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March 15, 2007 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-03-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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March 15 * 2007

Benghiat at Temple Emanu-El in

January, on the day of Bradley's

Autherfzod Agont

24

Brothers Jordan and Bradley

bar mitzvah.

Shelli Liebman Dorfman

Senior Writer

M

arilyn Kaczander-Cohen
of Oak Park found mean-
ingful artistic expression
in the creation of fabric-based gifts of
Jewish tradition and family heritage
for her grandchildren.
With longtime sewing and quilting
experience, Kaczander-Cohen made
each of her two eldest grandsons
— Jordan Benghiat, now 15, and his
brother Bradley, 13, of Southfield
— a distinctive, one-of-a-kind tal-
lit (prayer shawl) that she gave them
on the day of their bar mitzvah. She •
had commissions to make tallitot for
others, but she added a special touch
for her grandsons by incorporating
fringes from the tallitot belonging to
their father and grandfathers.
She began the first one — for
Jordan — after taking a quilting class
that taught a technique she thought
would be perfect. She purchased hand-
dyed cotton fabric from the Colorado-
based quilter who led the class.
"I did what we quilters do:' she
said. "Take magnificent fabric, cut it

up, move it around and sew it back
together again. Then I put decorative
stitching on top:'
Next she added the fringes. "I don't
know what made me think of using
strings from the tallitot of the men in
the family," she said. "I do fiber art and
love looking for different ways to do
something."
So she included a fringe from their
father Michael's tallit, given to him
at his bar mitzvah, and one from his
grandfather Don Cohen of Oak Park,
also a gift at his bar mitzvah, and
one each from grandfathers Franklin
Greenberg of Oak Park and Joe
Benghiat of California.
The boys' mother is Marcy Benghiat
and their other grandmothers are Lois
Greenberg and Naomi Benghiat.
Before starting, Kaczander-Cohen
went to her rabbi, Joseph Klein at
Temple Emanu-El in Oak Park, to see
if what she wanted to do was "legal."
Rabbi Klein was excited about the idea
and offered to teach her how to tie the
fringes.
"He made a very large sample from
very large string and gave me written
instructions:' she said. "At first, I would
tie one at home, go to temple to have
him check it and then go home and do
the rest. By the time I did Bradley's, I
had it down pat"
After removing the fringes from the
ancestral tallitot, she replaced them
with new ones so they could be used
again.
The years of on-again, off-again
work on each of the tallitot didn't
dissuade her from planning to make
them for her two other grandchildren
in the future.
"Jordan and Bradley's tallitot are
each one-of-a-kind and unique, like
the boys:' she said. "Bradley's was
modeled after Jordan's, as a compan-
ion piece, with similarly colored fabric,
meant to symbolize the bond between
the brothers.
"I did this for the boys to feel the
• support they have from their family
— with the fringes from the men's tal-
litot representing all members of their
family, the women, too — and for
them to feel how we are all here sur-
rounding them."

1

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