As we look ahead on our calendars, one of our favorite holidays, Purim, is fast approaching. Both of us have a deep love for Purim: costumes, spiels, hamantaschen. We wanted to share some of our Purim memories as we prepare to make new ones with all of you.
Rabbi Benjamin grew up going to Purim carnivals. He remembers dressing up as King Ahashuerus and winning a few prizes over the years. One year he came home with a cheap rubber soccer ball that remained a favorite toy for a long time. For an even longer time, he (or actually his parents) were the proud owners and caretakers of a goldfish, Scuba. You never know what will have a lasting impact, or what fun can come from a simple prize.
Rabbi Sara recalls, that back in Lancaster, she was told that since the rabbi was in every spiel, the cantor had to be too. So she was in it every year, meaning she played a very pregnant Mordechai in the Sound of Purim and a very pregnant Vashti in Some Enchanted Purim. She remembers doing drag makeup for lots of cross-dressing old men. She remembers the rabbi dressing as the rear end of the horse Mordechai rode on, and congregants saying “man, our rabbi is really a horse’s ass” for the rest of the year.
We both celebrated Purim together for the first time when we were in Israel during rabbinical school. Benjamin wrote and Sara acted in the spiel, “You’re a Goodman, Charlie Brown,” a humorous adventure in Shushan as the Peanuts gang uncovers Chuck’s Hebrew roots. To add to the fun, at the party we convinced half of our class to dress up as characters from Star Wars. Duct tape, cereal boxes, and a memorable trip in search of an Israeli hardware store made for great fun and lasting memories.
We continued having fun every Purim together in Cincinnati. Sometimes a fortuitous snowstorm and the subsequent snow day meant an extra day’s work on a replica Freddie Mercury jacket, and other times enjoying a drink of schnapps with an esteemed professor. Every year meant new costumes, celebrations, and fun.
We cannot promise to recreate all of these memories here at Sinai, but we can look forward to a fun Purim carnival for the kids, complete with prizes and costumes. And for the adults, we look forward to a PG-13 audience attending our Purim spiel, complete with singing, dancing, and at least one cross-dressing rabbi. May this Purim be the start of wonderful and lasting memories for everyone who comes by to celebrate.
Rabbis Sara and Benjamin Zober