I wasn’t dreaming of a white Purim, but that’s what we got. Saturday night, Shabbat went out, and I shoveled out our car in raver pants that were bigger and bulkier than a dress and a three-piece paisley suit. This was the kind of Purim costume that was the essence of last-minute decision-making: every weird object in your wardrobe thrown out onto the beds, picked over and jigsawed together into a more-or-less coherent outfit. My wife dressed as a pregnant flapper — only half of it needed a costume. Our daughter was the easiest: we threw wings on her and called her a fairy. Mine was the trickiest of all our costumes, and took the longest time to get ready. A nice change from the usual going-out routine of me being the first dressed.
But here I was, shoveling away at the Brooklyn snow, making the design of my paisley suit more and more colourful by the moment. (I was dressed as, depending upon who was asking, either a pimp, a bootlegger, or one of my wife’s accessories.) Itta came out, saw the car still three-quarters shoveled in after half an hour, and decided we’d never get there. So we called a cab.
We were an hour late, but the advantage of going to an event thrown by Jews is that everyone else is 90 minutes late. We ran in just as the crowd was starting to move away from the snack table and get pumped up for the megillah reading…despite the fact that you’re not actually supposed to eat until after you hear megillah. But I’m just one of those anal folks. Seriously, in forty-nine years I’m going to be one of those 80-year-old men at the back of the synagogue complaining about everyone else. Tonight, I just shut up and enjoyed the show.
When you’re doing an actual megillah reading — in Hebrew, that is, and without a break to explain the action — it’s hard to have adults and children in the same room. Kids (especially kids that don’t know Hebrew) are not going to follow the rapid-fire delivery. Many adults won’t, either. As a potential cure, I’ve seen puppet shows and simultaneous storytelling.