Mar 7 2012
Festive or frightening? You decide.
As sunset approaches here in New York, we’d like to wish everybody a very happy Purim! Eat a bunch of cookies, put on wacky costumes, make lots of noise, and have yourself a drink (or not). Oh, and take pictures! We always love to see those babies in costumes.
Our office is closed tomorrow, but we’ll be back Friday with some fun surprises in store, so don’t get so drunk that you can’t remember where to find us.
On Monday, I taught my weekly Jewish Thought and Culture class to adults at the 92nd Street Y. My subject was, predictably, Purim. We explored the historical context, the story, the celebration. But mostly, I used the Purim story as an example of Jewish oppression over the ages. How a personal antipathy (in this case, Haman’s towards Mordechai) can generalize to become public policy towards an entire group (the massacre of the Jewish population of the Persian Empire.)
We have many examples of how antipathy towards one or a small group of Jews takes on a life of its own resulting in prejudice, intolerance, and violence. Mordechai and Dreyfus, Jewish radicals and Communists, and the “Jewish liberal media,” all had profound effects on the entire Jewish population. We were lucky if we just got bad PR and didn’t get killed.
I was thinking about this a lot when one of my students asked me about the recent memoir by Deborah Feldman, Unorthodox. Read the rest of this entry →
My son isn't the only Spiderman fan this Purim.
Purim is upon us and as we dig around in our closets for the perfect costume, the one that my son would love to wear the most is Spiderman, for sure.
While the whole superhero obsession is relatively new in our household, it has struck with a vengeance! Spiderman is the hero de jour and my son can happily be found spinning his web and climbing atop all manner of furniture in our house.
The need to summon superpower strength isn’t something that he does only in the privacy of our own home. Tamir is a pretty confident and social child. When he approaches other kids who aren’t interested in playing with him he cops a “meanie” face and often instructs them to “go to jail.” While he does so many things that I love, this set of activities is among my least favorite. Where is my sweet boy who runs toward me asking for a “hug and kiss Ima” anytime I leave the house? Read the rest of this entry →
This is actually me, dressed as Queen Esther. Circa 1985 or so?
Purim has always been one of my favorite Jewish holidays. As a kid, I was so proud to dress up as Queen Esther and be savior of the Jewish people. Even at the young age of 8, I knew that it was rare in Jewish lore to have a woman be the true hero.
But as I got older, I started to really think about the holiday, and wonder whether Esther really was the kind of hero that woman should look up to. Now that I’m a mom, and constantly thinking about the message I’m sending my daughter in our society, I’m questioning how I should feel about Esther even more.
I don’t think it was until I was in college that I actually read through the whole megillah and discovered that it wasn’t just that Vashti didn’t feel like going to the king’s party that night–he wanted her to come to the party naked (well, she was allowed to wear her crown) and she said no. She’s kind of a badass. I loved how she didn’t let the king boss her around–because really, who wants to go stand naked in front of their husband’s friends? Of course the king didn’t like that. He banishes her, and holds a beauty contest to find the next queen. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 6 2012
My first Purim, I was 7 years old and newly arrived in the United States from the Soviet Union. I still barely spoke English, and was the only Russian-speaker in the second grade of my San Francisco Jewish Day School. (There was one more boy who spoke Russian, but he was in the fourth grade and, well, way too cool to speak to me.)
Somehow, I managed to understand that costumes would be required. And somehow I had also convinced myself that the kind of homemade costume my mother wanted to send me in–the kind that she’d made back in Odessa: Little Red Riding Hood, the Snow Queen, Ethnic Ukrainian with a garland of flowers in my hair–simply would not do. Read the rest of this entry →
When you think about Purim and food, the only thing that really comes to mind is hamantaschen. Now don’t get me wrong–I love hamantaschen. They are totally delicious, fun to make with kids, and you can fill them with almost anything (my husband likes to put a few chocolate chips and a few peanut butter chips in each cookie. Scrumptious). Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 5 2012
Purim is one of those Jewish holidays that lends itself so easily to crafting. From making mishloach manot (goody bags) to groggers (noisemakers) to costumes, there’s just so much to do. We’ve collected some of our favorite crafts for you to check out below–enjoy, and get crackin!
Here at Kveller, we have an environmentally-friendly grogger (repurposed from your recycle bin) as well as some great Purim cards, no-sew costumes, and mishloach manot ideas. And did we mention our adorable miniature Purim dolls from Meredith Jacobs?
We also really love this grogger from Creative Jewish Mom. She uses cups, some electrical tape, and other fun stuff to turn something simple into something festive. And that Purim grogger can easily be a music-making maraca during the rest of the year!
The Upper West Side Mom has a great way to reuse those clementine crates we’ve all been collecting throughout the winter. She turns them into a mishloach manot container! Now, you definitely have to fill this with a LOT of snacks, but for a good friend, it’s a perfect Purim gift.
And in case creating a recycled mishloach manot container wasn’t enough for you, Joanna Brichetto at Bible Belt Balabusta takes it even a step further–by creating an edible container out of pretzel dough! Fun to make and delicious too.
What other crafts are out there? What did we miss? Share them below!
Mar 1 2012
Purim is just around the corner, so I’m already wondering where I put our blue wigs after last year’s celebration. Yes, I said blue wigs. They have been our family’s signature Purim accessory since well before our girls were born, back when Josh and I would put on some of my old bridesmaid dresses, adorn ourselves with makeup and bling, and wander around our synagogue’s Purim celebration saying, “I’m Estha!” and “No, I’m Estha, you bitch!” in our best Brooklyn accents. We weren’t drunk, but we might as well have been. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 29 2012
If you haven’t noticed, Purim is coming! There will be cookies and costumes and graggers and maybe even a little booze, but do you know the reasoning behind this holiday craziness?
See how much you know about the story of Purim and the ways we celebrate it today with our brand spanking new Purim quiz. Challenge your friends, and let us know how you do! And remember, Purim begins on the evening of March 7th, next Wednesday.
Feb 28 2012
Purim starts next Wednesday night, read up!
Purim–the holiday known to some as the day you drink too much and shake a gragger and to others as the day you celebrate the rescue of the Jews of Persia from annihilation–arrives next Wednesday night.
It is a favorite for many families since it involves cookies, costumes, and a pretty awesome story. For those of you who would like to brush up on the basics of the holiday, check out our Purim page. And we’ve put together a refresher on the ole Purim story. (Do you remember Vashti, Esther, Mordechai, and Haman?)
And for those of you trying to figure out what costumes to make, Mayim Bialik has a few frugal ideas (and there’s a bonus photo of her from the ’80s dressed in a kimono). You can really dress as anything for Purim, but if you want to go with a holiday-themed outfit, check out all our Purim costume ideas.