March 11th, 2006

strange shiksa

The Jewish Mardi Gras

Brian Epstein was born on Yom Kippur, the most solemn and holy of the Jewish High Holidays. Total seriousness, self-reproachment and introspection. Fasting and interminable prayer sessions.

Unfortunately in 1951 Purim, the craziest of Judaism's happy holidays, did not fall on my birthday, but instead fell on 14 Adar II 5711 (Jewish Calendar), which translates to our Gregorian Calendar date of March 22, 1951. However, in the year 2004, Purim fell on March 7! Party, party, party! Charity and personal gift-giving, looking and acting goofy, feasting on yummy goodies, etc. Drunken revels, yay!

Eppy and the Eppylover are global opposites if perceived in the context of Jewish holidays, it would seem!

Although in real life Brian was a daily over-drinker (Courvoisier brandy and the best champagnes being his favorites), I am the next thing to a tee-totaller (about a half-cup or less of Manischevitz blackberry an average of three nights a week, just to help me sleep. Sometimes a beer at a birthday party, a glass or two of champagne on New Year's Eve...but not every year).

The Carnival Atmosphere of Purim

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~*~*~ Excerpts from Mar 10, 2006 article from
The Salt Lake City Tribune,
with Salt Lake area festivities listed through Tuesday ~*~*~

"...For Purim, also called the Feast of Lots, Jews are commanded to hear the full reading of the Book of Esther, commonly referred to as the Megillah, which means scroll. Whenever (the villain) Haman's name is mentioned, the custom is to hiss, boo, stamp the floor and rattle special noisemakers called groggers.

The other central commandments are to be charitable and engage in unabashed merriment. In fact, it's considered a good deed to get drunk - although, of course, those with health concerns or who are too young to drink are exempt. Likewise, drunkenness to the point of getting sick or violating other commandments is not part of the party plan.

Why the alcohol? Tradition says one should drink till they can no longer differentiate the phrases "blessed is Mordecai" and "cursed is Haman."

The carnival atmosphere is heightened by playful skits, outrageous costumes, dancing and music. Participants also enjoy festive meals and eat a triangular fruit-filled pastry or cookie specific to Purim called "hamantaschen." Most say the shape represents Haman's three-cornered hat, but some believe the three corners represent the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - who empowered Queen Esther and created the Jewish way of life.