, but I know it’s rather difficult to cut neat, narrow strips of the sticky supply.

5.)  Cut two felt circles, to cover the flat top and bottom of the instrument.  I chose a natural, hide-looking color, because I wanted mine to look kind of ancient, but you can use any color or pattern you want.  Glue on carefully, and try not to burn yourself, the heat comes through the material pretty well.  If you’d like, write a message on either the felt or the paper– maybe something to get you into your creative, empowering feminine ruach!  (I wrote on mine:  “Ashira laHashem {from Az Yashir}, and Halleluy-ah”, in Hebrew.)

6.) To complete your masterpiece, add your own personal touches, and use whatever decorative supplies you have.  Sequins, beads, metallic marker– go wild with your imagination and creativity, and everyone will see your inner light shine, when you dance and sing with your art!