Shai Rosalimsky’s goal is to quash the kvetching. And he hopes his friends and neighbors will give him a hand, or more aptly, a wrist.
Shai is selling orange bracelets bearing the message “Don’t blame, Don’t Complain. Pirkei Avos 4:1” Pirkei Avos 4:1 refers to a passage in Ethics in our Fathers that says, “Who is Wealthy? He who is happy with his portion,” explains Shai, a 12-year-old who lives in Teaneck. “You should be happy with what you have and don’t keep asking for more and more all the time. Every time you either blame or complain about something, you need to switch the bracelet to the other wrist.”
The idea is to see how long you can keep the bracelet on the same hand, said Shai, who has succeeded in getting most of his family to wear one in the hopes of promoting a more positive life outlook. Now he hopes to spread his upbeat message by getting people to wear one of the colorful bracelets.
The proceeds of the $5 bracelet will benefit Sanhedria Children’s Home in Jerusalem, which provides a haven for welfare children who suffered severe physical and/or emotional abuse and neglect in their early childhood.
Elliot Rothschild, who is president of American Friends of Sanhedria, was thrilled to hear about Shai’s project. He added that many area youngsters have gotten involved in efforts to help the children’s home over the years and have, among other things, purchased toys, clothing, and bikes for the children and have made parties for them for their b’nai mitzvah celebratons. Some of them, including his own daughter, have also volunteered with the children during their year in Israel.
“Sanhedria offers children from impoverished and dysfunctional families a warm, safe, and loving environment,” said Rothschild, also of Teaneck. “Often, the employees and volunteers are the only family they can count on and trust,” said Rothschild.
Shai, who attends the Moriah School in Englewood, said he plans to visit the children’s home after becoming a bar mitzvah next year.
His mother, Debbie Rosalimsky, said the bracelet plays a valuable role in raising awareness. “It’s teaching people to have gratitude and not always want what others have,” she said. “The kids in Sanhedria Children’s Home have nothing but the contents of a small shelf to their name.”
The idea for his bar-mitzvah chesed project was born after Rosalimsky saw a video about gratitude on the Aish Hatorah website. It featured Lori Palatnik, the founder of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP). The video portrayed a boy at a picnic who could not enjoy himself because “all he could think about was that he didn’t have salt for his egg,” said Shai. “Even though everyone around him was having a great time, he could only focus on the bad.” (Go to http://www.jwrp.org to see the video.)
The bracelets, being sold by the JWRP, forces the people wearing them to think before talking. Shai urges parents to buy bracelets for all their children and have contests to see who can keep it on one hand for the longest.
In the Rosalimsky family, Shai’s older brother Avi beat out everyone else by keeping the bracelet on one hand for close to three weeks. Shai, however, admits that the orange band has forced him to rethink the blessings in his life. “I am thankful for a lot of things,” said Shai. “My trampoline. My friends. My family, and especially for my dog, Lucy.” The bracelet really works, he said, sounding just a tad like an infomercial.
“I wanted a mini hockey game recently and I was about to complain when I looked down at my bracelet,” he laughed.
“My parents love it.”