PURIM 2015: LOOK MA – NO MASK!
Purim was always my favorite. Ever since I can remember it’s been about finding the perfect costume and becoming, just for one day, another – maybe better – version of me.
As a kid I’d get going on the costume research as soon as the High Holy Days were over. Only later did I learn that there is deep mystical and psychic wisdom in this annual permission to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and connect to oneself’s deepest essence only through the topsy-turvy hide and seek of this holy messy day of masks and mischief.
I’ve had some crazy costumes over the years. Childhood choices gave way to teen and early adult disdain, but eventually I found my way back to the art of masking, with drag playing a big part on purim – and then year round…
For the last two years my drag persona wanted a break, which I continue to respect. But it made Purim into a challenge – who am I without her? (Hadassah will be back, thank you for your patience…she is still inside the Dead Sea, trying to save God)
Meanwhile, this Purim meets me as a mourner, observing a year of honoring my father’s death. Noisy Purim parties don’t feel right at all, let alone high heels and makeup. Maybe, to my mom’s relief, I am finally growing up?
But I have a plan. Purim isn’t just about becoming other. Its’ original and primary action is about us taking care of one another. The four requirements for Purim are to recite the Scroll of Esther, attend a festive feast, perform hands-on charity, and exchange of goody-bags between friends and neighbors.
The costume thing came way way later.
And it’s the fourth requirement that I am focusing on this year – inviting the Lab/Shul community -wherever you are – to join me in upgrading this delicious and important sacred action of food exchange.
Mishloach Manot is what this is called in Hebrew. It’s actually a Persian tradition, adopted by the local Jews as a way of sharing edible treats and enforcing lesser tangible bonds of friendship with one’s neighbors and friends. This tradition is first mentioned in the Esther Scroll – marking the relief of the Jewish population that survived (let’s say it happened as is) another planned pogrom:
‘They declared it a day of joy and feasting, a holiday for generations, and they sent food portions one to another.’ Esther 9:19
As a kid, decked up as my cousin Rachel, or Dr. Dolittle, or a troubadour – I’d walk around our neighborhood with other family members, decorated paper plates in hands, delivering homemade jams and strawberries dipped in chocolate and mini-bar bottles from one house to another, meeting costumed friends along the way and coming back home hours later with a whole new selection of treats and a very full stomach. This is what community looks like. And I miss it a lot and I want it back.
According to the Jewish Law, every Jew over the age of 13 should send a food gift on Purim consisting of at least two different types of food to at least one recipient.
And also – these goody bags are not sent to a mourner although mourners are obligated to send mishloach manot themselves – as long as it’s not too elaborate. (A generally good rule..)
So here’s this year’s Purim Plan, a few options:
PLAN AHEAD Go online to MOUTH, pick just 2 people you want to share a treat with. MentionLABSHULPURIM at checkout to get 20% off! (Offer ends March 5 at midnight)
ROLL YOUR OWN: Go all out – think of who you want to share some delicacies – then plan and prep a super bag, complete with treats that will make em happy and maybe a poem or a quote? Think of sharing these with people whom you love – and/or could use some love – or snacks. Most important – hand deliver
PACKAGING: You DO get points for packaging. Check out this DIY ORIGAMI PURIM BASKETTUTORIAL – super easy and cool to make.
PARTY WITH ME this purim day! And share a goody bag with folks who will really appreciate it:
Lab/Shul’s Purim Pizza & Tea Party @ PROJECT ORE
Everybody-friendly purim pizza tea party with The Educational Alliance’s Project ORE, a community center for homeless and formerly homeless Jewish seniors.
Come with a goody bag or two (containing kosher and vegetarian treats only) to share with others, enjoy live music, stories and secrets with Amichai, Naomi and the Lab/Shul line up of artists and guests, get hands-on with arts creativity stations for all ages, eat treats, make new friends and make folks really happy.
Thursday March 5, 4:00-7:00pm
Project ORE, 331 East 12th Street
Free, bring a goody bag gift or two for exchange! (veg/Kosher) RSVP
HAPPY, DELICIOUS & MEANINGFUL PURIM Y’ALL!