Susan's Blog

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jewish Halloween

Oh, today we’ll merry merry be,
Oh today we’ll merry merry be
Oh today we’ll merry merry be
And nosh some hamantaschen!

As well as being Good Friday for most of the world, today is also Purim, which means “lots,” as in one’s lot, or fate. (Thanks, Susan!) This holiday is the celebration of good over evil (as most Jewish holidays tend to be), when way back in Persia, around 423 BCE, Haman, a Hitler-like advisor to the King came up with a plot to kill the Jews. He was outwitted by the King’s Queen Esther (both of my grandmothers were named after her, as was my niece, her Hebrew name) and her brother Mordeccai (my dad is named after him, his Hebrew name).

Jews everywhere gather together, read the story of Purim, and whenever the name Haman is mentioned, we make a lot of noise. It is one of the few times when kids are encouraged to yell and scream during a temple service.

I used to love Purim best of all Jewish holidays. That was because it is also known as the Jewish Halloween: we got to dress up in characters from the story. I always dressed as a most fabulous Queen Esther. One year my grandmother gave me a real red chiffon ballgown with gold and rhinestones all over it, (she told me that the cleaners shrunk it) and I was allowed to wear it as my Queen Esther dress. It was magnificent. It still takes my breath away to think of the stretchy softness of the filmy red fabric, and the delicious weight of the gems. I think my next cossie (perhaps this one to the right, from the Legend line), will be called Queen Esther!

How fitting it is that today should also be the Anime Convention in downtown Boston. All over the city there are young people dressed in strange and wonderful, colorful costumes based on superheroes, comic book characters, and all kinds of imaginary beings. And two of my sons are as into it as I would be, if I could make a convincing pink-haired lass from Kingdom Hearts or something. But I draw the line at pink hair and Manga. Tis not my thing.

But … It is Max’s! For his birthday we got him a custom-made robe and silver-blue wig so that he could be Riku, from Kingdom Hearts, a charismatic blue-haired giant.

And later, when Nat comes home, we are going to make Hamantaschen, Purim cookies shaped like Haman’s tricorn hat!

Happy Holidays, whichever one you celebrate — even if it’s only spring!! That’s a lot!


I *think* Sukkot is the feast of the tabernacles, but maybe I was taught wrong.

Either way, have fun. I wish there were local festivities for my little ones to enjoy!

Chag sameach!

— added by Susan on Friday, March 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm

You are right, thank you! I’ve corrected it!

— added by Susan Senator on Friday, March 21, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Ah, yes LOTS. I had forgotten what it DID mean.

Funny, how gambling comes up in so many of our holidays (thinking of dreidels for Hanukkah in particular).

Well, you’ve inspired me to try to arrange a last minute Purim party for the twins with their grown siblings. Back to “Twitter” to work out the details.

— added by Susan on Friday, March 21, 2008 at 5:28 pm