By BEA STADTLER
On Simchat Torah it is the
shoes that are most important. The
Baal Shem Tov believed it was the
shoes. The Angels know that the
shoes are most important. But why?
Everyone knows on Shabbat,
Jews spend part of the afternoon
sleeping. On Simchat Torah, they
spend even more time sleeping
because they have worn themselves
out during the hakafot in the
synagogue, and so they sleep and
And the angels have nothing to
do — no souls to work with — all
are asleep. So they have a meeting
— all the angels, with the three
archangels — Michael, Raphael and
Gabriel. Many suggestions are
made about how to spend their time
and finally they decide to go to the
Garden of Eden and clean it up.
It has been a whole year since
they took care of the beautiful
garden. Through the gate they go,
with each angel assigned to a task.
Angel Gabriel holds up a torn tallit,
sighs and disposes of it. Angel
t ke t S9 49/1.
Michael finds a shabby, torn tzizit,
and Raphael discovers an unfit set
of tefillin. Then from the corner of
the garden comes a little angel. She
has been working hard and is
crying. She calls Gabriel to her
corner. There is a huge pile of
shoes. "What are shoes doing in
the Garden of Eden?"
Angel Michael says, "This is
my doing. These are very special
shoes. You see, other angels wait
for the prayers of the Jews and
weave them into a crown for God to
wear, but I wait for the shoes that
are taken off during the hakafot on
Simchat Torah, and I take them and
watched and is known to the
"Aha," says Gabriel, "on
weave them into a crown for the
authorities — still they dance.
Almighty. After all, what could mean Simchat Torah, the Jews do not
"And so you see, little angel,
more to God than shoes taken off to care about the Russian authorities.
shoes are very special, and
dance more freely with the Torah on In Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Jews
from them I shall weave for God the
this special day?"
most beautiful crown of all — from
not even know the meaning of the
The angels in the Garden of
shoes of the persecuted but
holiday, they take pride in identifying
Eden look at the shoes. There is a
protesting Jews of Russia — that
little patent leather shoe with a tiny
shall be God's crown. And the cry
`See, I am a Jew and there is
strap — a little girl's shoe. There
shall go around the world. And it
are sturdy leather shoes for little
resound in the Kremlin, the
touch the Torah and dance until
boys. Here are some lovely high-
building in Russia —
heeled ladies' shoes
they on earth — and we in
dance on Simchat Torah in those?
heaven will hear their cry — Let My
Leather boots and sandals that say
"Made in Israel"; simple black
shoes that tied — all in the pile.
Copyright 1984 by Bea Stadtler. Reprinted by
persecuted for it — for every Jew in
Then the angel finds some heavy
permission of "Shofar" magazine.
shoes for women. In black letters
inside the shoe it says "Made in
Russia." And there are Russian
boots and shoes with worn heels
and toes — from Russia.
"Why all these Russian shoes?
By JEFF DWOSKIN and KAREN GOLD
I thought Jews were not allowed to
Another way BBYO is becoming
With growing concern about
be Jews in Russia?" questions the
involved is encouraging their
AIDS, BBYO (B'nai B'rith Youth
little girl angel.
members to visit and talk with
"You are right," answers
victims of AIDS. It is important to
Gabriel, "Jews are not allowed to be
stress to our members and the
youth of our community about this
Jews in Russia. All year they are
community that the AIDS disease
deadly disease. The Aleph Zadik
not allowed to be Jews, but on
can't be spread by simple social
Simchat Torah they become Jews,
even though they are not allowed."
The fight against AIDS will be
"Yes," continues Raphael, "you international convention, the
an issue which will endure for years
see the Russian authorities do not
to come. Even though after this year
We C.A.R.E. (Campaign for AIDS
believe there should be any
Recognition and Education). All AZA AIDS will no longer be BBYO's only
religions in Russia, but they
programming focus, BBYO will still
and BBG chapters have been
especially do not believe Judaism
be active in helping to educate its
belongs in Russia. They make
members and the Jewish
things especially difficult for Jews.
until the battle is won.
the next programming year.
Jews are spied upon, their
BBYO really does C.A.R.E.
apartments are searched, they are
and races. BBYO feels it is
Youth who want to get involved
not permitted to read Jewish books
education can stop by the
or newspapers, nor are they
AIDS is spread and how to protect
BBYO office and pick up a free
permitted to speak Hebrew or learn
themselves from the disease.
booklet, AIDS: We C.A.R.E.
Jewish history, and most of the
Chapters are encouraged to have
synagogues in Russia have been
expert AIDS speakers attend their
Jeff Dwoskin is the AZA Great Lakes
programs and field questions.
"Therefore," says the little
Council, Michigan Region Aleph Godol
angel again, "therefore, how are
Karen Gold is BBG Great Lakes
educate its members, not encourage
there Russian shoes in the pile of
Council, Michigan Region N'siah (president).
Simchat Torah shoes?"
Teens Kick Off Anti-AIDS Drive
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS